Could Permethrin/Pyrethrins Used to Treat Lice “BEE” the Answer to Honey Bee Hive Collapse?


Are Head Lice Killing the Honey Bees? Permethrin/Pyrethrins Used for Lice Treatment are Highly Toxic for Honey Bees.


Could permethrin/pyrethrins used to treat lice be responsible for hive collapse among honey bees? These two pesticides, found in the most common over-the-counter lice treatment preparations under the trade names Rid and Nix as well as in generic drug-store variations, are highly toxic to honey bees. The rise of pesticide resistance in today’s “super lice” means that more and more parents are utilizing greater quantities of these pesticides than ever to fight head lice in their families. In my years of experience with the treatment of head lice, I have found hundreds of parents who have ceased to follow correct usage instructions for these pesticides due to treatment failure. Many people, despite what common sense would dictate, subscribe to the “more is better” philosophy and treat repeatedly in direct defiance of the package labels. In addition, there are parents who will use one of these products “prophylactically” because they have heard that there is an outbreak or that their child has been exposed to lice. All of these pesticides end up being washed down the drain and return to our environment through the water table and through water treatment facilities. It is a proven fact that tap water contains traces of prescription drugs taken by people that are then still resident even after passing through a water treatment facility. In fact, the increase in autism diagnosis may also be attributable to the increase in use of these pesticides. As previously stated in my blog (Pesticides and Autism), studies have linked permethrin-based flea shampoos used by pregnant women to an increase in autism diagnosis in their children. Could the rise in environmental exposure to permethrin also be a factor in this increase?

The sad truth of the matter is that lice is easily treated with a non-toxic silicone oil called dimethicone. It is not just safer, it is more effective and environmentally more sound. We need to educate communities about ways we can safeguard not just our environment but also our children.

For more information on safe and effective non-toxic lice treatment, please contact NJ Lice Lady at or 908-548-4480

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