Backyard Chickens Harbor Greater Diversity of Ticks, Mites, and Lice than Farm-raised Chickens

By Meredith Swett Walker Today’s backyard chickens are not your grandmother’s birds — they sport jaunty sweaters, go for walks on leashes, and dine on treats like “chunky chicken caviar.” As keeping chickens has become more popular, the bird’s status has been elevated from practical livestock to pampered pet. And though they may indulge in […]

Two New Species of Chewing Lice Discovered on Stealthy Songbird

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By Meredith Swett Walker If you’re desperate to discover a new species of louse, looking for one on a bird is a good start. Looking for lice on one of North America’s most secretive birds, the Swainson’s warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii), is an even better bet. Researchers just discovered two new species of chewing lice on […]

Scratch and Sniff: Feather Louse Sex Ratio Skewed by Citrus Scent of Seabird

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By Meredith Swett Walker Humans are a species where males and females are pretty equal — at least numerically. The number of boys born is roughly equal to the number of girls — a ratio of 1:1. Even if you look at the entire population of humans, not just newborns, the sex ratio is still […]

Tom Turpin Talks about Louse Dislodgers, Malaria and Powdered Wigs

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Dr. Tom Turpin, a professor of entomology at Purdue University, was recently interviewed by a local TV station about insect myths and how they originated. In the following video, he discusses the entomological origins of “louse dislodgers” (otherwise known as back-scratchers), perfume (used to purify air in order to protect people from malaria), and powdered […]

Removing Head Lice Eggs with Ordinary Conditioner is Just as Effective as Using Special Products

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Eggs from head lice, also called nits, are incredibly difficult to remove. Female lice lay eggs directly onto strands of hair, and they cement them in place with a glue-like substance, making them hard to get rid of. In fact, the eggs are glued down so strongly that they will stay in place even after […]

Seven Myths about Head Lice

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A recent article in the Washington Post about head lice exposes some myths about these insects, which have become increasingly more common, especially among children. Each year, there are 6 million to 12 million lice cases in U.S. children ages 3 to 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To be brief, […]