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. 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!
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!
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.
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. 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!
Addendum (October 15, 2016): A lot of people have found support for their extreme fear or disgust of these insects by talking to other people in the comments section of this post. By all means please continue to do so! I am adding this little note to state this: I will approve your comments so they’ll be visible to everyone else, but I am not going to respond to your comments myself. I choose not to because, to me, these little insects are merely a minor nuisance and I do not feel that I am a good resource for how to deal with your concerns. There are other people here who will give you the support you seek. That said, please also note that I will not tolerate any offensive, insulting, or otherwise malicious comments here. Just don’t go there.
Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth
59 thoughts on “Friday 5: 5 Places I’ve Found Booklice in My House”
My husband found a small critter on a book he checked out from his university’s library and showed me. Immediately, I knew it was a psocid, even though I’ve only ever seen line drawings of them in textbooks. Who’d ever believe libraries could be sources of infection? It’s not who you sleep with, it’s what you read! I’m wondering if I should notify the library?
Perhaps, though I’m sure most libraries have a ton of them. I’m not even sure how you would get rid of them. Glad to hear you knew what it was right away though! Their little blobby foreheads (the bulbous clypeus if you want to be technical) are a dead giveaway if you can see them, plus they always end up in weird places – like library books – where you wouldn’t find many other insects. I think they’re actually kinda cute! Still, I do try to keep them out of my house. I own a ton of books (booklice paradise!) and I don’t want them munching away on the paste.
I haven’t seen any yet, but thanks to you I’ll be paranoid and look everywhere!
Didn’t mean to make anyone paranoid! Booklice can’t do anything to you. They’re barely even a pest species. I worry more about the squadrons of ants marching across my kitchen counters than the booklice. :) The only reason I throw things away that have booklice away is so they don’t end up in my gigantic book collection. They like to eat book paste and can cause some damage to books. Otherwise, completely harmless!
I’ve never found booklice in my home, but I’m totally going to be looking for them now. Fascinating!
I love Jorge.
I kinda like the psocopterans and they are incredibly cute if you get to see them up close. Let me know if you find any! You’re just up I-10 from me, and I know you’ve got a lot of the same kinds of things there as we do here. :)
Glad you like Jorge! He was fun to make and I got several years of enjoyment out of his before he was attacked by nearly microscopic bugs. If you ever have a chance to participate in the All Soul’s Procession though, it is a really great experience. Totally kid friendly too!
I have found them shortly after we bathe, in both showers, as well as outside on my patio, near my garden.
I find them everywhere in my home, although we don’t get much humid weather they seem to like crawling up all walls of my house and ceilings, but they’re particularly prominent in the bathroom where it gets steamy. I try to use a dehumidifier to control the conditions. Oddly, i rarely find them in books or paper. They’re annoying because it makes me think i’m going mad and the walls are alive! ahhhh.
We have a master suite in the attic portion, of a 3 floor apt. and we are infested everywhere with booklice. I can’t just remove items to clean thuroughly, so as not to infect the rest of the house. I’ve been reading up on them, and they wouldn’t bother me if they weren’t absolutely everywhere upstairs. I’m pretty sure our sorce of infestation was from a leak in the roof, causing mold to feed upon. I’m sure we will need exterminator, but I don’t like pesticides, and I have ferrets that could be in danger if we spray. When I say everywhere I mean I’ve found them on our books and bookshelf, on our lamps, on our minifridge, they love the coffee maker- (ick factor 10). They are all over the walls, in great numbers in coffee mugs (can’t crawl out). They are all up in my sugar, and they absolutely love dryer sheets (Bounce:). They are tiny, mostly light brown, and sometimes white. We are using a dehumidifier, and are trying to formulate a plan of attack to save our stuff. I’m looking at total infestation of my favorite cookbooks, and I have a dictionary collection that I refuse to part with for this. I live in New York state, and I hope the comming winter will quiet them down. I fear if not handled right we will never be rid of them.
I Have had them in both my houses! In the kitchen at my old house and in my wardrobe all over my clothes…….yuck!
