How to Bug Proof Your Home: Booklice

Pest Management In and Around Structures May 20, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Introduction

Booklice (or Psocids) may look like lice but they are not related. Living in damp environments, they feed on mold and mildew. They are often associated with books and papers though they are also prevalent in drains, wall cavities around leaking pipes, wall voids, stored food products and floor rugs. Outside the house, psocids live in bird or mammal nests, vegetation, in tree bark and even in animal fur.

Although annoying, booklice rarely cause any damage to the books or papers they frequent.

Prevention

  1. Maintain an environment with relative humidity below 50%. Fix leaks, apply silica gel, or use a dehumidifier where appropriate. In spaces with dirt floors such as crawlspaces or basements, a vapor barrier may be necessary to reduce the relative humidity.
  2. Maintain sanitation measures. Remove mold or mildew with an appropriate household cleaner.
  3. Use airtight food storage containers.
  4. Remove clutter.
  5. Store boxes up off the floor.
  6. Place firewood directly on the fire and do not store it inside your home.

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USDA / NIFA

This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.