Lice – ID

Testing Indications

The PHO laboratory will no longer identify Scabies (Sarcoptes scabeii) from a non-human source. These Scabies (Sarcoptes scabeii) should be referred to the Pest Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Guelph.

The following arthropods will continue to be identified at PHO laboratory.

  • suspected lice fleas, bedbugs, maggots or mites removed from a human or vicinity

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

Lice ID1

Adult louse, nymphs or eggs


Sterile screw cap container or sterile container with 70% ethanol

Submission and Collection Notes


The suspected organism may be included under the ‘Test Description’.


Indicate site of collection and any relevant clinical information for the patient.

Storage and Transport

Place specimen in a container and place in a biohazard bag and seal. Ensure that the container is labelled with the patient's full name and one other unique identifier such as date of birth or health card number, and that it matches the information on the requisition.

Special Instructions

The PHO laboratories will not identify arthropods from a non-human source. These arthropods should be referred to the Pest diagnostic Clinic at the University of Guelph. 

The following arthropods will be identified at PHO laboratories.

  • ticks removed from a human
  • suspected lice, fleas, bedbugs, maggots or mites removed from a human

Ensure that identification of the source/host is indicated on the container and requisition.

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Lice specimen testing turnaround time is 3 days.

Test Methods

Lice are identified by microscopy.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

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Laboratory Services

Updated 20 July 2020