Yeah… It happens! I have found them several other places in my house since I wrote the blog post…
I found some stuck on my daughter’s wooden blocks and toys, at the time there was some leakage going on in my apartment where mold was an issue. I now found them in my new place and I think it’s my sofa that they’re coming from although I don’t have dampness any longer and I can keep them contained, they are not cute, Every other day I pull the sofa back and find a few less than 5 if there is no food but there were was a swarm on a cheerio, a goldfish, and a marshmallow. Also I had a brand new package of flour closed and in the living room for a few days (didn’t get to put away the groceries) then it was stored in my kitchen cabinet for about 3 months before I opened it and there was one alive and kicking, the ones I have are dark reddish brown. Did not know what they were and I have been doing research online and reading this helped decide that this is what I definitely have. I spray them with antibacterial lysol cleaner and they die instantly when they’re on a hard surface, but I notice that when I spray if found on fabric, it won’t work.
Sorry that you’re having such a bad problem with them! I’ve definitely ended up with them in my flour, but mostly I found them on dusty surfaces, of which I had many at the time I wrote the post since I lived in the desert in Arizona. I can’t imagine that the lysol isn’t killing them on the fabric too though. Perhaps it just takes a little longer for them to die, but it should work. You could also try dabbing at them with rubbing alcohol on a q tip or sometime. Alcohol definitely works to kill them.
My daughter has found them in her room and our living room furniture how do they travel
You know, I’m honestly not sure how they move around. I suspect people move them without knowing, but that’s just a guess.
I found out, only today, that they are living in our apartment & the way I discovered them is I picked up my iPod Touch to turn on the music (I like to listen to music when I’m showering…) & when the screen lit up, I noticed two very teeny tiny dots moving about on the screen. I then proceeded to inspect the rest of the bathroom & was absolutely beyond HORRIFIED to find them crawling on nearly surface :(
Thank you for this article, for shedding a little insight into the world of booklice, the little bastards…..lol
Having booklice in your shower isn’t all that bad! Just rinse them away several times and it should take care of a lot of the problem.
I’m going absolutely buggy over what seems like an infestation (to me) but is really finding about 2-3 of them per day in various parts of one room in the house. That one room happens to be my bedroom. It was painted last Fall and ceiling gaps and baseboards were caulked. Not because I thought I had psocids, but because it looked better and the room was being renovated. I keep a diary by my bed. I haven’t written in it since April. So I opened it last week and saw two tiny bugs moving. I nearly dropped the diary. I am so petrified of bugs and have such a strong aversion to them that I just immediately put it in a plastic bag and did research. Ok, book lice, book mites. Fine. Checked some other books in the room, only one had a bug in it. Read that freezing works. Stuck them in the freezer.
But the story doesn’t end there…….
Going to bed that same night I took a closer look at the nightstand that had the diary and some magazines. I should have never looked. Saw about 2 more bugs. Freaked out. Next day did a thorough vacuuming and dusting of the entire room. Saw one on my mattress under the mattress pad. WTF? Nearly fainted. Vacuumed the mattress on all sides. Considered steam cleaning but didn’t want to leave moisture inside. Bought heavy duty mattress encasement and pillow encasement’s immediately. I know, a bit overboard. Bought a humidity thermometer and the room hovers between 47%-70% humidity. Got some temporary dehumidifiers (non-electric). Since last week I go over my room with a fine eye and ALWAYS find one or two. All over the room. Not concentrated to one corner or area of the bedroom. So far there’s been a few on my dresser top. In my wall unit/desk thingy. inside the drawer of the desk. On the wall. On my headboard. Just one but I almost needed valium to get into bed that night. I cleaned the headboard and was surprised that a few months old bed would have mold on it for them to eat??? I have searched the rest of the house. The kitchen – nothing. The damp bathroom – not a one, nothing. The basement – none. What gives? Why this one room? Last night I found one crawling out of the outlet on the wall. They seem pretty fast. But definitely psocids from all that I’ve read. My skin crawls. It’s mentally driving me insane. I am assuming the wall of the bedroom with the three windows is rotten inside (old wooden house) because when the window in the attic above this room was replaced the entire supporting wall of wood was rotting. It’s really a hazard. It is supposed to be fixed soon. This also meant a huge ant problem (entire house, actually) this summer which has since moved on to the basement only. Anyway, that’s the only source of them I can think of. Especially seeing them a lot on the wall by the outlets. It has to be internal and they are spilling out into my living space?
