How To Get Rid Of Booklice In Your Home

Posted on: 10 May 2017

If you have old books that get damp, you may find booklice. Booklice are not actually lice, but belong to family of insects called psocids. These tiny insects measure 1/16 of an inch, and they do not just hide in books. They can also be found in cracks, crevices, and other damp areas. While they are no physical threat to humans, they leave behind waste in food products. Here are tips to get rid of booklice in your home.

Prepare to Work

For this project, gather:

  • work gloves
  • rags
  • sponges
  • vacuum with nozzle
  • freezer
  • microwave oven
  • hair dryer
  • airtight food containers
  • ammonia based cleaner
  • magnifying glass 
  • hygrometer

First, study the insects with a magnifying glass. The abdomen on booklice is their largest feature. The often are clear white, gray, or brown, and the indoor variety doesn't have wings.

Clean Infested Items

Discard cereal boxes, flour, and sugar bags that aren't sealed. Careful inspect cans or any product with labels, since they like to feed on the glue.  

Store uncontaminated food bags. Set these in the freezer for a couple of day to be on the safe side. Set the freezer temperature to zero degrees to kill eggs. This will kill adult booklice in three to four hours, but it takes twenty-four hours to kill eggs. Heat is also effective for killing booklice. Alternately, set small non-food, non-metal, items in the microwave for forty seconds on high. 

Vacuum the items to get rid of insects, and discard anything you are unsure to keep. Do the same for non-food items, such as books. Wipe cracks and crevices around counter tops with an ammonia-based cleaner and rag. Use  a hair dryer to dry the area. Keep the cabinet doors open to speed drying. 

Get Rid of Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew attract booklice. These grow in areas with standing water and high humidity. Mold commonly has a musty smell, and it forms pink, black, or orange patches. Decrease humidity in laundry rooms, bathrooms, and sink areas. Set up an extractor fan in cabinets that lack proper ventilation, and install ceiling fans in rooms with no windows.

Find leaky water sources right away, and fix them. Set removable plant trays under plants to catch dripping water, and use mats in the bathroom. Open windows, or run exhaust fans for several minutes after showering. Additionally, try to keep the humidity levels in your home around fifty percent. Humidity levels can be measured with a hygrometer.

If you find mold, scrub it with borax, white vinegar, or oxygen bleach and a sponge. Sometimes, paper items cannot be saved from mold, so discard them. 

Taking these steps should prevent and kill booklice. If you don't trust your skill, or they keep coming back, contact a pest control service like Action Pest Control & Wildlife Management Inc.