Friday 5: 5 Places I’ve Found Booklice in My House

Ah, booklice.  They’re tiny insects many people have never seen.  They eat really random things like the paste in books and certain parts of dry tree branches, dead skin cells.  Some species get into grain storage areas and munch away happily for ages.  I seem to find a lot of them in my house.  Don’t know why exactly, but they make an appearance often.  Today’s Friday 5 will highlight 5 places I’ve found booklice in my house!


My flour canister.

My flour canister. I opened my flour canister to make a cake one day and noticed the top of the flour was moving.  I have a freakish ability to see very, very small things moving around (remind me to tell you about the mite incident at the vet!), but even I was surprised I noticed them!  There were hundreds, if not thousands.  I chucked the flour – and didn’t get cake.  :(  On bright side, my students got to see live psocopterans in lab.  That’s always a good thing!


One of my latest rodents, Captain Jack the gerbil.

My gerbil food container. I love rodents.  I’ve had a rodent or a hedgehog since I was about 12 years old.  My most recent rodents have been gerbils, so I have gerbil food.  And once, it was infested with booklice.  Lots and lots and lots of booklice.  I’m sure my gerbils wouldn’t have cared, but my husband did, so into the trash it went!

Okay, two grains in a row.  Let’s move on to the more bizarre things I’ve found booklice on!


The disease-ridden aspen tree in the front yard of my home in Colorado.

My aspen tree log. When I moved from Colorado to Arizona, it was the first time I had been far from my family.  Heck, I even went to college 7 miles from home!  The house where I lived in Colorado Springs had this awful little aspen tree in the front yard.  It was always a little diseased, so it was stumpy the entire 20 years my dad lived in that house.  Still, it reminded me of home.  When he cut a big dead part off the tree, I took one of the logs back to AZ with me and set it on my dresser so I had a little piece of home.  A few years later, I noticed  insects crawling all over it.  It too was relegated to the trash can, but I didn’t miss it.  I didn’t need it to remind me of home anymore.  Now I content myself with photos of that sad little aspen tree.  That really was a terrible tree.

paper bouquet

Bouquet of paper flowers at my wedding. Photo by Alex Yellich.

My paper flowers. I had a DIY wedding.  Among the many decorations that I made for the wedding were bouquets of paper flowers, made from a giant roll of parchment that featured prominently in my childhood.  After the wedding, I set a few of the bouquets on a bookshelf in my living room.  8 months later, I was dusting the things on the shelf and noticed that one of the bouquets was crawling with booklice!  The other bouquet, 12 inches away, was 100% booklice free.  Strange!  I took some photos (the booklouse at the top of this post is compliments of my paper flowers) and intended to clean them off, but I got distracted and forgot.  When I went back to clean them a few days later they were gone.  Lord knows where they went, but I suspect they made their way into one of my husband’s many tasty board games on the shelves below.  :)


Jorge, my paper mache Day of the Dead puppet.

Jorge. Tucson has this AMAZING Day of the Dead parade called the All Soul’s Procession.  A couple thousand people dress up in insanely creative costumes and wander through the hippie district and downtown areas celebrating life and death.  Anyone can join in and some people make these elaborate and/or gigantic altars, puppets, or costumes from all manner of media.  I walked for several years before I decided it was time to jazz up my costume with a puppet.  Thus, Jorge was born.  I spent weeks working on him, paper macheing him with care.  I carried him in two parades before he found a home on my bedroom wall.  (Yes, I spent several years sharing a room with a creepy, 4-foot tall skeleton puppet.  What of it?)  I loved Jorge.  I was so disappointed when I found him infested with booklice.  It was a sad day when Jorge was retired from his honored place on the wall, interred in the trashcan, and replaced with more normal decor.

So there you have it!  5 places I’ve found booklice in my home.  Has anyone else found booklice in their homes?  If so, I’d love to hear where you found them, so leave a comment below!


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