When I try to point one out to someone else they never seem to be around so my family thinks I’m nuts. Today just broke me. Hence finding this blog and feeling I can at least vent here, even if it is an old thread. I took out some pants from my closet that I haven’t worn since last Fall. It’s chilly and raining today in NJ. I looked over the pants with paranoia, telling myself that finding psocids on shelves and walls is one thing – clothes is another. Until this morning I have never seen on my clothes (even though I have been putting clothes in the dryer on high before wearing them out of sheer paranoia. The pants I took out seemed fine. Black pants so any speck is easily seen. Take them upstairs to iron and turn them inside out to start – THERE’S ONE CRAWLING. I had no spray near me so i had to use my finger to kill it. I threw the pants in a bag. I was already late for work so just used clothing I left in the bathroom the previous day. I am about to go mad. It seems I need to clean EVERY surface of my room. Not just vacuum and dust, but wipe whatever it is they are loving eating in my room. The process seems so arduous. What if they come back after all that work? I know you mentioned you find them cute and they don’t bother anyone but this is really starting to affect me mentally and I just needed to vent. I have no solution. I’m incredibly stressed out. I know they can’t harm me. I’m just repulsed. And it’s getting worse (my mental health) now that there was one on my clothes from the closet.
I’m so sorry that this is the experience you’ve been having with these bugs! They really are harmless and won’t do ANYTHING to you, though I know there’s no convincing someone who is as scared of bugs as you are. Please do rest assured that they can do absolutely nothing to you, so if you can get past the creepy factor of them there’s no harm in their being there.
Do hope you are able to get past this fear!
The same thing happened to me !!! im 20 i cant afford alot right not and i moved into a basement suite .Its been about a month and a half and i noticed i keep getting these bites and there sore not itchy. i told my boyfriend about it and he thinks im freaking myself out because he has slept over lots and no itchiness or bites. but then today i pulled my phone charger and these litte white, basically clear bugs crawled out of the socket im freaking out . i haven’t found any in the washroom or living, kitchen. only in my bedroom. i am not a dirty person so i cant imagine i brought lice to this house. its has to be booklice right?? i just ran a bath and emerged myself in it with tee tree oil. i dont think i have any in my hair. my head isnt itchy… I hate bugs, i dont know what to do!!!!!! is it lice or booklice. do booklice live in canada?
I apologize for the bad grammar
This is my situation right now also. So many of these insects in my kitchen, and now spreading in to other rooms. This is causing me so much stress and sleepless nights; and im struggling to see how it can be fixed – especially as i am very sensitive to strong chemicals. I feel as though im enduring a plague and feel the need to run. Did you ever resolve your problem?
Thanks for the chance to comment. Its after 2am here and i woke up feeling terrible anxiety :(
I have just recently found them around my house. Right now as i speak they are a large number of them crawling on my dinning table and kitchen. Am not really a bug person and it’s driving me crazy. The first time i actually saw them was some two years ago, i had been in school then and since it was a boarding school we had to bring cupboard to school. And at a point i had taken out my cream to rub and they were thing on it. The first time i saw them i was not bothered and didn’t even look too closely, (just wiped the stuff off thinking it wss dust) but another day came and this time i notice that these things were moving, look all over the cupboard and it had been crawling with them, i freaked out, let go off the cream, had my cupboard and everything in it eliminated. And then later cryed for the lose of my things. Ok that was a long time ago and then today i found them in my home, in my bedroom, our abandoned frigde. It gives me the feeling of wanting to run away.
hey just wondering wil these book live crawl into your matress ????
Probably yes, but I’m not certain. If you have insects in your mattress, you might want to take a few to an expert to make sure they’re really harmless booklice and not something that infects humans like hair lice or body lice. It should be very easy for an entomologist to let you know whether they’re booklice – they’re very distinct!
i have had this problem before which got me paranoid for a while , the best way to get rid of them from books is to put the books in a bag and freeze them overnight or more, but in fact they can be found anywhere though they are harmless, i just saw a couple of them while cleaning at the new house, that brought me here, at least now i know what they are so im not as paranoid about it.
Putting things in the freezer is a great way to get rid of nearly any insect! Great that you found a solution to your problem.
I just found a book lice infestation in the bed of a friend that I am staying in for the summer. I am worried because I brought my own duvet to the house, but it was laundered before I came here, and I was wondering if you think that I brought them here? Can they travel on blankets, even ones that have been cleaned and shipped a long distance? Or would it be more logical that they were here to begin with. We found them all the way through four or five layers of sheets/mattress pad/ mattress covers to the core of the bed.
