What Is A Book Louse?
Do you have book lice? Are there insects on your books and walls? Moldy wet areas? Sounds like book lice. What they are and what to do.
What is it?
Psocids thrive in damp, warm undisturbed environments. The feed on microscopic molds which mainly develop on certain types of wallpaper and book bindings. Occasionally they infest areas where Spanish moss or other vegetable matter has been used to make upholstered furniture.
What does it look like?
They are each the size of a pinhead and are found in groups. Many times they have wings, and when you do see them they will be running along in a jerky manner. They do not bite or cause disease organisms, and although they leave they contaminate infested areas with their body parts, they do not do other damage. Insect damage caused on books is, contrary to popular belief, not caused by booklice, but by other insects such as silverfish or roaches.
How does it manifest?
Booklice seek out warm, damp places such as food storage, book storage or wet areas like bathrooms that have been wallpapered. Once there, they feed on the starchy microscopic molds that form on these materials. They also feed on other dead insects. They will stay in an area until their food supply runs out, which usually means until you treat the area.
What can you do about it?
Your best bet is to keep areas of the home that are wet or damp dried out. Ventilation and artificial heat can help to dry out cupboards or closets. Booklice that were present in a new home will disappear once the structure dries out and their food supply vanishes. Infested areas can be treated with a pyrethrins containing insecticide, but always be sure to read the label to make sure that you are spraying areas listed. Some insecticides are not safe in areas where food is stored, another place these starch loving insects like to feed.