Booklice



Booklice belong to a group of insects collectively called psocids. The psocids are small, soft-bodied insects, most of which are less than one-eighth of an inch long. They are both winged and wingless. Psocids have chewing mouthparts.

The majority of psocids are outdoor species with well developed wings. They are most commonly found on bark or foliage of trees and shrubs. These psocids are frequently called "barklice." Most of the species found in buildings are wingless. Because they are often found among books or papers, they are called booklice. The term "lice" in the names is somewhat misleading because none of these insects are parasites and few of them have a louselike appearance. Psocids feed on molds, fungi, cereals, pollen, fragments of dead insects, or other similar materials. They cause little loss by actually eating foodstuffs since they do feed chiefly on mold. At times they may become extremely abundant and spread through an entire building. In such situations they may contaminate foods and materials to the point the goods must be discarded. Damage to books may be more direct. They eat the starch sizing in the bindings of books and along the edges of pages.

The eggs of psocids are laid singly or in clusters and are often covered with silken webs or debris. Most species pass through six nymphal stages. The entire life span from egg to adult is between thirty and sixty days.

Reduction of moisture to eliminate formation of mold is a very effective method for controlling booklice. Infested furniture, bedding, or other movable furnishings should be thoroughly cleaned and aired.

Source: ŠUniversity of Florida Cooperative Extension Service
Occasional invaders


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