I’m not sure! Book lice aren’t my area of expertise, so I really don’t know how they spread around. My gut reaction would be that they were already in the bed, but they’re not going to do anything to you either. They’re just eating detritus, so if it were me, I wouldn’t worry about them too much.
We are finding booklice in our pool? Help?
I would be surprised if they were actually booklice if they’re in your pool. Springtails would be more likely! Either way, they’re not going to do anything bad to your pool or the people swimming in it. I wouldn’t worry about them, but you could try scooping them out with a soup strainer if they bother you.
Thank you! Hunt Leigh & Debra Balestra-Leigh
I am going out on a limb here, I don’t talk about this publicly. So please bear with me. About a year and a half ago, I rented a sofa set. It had bed bugs beed list to say they were every where. I have extreme O.C.D. I lost my mind. I cried every night for the two weeks it took to convince the rental company they needed to pay to treat my home. At night I’d lay in my bed still as the dead untill I passed out. I woke up, compulsively showered and started my day. My home was tented and I am bed bug free to this day. I check my home constantly for bed bugs. Still clear. How ever I found book lice in my dresser and around my room. Reading online has taught me these little guys are harmless aside from being an annoying. How ever my anxiety gets the best of me and I have this fear of being over run by them. I know they don’t hurt humans or pets, but I can’t stop reading more and more about them. I sprayed them everytime I’ve seen them. I just needed to get it off my chest. I really have no point in ths comment aside from venting
So sorry you had that experience! Bed bugs are horrible, OCD or no, but I’m glad you were able to get them under control. Here’s hoping you’ll stop seeing booklice so you can stop worry about them!
HI, just found this blog and am a bit relieved. How did I get them I wonder, about 2 months ago a pipe leaked under my floor , it seemed to have dried out but we haven’t got around to replacing the floor yet.. since then I had red flour/ pantry beetles, which I have almost successfully conquered, still see a few here and there. and now I have these things.. I first started noticing them in my notepads and papers on my kitchen counter that I put in one of those organizer things… well I threw that whole thing out because I freaked out.. I am deathly afraid of any and all bugs, I actually cant really eat at the moment thnking about going home tonight and seeing more. Do you think that moisture formed from that leak and now I have all these bug problems..
I seem them crawling on my table, I mean I haven’t seen that many, maybe about 5-10 a night..but now I feel that they are crawling in my food. How can I get rid of them, I guess another 12 hours of cleaning is what I need to do ( as I did with those beetles)
The kiddo and I just cleared the train table of Lego to put some actual trains together. It had been a while since we played with them. I noticed some very very small bugs the same color as the track crawling around on the tack as we were piecing some together.
Internet searches have lead me to the conclusion that they are booklice. I only feel slightly better.
The tracks were in a big plastic storage container. It’s quite dry in my home and the tracks don’t seem damp or mildewy so I have no clue how they got in there. I hope that’s the only place they are.
We quickly put all the track back in the container and lidded it again.
Any good suggestions on how to clean and kill those suckers off the tracks?
I’ve recently noticed booklice in my 2 bed flat…started noticing them months ago but recently started noticing more throughout and started freak if out when I found them in my kids bunk beds. I literally had a breakdown. Even tried to move. But after doing a lot of research and noticing them in most other homes too, I have chilled out a lot. End of the day they aren’t nice but everyone pretty much has them and they can’t hurt you! The only problems they cause is upsetting people by being seen. I’ve purchased a dehumidifier and a washer dryer to reduce humidity levels and a butt load of booklice killer of all variations. It’s hard to not be bothered especially if u have anxiety and OCD like me, but honestly chill out and just accept them because they are a very common problem! Just be grateful it’s not something else like bed bugs or fleas.
I’m glad you’ve been able to change your attitude toward them enough to accept that they’re not going to do anything to you! Yes, it’s not ideal to find tons of them in your house, but they’re not doing much at all – and it could be SO much worse.
