Booklice (psocids) thrive in humid locations where they spend their lives feeding on mould and fungi. They damage paper products and books by feeding on the organic matter that grows on the bindings and glue. Around 150 species of booklice live in the United States, according to Utah State University. The small insects measure less than 1/16 of an inch, appear tan in colour and have a life cycle of only one month. During the female's life, she will lay around 60 eggs. Booklice can also contaminate stored food if it does not have a lid.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Sump pump
- Exhaust fans
- Silica granules
- Hand-held sprayer or garden pump sprayer
- Diazinon, cyfluthrin or tralomethrin insecticides
- Pyrethrins dust
Locate the source of moisture in the home. Repair any leaking pipes, and patch any areas of the roof that may be leaking. If the basement or crawlspace beneath the house suffers from ongoing flooding, then install a sump pump.
Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom to help reduce the humidity in the house and control the booklice. Use a dehumidifier in the bathroom to lower humidity, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Place packages of silica granules in boxes with stored books to help reduce moisture.
Lay books out to dry periodically. If mould severely covers a book, then throw it away.
Spray all cracks and crevices of the house and around bookcases with an insecticide that contains diazinon, cyfluthrin or tralomethrin. Follow the directions on the label for application. Use a hand-held sprayer or garden pump sprayer for application. It may take 10 to 14 days before the booklice die, according to the University of Florida.
Sprinkle insecticidal dust containing pyrethrins under the house. The dust will help control the booklice once the area is dry.
Discard food that contains booklice if it cannot be treated using heat or cold. Heat the food to 82.2 degrees Celsius for 30 days or freeze food for four days to successfully kill booklice in foods, according to Texas A & M University.
Tips and warnings
- Always cover or remove all food and cookware prior to spraying an insecticide.
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