State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500528
The common booklouse (Liposcelis corrodens Heymons) is wingless, light
straw colored (almost translucent) and only 1/25-1/12 inch (1-2mm). It
looks somewhat similar to an aphid ("plant louse") but is smaller and
has chewing instead of sucking mouthparts.
Booklice may be found in all parts of both old and new homes,
warehouses, and libraries, most often where it is dusty, warm and damp.
They are frequently found on furniture, clothing, bedding, walls,
window sills, in kitchen cupboards, in or near books, and in old bee
and wasp nests. They also infest stored products such as flour and
ground grains. Booklice do little damage to household goods, but their
activity is an annoyance. They feed on molds and mildews, which are
probably their most important food source, as well as fragments of dead
insects, pollen and other dead vegetable and animal matter. They damage
the paste on book bindings and wallpaper, and may be found in stored
cereals. Although these insects are not parasitic, they can be a source
of so-called "bites" because of the dermatitis they cause to certain
Integrated Booklice Management
For best control, dry out the infested area. Booklice are seldom found
in clean, dry, heated buildings. Repair all leaky or sweaty pipes and
install a vapor barrier in the crawl space. Use a dehumidifier if
necessary. Vent clothes dryer outside (check vent pipe fittings and
prevent lint buildup). Store all cardboard boxes and their contents at
least 10-12 inches off the floor. Keep window sills free of debris and
remove all old wasp and bird nests. Infested furnishings and other
moveable items should be thoroughly cleaned and aired. Insecticides are
seldom needed, but if required, a pyrethrin can be used. Use a
pyrethrin aerosol on items such as books. However, remember that most
insecticides can stain fabrics and other porous surfaces, so use them
For a complete listing of suggested control options for all home, yard
and garden insect pests contact your local Extension Service, found
under local government in the phone book.
Read and follow instructions on the pesticide label. Heed all warnings.
Check with your physician if you have any concerns regarding your
personal health risk.
Revised by Tom Ellis, M.S., Department of Entomology
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status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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