Hello, as with the last few posts, I’m terrified of our booklice infestation and am making myself mentally ill over them – I’ve ended up on anti anxiety tablets! Started as an infestation in the kitchen which I noticed two months ago and has now spread to every room in the house. Nearly died when I found them in my daughters room, I cry everyday about them, feel so dirty and disgusting and am literally on the verge of a break down due to them. I’m not scared of bugs generally, we have woodlice and silverfish and spiders that don’t bother me at all, but I think its because these are soo tiny and can literally get everywhere that they bother me so much. Spending all my time searching and checking for them and vacuuming, I’m exhausted, physically and mentally. Just feel so alone. Have bought an electric dehumidifier for the kitchen and non electric ones for the other rooms.
Oh, I’m so sorry they’re bothering you that much! I know I can’t say anything to help you get over this, but they really won’t do anything to you – and don’t say anything good or bad about you or your home. Hope you are able to get past your anxiety about them!
Amy, I’m “Sleepless Mon” from the September 2014 post. I found this blog to vent at my lowest breaking point. I just thought I would follow up, a year later, as to the status of my room and my mental status as well!
It took weeks, if not a couple months until the weather turned cold for me to feel less anxious and to stop looking for them. I found that the dehumidifier set to below 50% really helped my room. As the the thorough cleaning and vigilant weekly dusting and cleaning of all surfaces. I got rid of all things boxes, cartons, paper including books and magazines. In fact, I put books I wanted to read, about a dozen of them, in zip loc bags and left them on my wall unit in the bags. They are still in bags and I only take out the book I want to read and then get rid of the book as I no longer feel the need to keep books around. One of my passions and now I can’t be bothered with storing them or looking at them. Anyway, I knew in the winter everything would die and my dehumidifier would get a break. Once it became spring I had a thermometer with a humidity reading ready and checked it daily. As the humidity climbed I set out the dehumidifier. The entire year since the spring I only found one psocid and that was in late August on a purse high up on my closet. I gutted my closet and cleaned the walls and put all my clothes through the dryer as a precaution. That was the one and only instance I had. I made sure to check here and there where I used to find them and have never seen one since. Not one. I swear by my dehumidifier and dusting and vacuuming and in one year it paid off – I can almost say, with 99% certainty, that I have gotten rid of them. So there is hope Amy! I really thought I would go mad. No one understood it. My family made fun of me. It can really mess up your head. Try to collect your thoughts, do one deep cleaning of every room, then keep your dehumidifiers going and once a week do a normal dusting and cleaning. No one usually cleans that much, I’m sure, or that deeply, but with these pests we have to be extra careful. I hope this helps!
Thank you so much for your follow up, likewise my family don’t really understand the depth of my feelings about it! Are you in the UK or elaewhere? Luckily here in the UK its starting to get cold so I’m praying this gives me chance to get on top of them, I’m hoovering at least once a day including skirting boards and in the kitchen cupboards, cleaning the kitchen surfaces and floors every other day, and all my kitchen cupboards are empty, if it doesnt go in the fridge I don’t buy it! Today so far I’ve only found one in the kitchen cupboard, rather than finding this reassuring I just feel suspicious about where they have moved to haha! I’m glad to hear that you have found success and peace of mind, I hope I do too :-)
Hi Amy, where abouts in the U.K. are you? We’re in the West Mids.
We’ve also had booklice problems pretty much from the start of moving into our newly built terraced house 2 years ago.
At the moment (touch wood) I have managed to reduce the numbers to the odd 1 or 2 a week on walls (either in the kitchen or one of the two bathrooms). At one point I was seeing them daily in many different parts of the house.
With the colder weather our humidity now sits at around 40% which if maintained throughout the house should keep their numbers down.
It used to really get to me as the house is very well kept but I’m starting to learn to just accept it for what it is.
I’ve spent hours researching them and they are supposedly found in 1 out of every 3 homes, I try to keep reminding myself of this every time I start dwelling.
I’ve seen a couple at my place of work in new reems of paper and also spotted one crawling inside a menu in a restaurant, so really it seems they are very common and widespread.
Anyway, hopefully I’ve given you a bit of reassurance that you are certainly not alone :)
Hello, thank you for your reply, it is so comforting to hear other peoples experiences with them, and as a really anxious person by nature it helps to bring me back down to reality!! We are in the North East, near Middlesbrough. I am very thankful for the the fact that the cooler weather has now kicked in as it really does seem to help with the issue, and our humidity has been in the 40’s recently. I’ve found that since new year i’m finding one or two a day in the kitchen, and then perhaps one or two in my daughters room. I’m finding a bit easier to accept it like you say you have – i keep repeating to myself that they are harmless, and tiny, and that there’s much worse things that could be happening, and i think its finally sinking in a bit. I’ve found myself looking for them when i’m out in shops and places too but so far i havent seen any haha!!
