Book Lice


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Book lice (also known as Bark flies, Barklice or Psocids) are small insects usually found in warm, dark and damp areas inside and outside of the home. They can be found on and around trees (i.e. Barklice), in bird's nests, under leaves and bark but also in cupboards at home, around wall paper, new plaster board and in business premises (food and retail). However they gained their common name 'book lice' from being most commonly found in old books. The glue/paste used to bind books together acting as a meal for the scavenging insects.

Book lice are from the scientific classification Order, Psocoptera. Within this Order, there are three suborders with varying amounts of families and these are Trogiomorpha (7 families), Troctomorpha (9 families) and Psocomorpha (24 families). There are over 5500 different species of book lice within these 40 families and there is a huge variation in appearance. Size (0-2mm) and color (grey to brown) vary, as does their ability to fly - for some book lice have wings and others do not. On the whole, the majority of book lice have bulging eyes, large foreheads and six thin spindly legs. Unlike human lice, book lice do not have legs made fro gripping onto hairs.

Book lice feed on microscopic moulds and bacteria, decaying animal and plant materials, lichen, algae, fungi and organic detritus as well as the glue used in books. Book lice do not bite, infest or feed off humans (which is good news), but they may contaminate food if left to do so and can cause mild skin irritation. Booklice are therefore generally harmless (in terms of infections and diseases), however if they are left to feed and multiply into an infestation book lice can a pain to get rid of.

As book lice enjoy a certain environment, the a good book lice treatment to treat them is to thoroughly clean and dehumidify the area where they are found. Not only do book lice enjoy damp, dark and warm areas they also are attracted to foods which contain moisture such as milk, powders, flour and sugar. Those who find book lice in their home are usually unsure as to how they got there, but book lice can be transported in to the home on packaging, in boxes or on pallets. There is a possibility they may have managed to get into the food before it was brought into the house (i.e. at a factory before the packaging was sealed) however this is unlikely.

Book Lice Treatment

book lice control
Book Lice Treatment at Home
Clearing any areas and foods where the book lice are found should be exercised initially. Throw any infected foods in garbage bags, seal and dispose of the bags away from the home so the book lice do not find a way back in. Fully aerate the room or cupboard and apply an insecticide (such as Pyrethrin) to kill the remaining book lice. Always carefully follow the instructions on any products that contain chemicals or harmful ingredients - and ensure that people and pets are vacated whilst treatment is applied. Any damp should be treated to prevent book lice returning, so this may take some time, but cleaning all mould or other edible matters should be done immediately. Ensure the entire area is treated and dry before placing any food back in.



Book Lice Control
It may not always be possible to use an insecticide near to food, but there are plenty of other powders and sprays that will help with the killing of book lice. Your local pest control may be able to advise you which is best, as may the local authorities. Some councils offer a service to get rid of book lice, but they may charge a standard rate that you could avoid by clearing them yourself. Ensure that any infected areas are thoroughly cleaned and provided with ventilation in the future. Regularly clean, check cupboards and dispose of foods/packages when they pass their sell by date. Making the environment clean, clear and free from damp will help with your book lice control.

Thousands of people search to find out about different types of parasites and how to get rid of them. Fortunately there are so many products available on line, you should be able to find what you want without too much of a problem. We hope that you have found this article a useful guide and that any questions you may have had have been answered. You will find that this website is a great resource, whether you are looking to learn more, purchase booklice related products or just seek some quiet information. Men, women and children are all affected by booklice and we hope you have located the treatment you may need, be it a comb, lotion, cream, medication, shampoo, powder or spray. Booklice treatments and remedies should be sought after quickly and if you have pubic lice you should seek medical advice so they cannot be spread to or infect others.

Book Lice

Book Lice Infestation

  • Combs, Liquids, Lotions, Insecticides and Medication for control
  • Facts and Information about a body louse, head louse, hair louse and pubic louse
  • How do you get head-lice? Remedies for head-lice!
  • Need booklice control? Find out what to do here
  • Symptoms of head-lice? Search our information on Combs!
  • Life Cycle of head-lice and information on possible prevention methods, treatments and avoidance
  • What is a lice-body? Take a look at our Pictures pages

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