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Summary: Booklice belong to a group of insects known as the psocids. Booklice don't bite, but occasionally infest houses to the point that they become a problem.

Booklice are the nerds of the insect world. They are always reading old, musty tomes that haven't been lifted off the shelf in ages. What makes booklice so fond of old books?

Well, actually it is the microscopic mold or mildew that results when books are not sheltered from moisture that attracts the booklice. This is a great food source for book lice. Booklice like warm, dark, damp environments, so stored books can provide shelter and food for them at the same time. Booklice can also be commonly found in furniture, rugs, cupboards and closet. They will


sometimes be attracted to stored food products like cereals or other grains. The tiny bugs can also live in straw, or the dust that collects on door frames and window sills.

Here are some recommended pesticides to help in the control of booklice. They are Demand CS, Tri-Die aerosol and PT 565 Plus XLO aerosol.

Booklice are very small insects known as psocids. They are usually less than 1/16th of an inch long. They are colorless, grey or light yellow. They have soft bodies, chewing mouthparts and relatively long antennae. The head and abdomen appear large, while their middle section, the thorax, is narrow. This can give them a swollen appearance. Indoor booklice are usually wingless, but outdoor booklice have wings and are often called barklice because they inhabit the bark of trees. They resemble true lice, but booklice are not parasites and they do not live on or bite animals.

Booklice reproduce parthenogenically, which means that the females can produce eggs without ever mating. The eggs are white, oval, and covered with a crusty coating or strands of silk. Booklice live for thirty to sixty days, and their populations grow more quickly during humid weather.

If an outbreak of booklice occurs inside, it is probably due to excessive moisture. Booklice like to feed on mold, so eliminating wet spots created by leaking pipes or air conditioning units can help take away the places the booklice can survive. Adding a fan or dehumidifier to a damp room, along with allowing sunlight in, can help eliminate conditions favorable to booklice. Bring the humidity levels down below 50%.

Booklice will sometimes infest cereals and similar food products that get moldy. If booklice have infested a stored food product you can kill the insects by freezing the product for several days or by heating in the oven at 200 degrees for half an hour. Many pesticides containing pyrethrin or cyfluthrin are available as aerosol sprays, dusts, or emulsifiable concentrates and can be used to kill booklice, as well. Make sure that the pesticide you choose is labeled for crawling insects like booklice, and don't spray or apply pesticides near food or places children play.

Booklice don't damage clothing or furniture, unless those items are moldy, but, nonetheless, a serious infestation can make your skin crawl. Use good hygienic practices like regular dusting and vacuuming to prevent a booklice infestation. For a large infestation that is difficult to control you might want to call a professional pest control service However, if you see just one, perhaps perusing an old copy of Moby Dick, then you might be inspired to pick up and read one of the long-neglected books in your library.

Ask Rick A Question


14 May 2012, 16:09
Hi everyone with this problem
i have the same problem. i had a flood in 2010 and since than this little bugs appeared. Showed 3 pest controll all different answers and finally one of them said Booklice. I have gone mental. I have washed & hovered everyday for 6 months, they have gone down BUT are still around. On the plug window stand even on the tables. I will give you one hint, on the ceilling remove all lighing systems including the white box connected to the bulb and you will see so many there. make sure to wash with bleach, dry than fix connect everything(thats the mystery of how it falls on the bed).If anyone has sloved this problem please let me know and good luck.
12 Jul 2012, 06:35
hi...i hv been staying in mumbai fr 2 yrs....since d very frst dy suffered frm dis prob...tiny white creamish insects crawl all over d walls,kitchen cabinets,d wardrobes...dey dnt die even after washing d clothes...i hv started ironing all my clothes after wash.did pest control 3 times bt dey came back again...situation worsens in d month of march to rainy season its d worst...dey enter everywher...pest control comp tk adv d tk d money without dng ny effective treatment..dese insects die at touch of fingervbt dey r yak...wanna get rid of dem..none of d pest control comp cud say wat it is
30 Jul 2012, 16:26
You can regularly vauucm your floors, furniture etc but inevitably they will find their way to your apartment. Because they can be the width of a playing card when they haven't feed they can easily travel through the tiniest cracks and crevices. Encourage him to exterminate and have follow up visits. I heard sprinkling powdered thyme affects them but you might want to try Drione Dust around your baseboards and door sealsReferences :
01 Aug 2012, 13:29
i have booklice everywhere in my flat beds,sofas,clothes,wardrobes,carpet and my daughters cuddle toys how can i get rid of them. thankyou
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01 Aug 2012, 14:05
The easiest method of control would be to lower room humidity below 50% using a dehumidifier.
08 Aug 2012, 22:26
I found lots of booklice within my closet inside a box with wooden/bark ornaments. I have taken everything out of my closet, washed all the clothes, vacuumed the floor, disinfected baskets and shelves but I'm terrified to put everything back and for the problem to start all over again.

I'm guessing they liked the dark of my closet, and since I rarely open the door there is no air flow. It however isn't humid in the slightest nor damp and is actually fairly chilled so the little monsters did well in what I wouldn't think as "ideal".

It doesn't seem like they have ventured into my room from my closet thank god!
02 Oct 2012, 10:13
I have these bugs too! I initially noticed them around a baseboard and then on top of a dresser that is directly under an air vent. But now, I find a few of them here and there all over my home. Help! I have a dehumidifier running but they are still appearing--mostly dead but still there each day. The worst part is that they are even showing up on my bed!

P.S. there are no books around the places that they are appearing.
15 Dec 2012, 15:02
Would book lice lay eggs along the inside seam of a paperback book cover/ between pages along the spine? Or is that more likely to be bed bugs? The eggs are very small, nearly invisible to the naked eye, and white/translucent. I saw one actual bug (very tiny, also white/translucent) and it ran off quickly.
Thanks for your help.
23 May 2013, 17:22
I've read your article and have tried pretty much everything you suggested. I have a dehumidifier running in our home and in most rooms it's below 50. We have sprayed CyKick in bedroom cracks and crevices several times and they still appear! Frustrating as when one room seems to be "under control", we find terrible booklice infestations elsewhere in our home, to the point that now every room/closet in our home is infested. Even found a nest in our toilet today. I try to keep windows open and let light in. Any other suggestions? We're to the point of wanting to move but are worried about taking them with us as we've seen them in our furniture (couches, beds etc...). I'm thankful they are not dangerous, but they are driving our family crazy!!!
28 Aug 2013, 21:18
I have the same problem - worse part is they seem to be all over the place, not concentrated in a certain area. How do I find the source??? Coreen, what did you do??
07 Nov 2013, 12:53
Hi, I have lived in 3 houses since first noticing these critters and every house I have lived in has had them. My husband works as a carpenter and assures me that the majority if not all houses have them, I on the other hamd am being driven insane by them, harmless or not. I have 2 young boys and it freaks me out when I see them leave clothes on the floor or soft toys,I am unable to put a washing pile on a bedroom floor etc through fear booklice will crawl into our clothes. I generally see them on skirting boards, bathroom wall and along the top of the the kitchen. I have used dethlac around skirts and this seems to have helped and just filled any the kitchrn bathroom etc. I feel I have a phobia of lice and find myself on hands.and knees inspecting for them. My husband is not bothered too much,wondering if I can see help.withmy phobia as they are obviously impossible to be conpletely rid of!!!
31 Aug 2014, 13:05
I am absolutely terrified of these things being in my room because i have over 130 books in my bedroom and i got a few of them from my grandmother's attic (where they've been for at least 10 years.) I haven't seen any yet but I'm paranoid now...
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