Booklice (psocids) are very small, soft-bodied insects that are quite common and perfectly harmless. They are similar in appearance to the common headlouse, hence their name, but they are not a louse. Neither are they associated with dirt or poor hygiene. They are attracted to certain homes because conditions there are conducive to their proliferation, specifically warmth and damp. They cause no damage as they feed chiefly on mould. They are also attracted to the starch in book bindings and damp cardboard and paper. They can be present in very large numbers and this in itself can be alarming. We sell various formulations to help you make your home booklice free
Booklice are tricky to control with insecticide because they have a tolerance to permethrin and probably to other pyrethroids, the most likely product to be used. The best method of attack is physical control.
Remove the conditions that booklice need to survive. Address the damp by ventilating rooms, using a dehumidifier, mending any leaks etc.
Vacuum regularly to physically remove the pests and seal up any cracks that could provide potential harbourage with caulk.
Remove the foodstuffs by throwing out any infested products such as flour or cereals or clearing infested books and papers.
The perfect product for dealing with a booklice infestation is diatomaceous earth. This is a natural product that works by dehydrating the insect to the point of death. There are sprays available such as Oa2ki insect spray which work in the same way if powder is inappropriate
Booklice have an incomplete lifecycle which means they go through nymphal moults to become adults
All adults are female and lay relatively large eggs at a rate of about 2 per day. Eggs are laid in crevices, about 100 per female.
The optimum temperature for this species seems to be between 25º and 30ºC when a complete lifecycle can take three to four weeks. A much slower development takes place at lower temperatures.
Booklice thrive in damp, warm conditions and are consequently more prevalent in spring and summer.
They are commonly found in kitchens, where they have infested damp cereals or flour and where humidity is high.
They feed primarily on mould so can also be found behind peeling wallpaper or where there is damp plaster. They are sometimes visible on walls.
They are also attracted to the starch in bookbindings so homes with large undisturbed book collections can be a prime target
The best way to proof against booklice is to remove the conditions they need to survive.
Make sure rooms are well ventilated and humidity is addressed
Fill cracks and crevices that provide harbourage and where eggs may be laid
If your kitchen is prone to damp, keep susceptible products in glass, sealed containers
Vacuum frequently to disturb potential areas where booklice may thrive