Whether you call them psocids (Psocoptera) or book lice, these insects are very small (1/16 inch), (mostly) wingless, and look like small moving whitish to yellowish specks. Some outdoor species, often called “barklice,” are winged as adults. But most indoor species remain wingless. Many think they have wings because they will actively leap when disturbed. Under magnification, booklice resemble miniature termites with a broad head, narrow mid-section (thorax), and wide abdomen. The first section (femora) of the hind legs is often enlarged. However, there is considerable biological variability, species to species. The common indoor booklice species have a bulging clypeus (the upper “lip” area above the mouthparts) and long, filamentous antennae.
Booklice develop from eggs laid singly or in clusters. At optimal temperature and humidity, wingless immature stages or nymphs hatching from eggs develop through 3-4 stages (or instars) over a period of about 10 days before becoming adults. A complete life cycle, including egg incubation period may average approximately 24 days, although temperature and humidity can affect this life cycle length considerably.
How Did I get book lice
Booklice may become noticeable during warm, moist conditions. These psocids are often found in damp rooms, duct work, storerooms, libraries, or other favorable habitats that provide food, shelter, and proper conditions. As mold feeding insects, they are nearly always associated with moisture issues. Outdoors, they will also feed on dead or decayed plant or animal material.
What Problems Do book lice Cause
As a group, indoor psocids do little actual damage except when contaminating stored food, but their presence in large numbers can be very annoying. The name, “booklouse”, comes from some species’ association with books, especially in the days before air conditioning, when natural humidity in homes and libraries allowed more frequent growth of mildew on book bindings and pages. Often, when they arrive, their population sizes blow up to incredible numbers very fast. And their voracious appetite can allow infestations to actually feed on the binding glue (starch) on books to the point where the books fall apart. Psocids feed mostly on microscopic molds, but a variety of food items (both plant and animal origin) may be attacked. Indoor inhabiting species of booklice may feed on the starch in book bindings, coated papers, or wallpaper, or the molds growing on starchy surfaces. They may also feed on dried fruits, animal feed, flours, oats and other grains, and cereals, especially if these are stored in damp locations.
HOW do i get rid of book lice
To get rid of book like, you should start with a thorough cleaning of any infested areas, discarding possible sources of psocid infested food or other materials and find the source of the high moisture and/or humidity. Vacuuming susceptible areas definitely helps. Increasing light to infested areas suppress dark-living booklice activity. Reducing humidity by opening windows and doors and turning off humidifiers or using fans or dehumidifiers will reduce favorable environmental conditions. Booklice do not survive more than 1-3 weeks if relative humidity is less than 58%. So, take away their humidity and they will go away! But for an immediate relief, fumigation is always available to get you back to zero.