Hi, I also had an infestation 4 weeks ago in my kitchen, I felt I’ll and dirty and utterly repulsed by them, they were in all my kitchen cupboards top and bottom and drawers, I threw every bit of food away and still have empty cupboards, I literally had thousands of them, I bought ant powder and ant and insect spray plus diatomaceous earth, cleaned everywhere, bleached everywhere, then alternated using the spray for a few days then the ant powder, I have caulked literally everywhere, all the cupboards, drawers, and even any tiny gaps in the tile grout, I undone every electricity socket as I seen them coming from them, I put in ant powder and diatomaceous earth which will kill any eggs when they hatch, screwed them back on then caulked all the way around them, I then bought expanding foam and filled in all gaps in cupboards where the gas pipes go and any other hole, I must have spent 8 hours a day in my kitchen checking and spraying, this last week I’m seeing about 2 no more than 3 a day, I now Hoover out all my cupboards every 2 days and put down fresh ant powder and diatomaceous earth and will keep this up for the next few months as you have to break the cycle for any eggs that may hatch that maybe hidden, it really does work, I have saw a massive change from thousands to a couple a day which I find crawling up the tiles to get to my windowsill.
Thank you Paula for your reply :-) are you in the UK or elsewhere? I’ve never heard of the earth stuff you recommended, where do you buy that from? All this cleaning and checking is exhausting isnt it? Have you found that you are happy to still find a few a day, and is that progress within the first four weeks? We discovered ours early October
I bought the earth stuff, if it is the same it is Oa2ki make…I use the spray to clean with where the booklice are. Also have the powder spray, which I didn’t like as it doesn’t dry like a powder like its supposed to… I found loads in my one bedroom flat before xmas in 2015 as I was having a declutter to make room for a baby due in a few days….I too have OCD and anxiety and I can definitely relate to how you feel about it making you feel mad, or have a breakdown.. I too cry most days due to this…especially as im about to have a baby and bring him to my home. I found some in my kitchen cupboards, in my drawers in my bedroom….which are now constantly empty…in my book shelves in my room, in any place that was undisturbed and dusty….trust me there were some very dusty places I had clutter unmoved for a long time….ive thrown so much stuff out, even if I didn’t want to…and I have cleaned a lot of stuff and given it to charity….. its beginning to look bare in here.., but the constant checking in rooms all the time does my head in. I hate to see one on my bed sheet ….freaks me out… ive spent many night laying in bed thinking and worrying about them. I don’t know if they keep getting in, or are in and keep coming out….. some days im lucky and dont see any, which probably just means they are hiding somewhere…other days I will see one….then other days I may see five, or six in total….or just 2 or three ….always different. I feel ive gone a bit weird as I now hang my washed clothes up in sealable plastic bags on doors to avoid them getting on my clothes…. my life is different now cos of how they affect me…. I have done loads of work to get rid of them, cleaning, and hovering….gone through stuff….thrown stuff out…washed things….I know they don’t hurt us, its just their presence, it literally ‘bugs’ me…. I find they like wooden things…. hence their other name bark lice (outdoors type) that live under bark in trees…. its actually quite nice to know that other people feel how I do about these and that people look it up online as I do too…I had my samples identified by environmental health…. I don’t tell people I have these ….. apart from my mum, I m always moaning to her about them….I don’t like doing that cos it probably does her head in that im always whittling about it to her on messages, and texts….I can never see an end to them..feels they will always be here as so hard to get rid of….ive caulked everywhere too….I just hate them being here….really hate it….
Anybody had managed to get rid of them forever? Pls help
I have! No psocids in over a year!
I posted here two years ago going out of my mind. Like others have said, my infestation happened after I freshly painted my bedroom and they appeared only in that room. I almost went mad as I’m very sensitive to bugs. They were everywhere! Surfaces, outlets in the wall, desk drawers, books, my bed frame (ugh)….. I read and researched and found that controlling humidity was the number one culprit. As well as air circulation. My house has central air but the specific room this happened in always had issue with airflow and humidity.
