The Headlice Terminators

Fantastic coverage by BBC 1’s Inside Out team.  They also interviewed our ally, Dr Ian Burgess, who showed how ineffective the head lice treatments and lice remedies are.

This is the text of the show:

Since the 1980s, the number of children with head lice in London has risen by as much as 1000%.

With many bugs becoming resilient to the chemicals traditionally used to treat them, combating head lice is turning into a headache for many parents.

But one London mum has turned the fight against nits into a business opportunity.

Armed with her trusty vacuum, entrepreneur Dee Wright’s nit-busting business has been running successfully for two years now.

Inspired by a press cutting from a New York magazine several years ago, Dee set up her own nit-busting company from her home in London.

BBC Inside Out presenter Mike Dilger investigates the head lice terminators.

Just imagine if there were a treatment that didn’t involve any chemicals on the scalp or parents having to pull a comb through their children’s hair. Well, there is. The Hairforce – Lice Assassins. It’s the brainchild of business entrepreneur, Dee Wright. ‘I came up with the idea about three and a half years ago, I saw a two line article in New York Time Out about a company in the States that is a nit and head lice removal service, so I had a good look at that and I just thought, I can do that so much better.’ Two years later, in Dee’s front room, the company’s thriving. ‘Lucy, what are you doing to Amira’s hair? So I’ve divided it into bunches which allows us to go through more methodically and make sure we’ve cleared every part of the head. And next I’m going to take this special attachment we have on the hoover with a nit-comb in the end and then I’ll go through which will take out any lice that might be there. Then we apply an organic and enzyme-free leave-in conditioner, nit comb very thoroughly and then a Lice Assassin will nit pick following the nit combing so she’ll use her medical magnifying visors and we have lighting like dentist lighting so that they can see absolutely what is going on in the hair. It’s the only treatment that guarantees to rid your hair of lice completely. But, at £120 a go, it’s not cheap. This is the tenth time Marcus has been infested. ‘In Rugby season in scrums, it’s very easy for them to crawl across to other people’s heads. So, how have head lice become so resilient? I met up with scientist Ian Burgess who’s an expert when it comes to these pests. ‘So, what have you got here?’ ‘I’ve got some lice here, come and take a look. These are first stage nits, those two, and then we’ve got adults – these are females. ‘And how long from the egg hatching to a fully fledged adult?’ ‘From the egg hatch to an adult that’s able to lay eggs, we’re looking at ten days.’ ‘So, Ian, time for a bit of science, we’ve got some head lice here and four different head lice treatments and lice remedies. So, if we make a tiny drop on each louse… ‘We tested four of the top-selling head lice treatments and lice remedies to see just how effective they are at killing head lice.’  ‘They have survived everything we’ve thrown against them.’ ‘In some ways to be admired.’ ‘Oh very much so. You have to take your hat off to them as they say.’

Log on to Inside Out London and check out their programmes:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/

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