Head lice. They're a problem in schools and other areas where children are in close quarters.
Now there's news that they're getting harder to kill.
A Southern Illinois University study shows lice in 25 states, including Virginia and North Carolina, are becoming immune to over-the-counter treatments.
High levels of gene mutations are desensitizing the insects to permethrin, the active ingredient lice shampoos, researchers say. It's in a family of insecticides called pyrethroids , which are widely used indoors and outdoors to control mosquitoes and other insects.
Lice can be treated with different chemicals, but most are only available by prescription.
Researcher Kyong Yoon, Ph.D, says the situation also offers a cautionary tale.
"If you use a chemical over and over, these little creatures will eventually develop resistance," Yoon says. "So we have to think before we use a treatment. The good news is head lice don't carry disease. They're more a nuisance than anything else."
Shannon Born's two children brought more than good grades home last school year.
"I was scrubbing couches, vacuuming corners and doing so much laundry that my washing machine literally broke," Born, who resides in Virginia Beach, said.
Head lice was in their hair.
In fact, their cases, were so severe, she also became infected.
"I'm trying so hard, I've got all this stuff, I'm putting this awful chemical in my kid's hair, which was worry some, but I wanted to do anything to get rid of it," Borne said.
Julie Burbank, known as the "Lice Fairy" by her clients, owns Let's Be Pals- a mobile lice-removal service operating in Hampton Roads.
"That's been from the beginning of time that I know of that the products have not been successful. We have parents that call all the time after a Rid or Nix treatment and there will be live bugs in the hair," Burbank said.
They use a natural product made completely of natural ingredients discovered on the west coast.
"We have a nit diffuser, we have a mousse, and then the oils we use are natural oils with an olive oil base. We'll put all those items on do a full comb through with the oil, keep combing, and removing bugs and nits," Born said.
The women say as the bugs evolve, treatments like this will become the future fix.