So here’s what I did: I bought a humidity meter and a dehumidifier and installed a window air conditioner in that room as well and ran the ceiling fan. I was always a fastidious cleaning nut but began to clean and dust and purge (paper boxes, documents, books…I stuck anything I could in large ziploc bags) I did this almost daily and then utilized the humidity meter, ceiling fan, dehumidifier and AC. I made sure to put in hanging humidity absorbers in my closet (that recharge plugging into the wall as the other humidity absorbers for closets are messy). I bought in bulk humidity packets (silica gel) the ones you usually find in shoe boxes) and put them in every drawer. This sounds like a lot of work but it wasn’t. Maybe because it was just one room. Keeping the air flow going, keeping the humidity level below 30 the first few days and then below 50 ever since, irradiated the little nuisance bugs very fast. Almost overnight. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen one (on a suede handbag in the closet) and an entire year now passed without a single sighting – and believe me, I look everyday because I was so traumatized two years ago.
In summary, increase air circulation, keep humidity at or below 50, dust and clean regularly, keep paper goods on check…..and the huge issues with these bugs will disappear almost overnight.
This is the most reassuring thing I have ever read I think. Book lice have literally taken over our lives for 3 years. Can not get rid of them and the problem is throughout the house. Besides my husband people think I’m completely over reacting…. If I had 3 wishes , after my family being forever healthy and safe, it would be never to see a book lice again. And carpet beetles… We’ve had them often too!!
I’m so pleased Iv found this page, I live in the uk and Iv been driving myself mad with this for nearly two years now. Just moved to a two year old property which is immaculate and guess what- they are here as well :( I find that when I’m tired and anxious, I worry more about them, on my hands and knees for hours at a time trying to see them on the walls. Feel like I’m going mad. And then when I do see them, my anxiety gets worse. It’s just a vicious circle. 😪
In a study done in North Carolina, entomologists found book lice in 98% of homes. I am guessing that in 2% of homes they were just better at hiding:
I’m sure that this will be a small comfort for some of the people who have posted here, but I’m going to share your link anyway because it’s good to know that everyone has at least some of them and their presence is no comment on your housekeeping or lifestyle or anything else personal. I hope it doesn’t make things worse for those of you who are freaked out about the booklice in your homes!
Like many others on here I was looking up booklice online because I’m dealing with a lot more of them lately than I would like to. I think it’s pretty great that people are still active in the comment section of this older post.
I first noticed the booklice (or Staubläuse how they’re called in German, “dust lice”) a week or so ago, and been feeling increased panic ever since. Frantically looking up and down my walls, and sadly finding new ones every day. For the most part in a room of my apartment that I don’t really live in, I use it mainly for storage and to dry my laundry, which probably is partially responsible for the higher humidity levels in there, but I have nowhere else to hang my laundry sadly. Generally the humidity in my apartment is pretty high, and I guess I have to get a dehumidifier to change something about that. I already threw out one plant and will throw out another one too, because I’m scared they might contribute to the humidity too.
I’m beginning to feel absolutely crazy and also kind of “unsafe” in my own apartment. Reading the post and so many comments definitely made me feel a bit better, to know that I’m not the only one struggling with this.
I would like to ask about your experience at the vet with mites.. I, too, have a “freakish way of seeing very tiny things”.. Some people think I’m crazy until I give them a magnifying glass & they see I am NOT crazy, lol…
I had a litter of pups at the beginning of July 2016 & when they were 3 days old, 3 of them had scabs on their chest. I freaked out, thinking fleas. Momma dog wasn’t able to have a topical for flea prevention while she was pregnant or nursing. (i cant stand putting pesticide on my dogs, but due to stray/feral cats, my neighbor has, constantly coming into my back yard, I really have no other choice.) After week lost due to very little sleep cleaning everything, I realized there were no fleas.. Still itchy dogs.. I found tiny white insects on Momma, and a few on one pup when they were around 3 weeks.. I have come to the conclusion it is some sort of lice, (which is how I found this post) but everything I look up says dog lice is brown.. Is it the “walking dandruff” mite? Or cat louse, I’m not sure. The vet keeps using a flea comb& keeps saying “it’s skin flakes”… OF COURSE it is! Something is chewing at the skin, causing lesions.. Whats worse is they are “chewing” at my daughter and I. Then I keep hearing “cat lice won’t get on a dog”. I beg to differ. If a parasite is hungry, it will do what it has to to survive.
