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Pest Spotlight -- Booklice

Pest Spotlight -- Booklice

This month’s pest spotlight is on booklice. These pests are not uncommon to find in Raleigh homes, so let’s learn more about them!


What are booklice? 

The first thing to note is that booklice are NOT the same thing as body lice. Booklice will not infest your hair or body. Rather, booklice get their name because they are often found feeding on book bindings. More on that in a minute. 

Booklice are tiny insects (1/13 inch or smaller!) that typically live outdoors under tree bark. If you’ve ever heard someone describe barklice, they’re talking about the same insect. Booklice feed on molds and fungi. They do not bite, sting, or transmit disease. 

Why am I finding them?

The presence of booklice typically indicates a moisture problem in the home. Common sources of excess moisture are leaking pipes (such as in a wall or under a sink), problems with attic or foundation vents, or clogged gutters that have caused a wet spot on ceilings. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive; many other sources of moisture are possible, especially in North Carolina, where we are plagued with excessively humid summers and hurricane-filled falls. 

As stated previously, booklice are commonly found in books. This is because book binding often includes a starchy glue. This glue is prone to growing mold or fungus in wet/humid conditions. Booklice feed on the mold or fungus that grows. Since books typically remain undisturbed for long periods of time, booklice may feed and reproduce for many generations before they are discovered.  

Booklice are not restricted to your bookshelf. They may be found anywhere there is elevated humidity and a food source, such as your pantry. Here, they may feed on any old, moldy food (especially grains) or previously wet, mildewed cardboard boxes, including those containing pasta, cookies, cereal, or other foods. Booklice may even feed on wallpaper adhesive if it contains mold. 

How can I get rid of them? 

The first step in booklice control is to discard any infested books or food. Be sure to inspect thoroughly, as these pests are tiny. Booklice are extremely prone to drying out and require a certain level of humidity to survive. If your home falls below this threshold, you greatly reduce your chances of an infestation. Controlling the moisture level in your home is the best, most permanent way to eliminate and/or prevent booklice. If you are finding booklice in your home, call Innovative Pest Solutions today. We will take moisture readings and help you identify the source of the moisture and infestation. Elevated moisture is an invitation to a wide variety of insect pests, so it’s better to act quickly if you think you have a problem.