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How to kill the bookworm insect

Updated April 17, 2017

The term "Book Worm" refers to a group of minuscule beetles that feed on the pages of books. These insects include the cigarette beetle, the Mexican book beetle, the drugstore beetle and the white-marked spider beetle. They are between .1 and .2 inches in length. Because modern book makers use an ammonia-based paste in their bindings, book worms tend to favour older books. Once a book worm inhabits a book and begins laying eggs, getting rid of the intruders before they destroy the book can be a challenge, but with some persistence it can be done.

Isolate the book. You will want to keep an infected book away from other books to prevent the spread of the worms. You will need to deal with the books individually if you have more than one book with book worms.

Place the book in an airtight box. Soak cotton balls with ether and place them around the book. Seal the box and let it sit for several days.

Remove the book from the box. Repeat the previous step after three weeks to make sure you kill all the eggs.

Freeze the book. If the previous method is ineffective you can freeze the book to kill the book worms. Place the book in a Ziplock freezer bag and seal it. Place it in the freezer for a week and then remove it. Place the book on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Open the bag and remove the book.

Things You'll Need

  • Air-tight box
  • Ether
  • Cotton balls
  • Ziplock bag
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About the Author

Justin Melick began writing in 2002 for the "Union Sentinel." His work has also appeared in the "Dawson Community News," the "Mountain Chronicle," on RisingHits.com, and in the "Gainesville Times" and the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution." Melick authored the book "American Moments: American Stories in Poetry and Prose." He has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Gainesville State College.