Life cycle and lifespan


The Scabies life cycle

Life Cycle

The Scabies life cycle is made up of four stages:  egg, larvae, nymph, and adult.

This cycle begins on the human body when a female Scabies mite burrows under the skin and, when impregnated by a male, lays eggs inside the burrow.  A female may first burrow under the skin and be impregnated by a male which enters the burrow, or an already impregnated female may be transferred from a human host to another person, thereby initiating the infestation on the new human host.

Scabies eggs are extremely small, only a fraction of a millimeter in length, and are oval in shape.  They hatch in 3 to 4 days, and the larvae then begin their own burrowing process.  After another 3 to 4 days, the larvae molt into nymphs, which in turn into slightly larger nymphs, and finally into adult mites.

The entire process, from the time the eggs hatch until they mature into adults, takes from 10 to 15 days.

Breaking the life cycle of the Scabies mite is extremely important.  Otherwise the cycle can be repeated over and over, giving ongoing discomfort to a person who has Scabies and exposing other people to the same condition.

The Scabies lifespan

The lifespan of an adult female Scabies mite is up to a month if on a human host.  However, the important thing to remember is that Scabies mites do not survive outside the human body for more than 48 to 72 hours.  This is hugely helpful information for treating an infestation, as it means that we can control the spread of Scabies and we can quickly limit re-infestation that could occur through factors in our environment, such as bedding, towels, and clothing.


The first time a person is infested with Scabies, it can take approximately 21 days for the itchiness to appear.  If a person is infested a second time, the itchiness can occur within 1 to 3 days.


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Sutton, Amy L. Dermatological Disorders Sourcebook: Basic Consumer Health Information about Conditions and Disorders Affecting the Skin, Hair, and Nails … Detroit, MI: Omnigraphics, 2006. P.396.

Fitzpatrick, Thomas B., Richard Allen Johnson, and Klaus Wolff. Color Atlas and Synopsis of Clinical Dermatology: Common and Serious Diseases. New York: McGraw-Hill, Medical Pub. Division, 2001. Pp.834.

Turkington, Carol, and Jeffrey S. Dover. The Encyclopedia of Skin and Skin Disorders. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2007. P.318.


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