Beggar-lice is a type of plant. Otherwise known as the tick trefoil, beggar-ticks or sticktights, beggar lice-is a perennial plant that can grow to a height of approximately three feet. In order to grow to its fullest potential, this type of plant needs plenty of direct sunlight all of the time with very little to no shade at all. Beggar-lice will bloom in midsummer to late summer into early fall and can be identified by its pink, violet or white flowers accompanied by an almost aqua color foliage.
In order to disperse its seeds to spread to expand its growth, the plant relies on “hitchhiking.” Beggar-lice produces small hook-like seeds on the pods that they grow. When an animal or clothing brushes by the plant, the hooks embed themselves and travel with that person or animal to other destinations. Many people commonly call beggar-lice burrs and believe it or not, it is actually the dispersing activity of this plant that is rumored to have produced the idea behind Velcro. However, ingenious the mode of transport may be, when beggar-lice gets stuck on you, your main desire is usually to remove the burrs as quickly and easily as possible.
Any tool that will you scrape the seeds from your clothing is sufficient to help you remove beggar-lice, but the tool that will work the best is either a butter knife or a small pocket comb. Simply pull the fabric taught, and use the knife or comb to get in between the burr and the fabric. Gently slide the knife or comb in between, separating the burr from the fibers of the fabric. Carefully dispose of the burr before it touches any other fabric it might get stuck on. If you have a burr on the skin of a pet, the same premise applies--very gently get in between the burr and the pet's fur. For this type of removal, you should use a comb instead of a knife to avoid injury to your pet.
Avoid Getting Stuck
The best way to resolve a beggar-lice problem is to avoid getting stuck to a burr in the first place. Instead of wearing denim into areas where beggar-lice is prominent, try wearing nylon or corduroy. The seeds of the beggar-lice plant seem more willingly to attach themselves to denim than to other types of material. Second, avoid wearing any type of fleece. Although it might keep you warm while hiking on a chilly autumn day, fleece acts like a magnet for the seeds of the beggar-lice.