Sorry for the very delayed response, and I really hope you’ve got this worked out by now. I will say that I had to keep bugging my vet about checking for mites, as in I was flat out arguing with him about doing the test. What ultimately worked for me was saying, “Look, what harm is the skin scraping going to do? If I’m wrong, you’ll have made money off a worthless test that does no harm to my pet. If I’m right, then we’ll know how to treat it.” I practically had to beg him to do the test and I refused to back down. Good thing too because my hedgehog had a massive infestation! He was so much happier after he got the medicated shampoo we needed to take care of the problem. If your vet isn’t listening to you, perhaps try another vet. The test for mites is literally scraping a microscope slide across their skin and looking at it under a microscope. It’s harmless and cheap, so there’s just no reason for their refusing to do it.
We moved into a house last year that we didn’t know had a leaking roof and had laid empty for 3 years. I first noticed these bugs in the kitchen and thought it was storage cupboard bugs until we investigated a bit further. They are all over the house and according to the pest control man we have had they are now in the cavity of the walls so will be very hard to get rid of completely.
This has been going on since June this year and we are still experiencing them on almost on every room. Like a lot of people on here it has really affected my life and my mental health. I have a baby who has just turned one and when I found them in his room it really sent me over the edge. I have now been put on anti depressants. It has really affected my relationship with my husband also. People just don’t seem to get how much these things can take over your life. All I seem to do is clean and look about the house for them. I have taken a few tips from people on here so I glad I have found this blog.
I just hope with the winter months coming in that things will die down so that I can get my self together and hopefully try to except that these things might to here to stay. Failing That I need to sell my house as I don’t no how much I can take anymore. Feel this is taking over my life.
i was wondering (and i read through the comments already to be sure no one’s asked this), if they can move WITH you to another home. i am NOT cool with them. sorry to those who are cool with them. we are going to be moving (not because of the booklice per se) and wondering if they can move with us and infest the new home. let’s pretend the new home doesn’t have even one single booklice. can the ones from this home come with us and just proliferate there?
Yes these booklice can transfer via the things that you are taking along to the new home. I know because I lived in humid Hong Kong where these pest are common. People there just fumigate their homes like twice a year and use dehumidifier. Lived in a new apartment and after one year the infestation started because of high humidity and poor air flow (no window in the bathrooms,only vent fans). Booklice all over the walls and inside cupboards. Dehumidifier helped to control their number but we had to pay for higher electric bills,still worth it. I was pregnant when these issues happened and daily cleaning almost drove me to a breakdown. Pest control fumigations only worked temporarily and the book lice would returned. When my baby was 5 months old,we moved to a new apartment in China and I found some booklice in drawers after a few months,overall the number were a lot less. They die in winter months and only bother me in summer months. I guess it helped that the apartment air flow was better and maybe that’s why the numbers were less. I then moved to Belgium and weather was a lot colder and dryer in winter. It helped to reduce these pest and I only do see a few once a while on cards above fireplace and sometimes in a book. I try to reduce humidity in the house by airing out bathrooms after every shower. Room windows were left opened during daytime. Increased air circulation. But if your infestation is in huge numbers, definitely use the dehumidifier to control the situation and fix whatever water leakage/mold problems in the house. Recently we moved to humid Singapore and unfortunately, we rented a 2-year old apartment that’s already been infested with book lice everywhere. Only noticed it on the day we were to move in. We were lucky as the landlord agreed to cancel our lease contract but we had to pay one month rent penalty. I am here because this just happened 2 days ago.
I am Mei, the last person that commented here. Just an update, a friend told me about this product Insecticidal Shelf and Drawer Liner – “No Bugs M’Lady” and “Bug Kill.” I have lined wardrobes, cupboards, drawers, under the kitchen sink with this paper and then put a clear book wrap plastic on it before I stack in books or clothes etc. to prevent contact with the pesticide. Since then, I don’t see any booklice in those places in two years. I still see some on the walls but they don’t bother me too much, I’ll vacuum them now and then or just press them away with a tissue. Maybe can line the wall skirting too. Just to share as this has helped me a lot. May the odds be ever in your favour.