Booklice (Psocoptera) are a very common pest in domestic and commercial areas. they are considered a pest due to the fact that they can damage delicate materials and foodstuffs they infest. This pest does not usually bite people or pets or cause damage to furniture, however it may cause skin irritation sometimes because of the bacteria it carries on its body.
Typical places where booklice can be found are usually wet and damp areas in residential properties (kitchens and bathrooms) and commercial and industrial sites (food manufacturing sites, granaries or warehouses). Poor ventilation is in general one of the main reasons for a booklice infestation.
The signs of booklice infestation are damage to books and furs, damage to foods like dried meat, where tunnels and holes can be seen. Other products susceptible to infestation by this pest are powdered milk, nuts, fish meal, cereals, pollen, etc… Also spotting caused to eggs in residential properties and packaging and pallets may be infested in commercial premises, where they would serve as a source of infestation of various stored products that may then cause losses to the companies. Due to the preference of the booklice for high humidity, it is also a very common sign of the presence of such infestation.
Booklice treatment and control
Booklice are a pest, which settles down in wet and damp areas. This is why when it comes to control and treatment of booklice, it is essential that you limit the favourable conditions for them. Ventilating often and keeping the humidity level of the property/premises low would help significantly to decrease the chances for the development of such infestation.
If a booklice infestation is already present, all damaged products should be disposed of and the source of dampness should be located and eliminated as this would allow for further development of the infestation and it would also encourage reintroduction of a new infestation. The property should be thoroughly inspected and areas with poor ventilation should be taken care of, as they would help increase the humidity level, which would encourage the development of an infestation. Any leakages should be eliminated and the infested area should be cleaned and professionally treated for the complete removal of the booklice infestation.
The most effective treatment for booklice is the heat treatment. It not only eradicates the living booklice but also their eggs and the different nymphs, regardless of their stages of development. The heat treatment is an environmentally friendly and human friendly treatment, which also helps to decrease the overall level of humidity in the property/premises and, in addition, it eradicates all life stages of other pests that may be present such as carpet beetles, bed bugs, clothes moths, etc…
In Prime Pest Control we offer booklice inspection, treatment, removal and control services by experienced BPCA-trained pest technicians. They will come and inspect thoroughly the whole property to identify the source of the booklice infestation and the different areas, where it has spread. A custom-made pest management report will be prepared for the treatment and control of the infestation, as well as advice and recommendations will be given in order to prevent the infestation from reoccurring. If you are based in North, South, West, East London or the surrounding counties you can book your appointment with one of your pest technicians at the most convenient to you time.
Booklice are small insects with pale creamy to grey-brown colour. They are approximately 1 – 6mm in length and cannot fly. They have long antennae and their sight is poorly developed. There are no male booklice, all of the representatives of this pest are females and they reproduce through unfertilised eggs. A single female can lay up to 60 eggs in a wet or damp area. The eggs, pearly-white in colour, then hatch and, instead of larvae, nymphs come out and start feeding on the available mould and mildew. There are four nymph stages that booklice go through in their development before they reach maturity. In a year, there can be up to 8 generations of booklice, depending on the conditions available.
There are different types of booklice, however all of them have preferences for high humidity and the majority of them prefer higher temperatures – between 25C – 30C. Their origin is not very clear as these pests are common in many cosmopolitan cities around the world. Psocids, which booklice belong to, can be found both inside and outside properties and usually the ones inside do not have wings or their wings are too small.
Booklice feed primarily on mould and mildew but they can also feed on stored products such as dried meat and fish, salami, chocolate, cocoa, cereals, etc.., which are widely available in domestic properties and the businesses dealing with those foods. As their name states, booklice can also damage books and, in some cases, plants.