Booklice are a common pest that infests homes all across the country. In fact you could have a few in your home right now, but before you start itching booklice aren’t actually lice they are just named so because of their appearance. Booklice are actually a very small insect that range in length from 1/32 – 1/8 of an inch in length. There are hundreds of different species found in the U.S. and the species that live outdoors have wings, while the species that live indoors are mostly wingless. Adult booklice are soft bodied and can be colorless or have a slightly gray or yellowish-brown tint. They have powerful chewing mouthparts that they use to chew up their favorite food source, mold.

In homes booklice are drawn to areas of high moisture since those areas easily and readily grow mold for them to feed on. Booklice are most often found in areas like basements, bathrooms and kitchens. As their name suggests they are also commonly found in used books that are being stored. They will feed on the mold growing between the pages and the binding glue. However there are many other areas of your home that they will infest if their presence is left untreated. They can be found in cardboard cartoons, piles of paper, around sweating pipes, in window and door casing voids, and cupboards. They can also be brought into your home in groceries and infest your stored dry goods like flour and cereal.

Even though the thought of having booklice in your home may give you the heebie jeebies they are actually not harmful and considered to be nuisance pests. They are not parasitic and do not bite. Homeowners sometimes confuse booklice with bed bugs and vice versa; but it is important to realize that these are two very different pests. Booklice can often be eliminating quickly by fixing the areas of high humidity, while the bed bugs are not easily eliminated from your home without proper treatment from professional bed bug exterminators. Completely preventing any pest including booklice from entering your home can be a difficult task, but there are some precautions that you can take to help prevent your home from being overtaken by them.

  • Keep the humidity of you at 50%; placing dehumidifiers in the high humidity areas of your home generally works to accomplish this.

  • Fix leaky pipes in your home.

  • Throw out boxes and papers that you no longer need or use.

  • Frequently dust and vacuum

  • Store dry good in sealed containers.

Typically you can get rid of booklice by disposing of items that are heavily infested, and reducing the humidity in your home and increasing ventilation in storage areas. Reducing the humidity to 50% will eventually kill booklice in your home. Sometimes however a booklice infestation that has been left unnoticed can become very large and chemicals may be needed to completely eliminate them and their breeding areas from your home. At Rottler Pest & Lawn Solutions, we have the tools and knowledge and can quickly eliminate booklice from your home. One of our St. Louis pest control professionals will inspect your home to find the areas of activity and breeding; they will then treat those areas with an insecticide aerosol and dust formulation. As an extra precaution they will also treat the perimeter of your home’s foundation with a barrier treatment. If you need help with booklice control in your home, contact us today for detailed information about how to get rid of booklice or to learn more about our pest control services in St. Louis and Mid-Missouri.


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