Booklice or psocids are members of an order of insects called Psocoptera which probably belong to the species Liposcelis bostrychophilus.

They are minute, soft-bodied, transparent to greyish-white insects about 1mbooklicem to 4 mm long, usually wingless, and may go unnoticed. They undergo incomplete development lifecycle or incomplete metamorphosis. They feed on organic material such as, algae, fungi, pollen and decaying plant. They also have known to be attracted to high humidity.

Booklice, also known as paper lice, may crawl in large numbers over stored papers, books, walls, furniture, and other materials in damp, warm, undisturbed areas in buildings. Sometimes they are found in newly-constructed dwellings containing uncured green lumber or plastered walls.

They feed on microscopic moulds, fungi, dead insect fragments, pollen, and other starchy foods found in humid environments such as houses, warehouses, libraries, and structures where timber is stored or used. Sweating and high humidity may form in wall voids when new timber becomes enclosed, encouraging booklouse outbreaks. Damp basements, crawl spaces, leaky and sweating plumbing, potted house plants, cereal, flour, bird nests, furniture stuffing of natural plant fibre, paste on book bindings, grains, and wallpaper, may harbour booklice.

Booklice are not lice at all. They are not parasitic or vector on anything. They are not pests of humans or animals and seem to be harmless. However, skin irritation may occur on some sensitive individuals.

Outdoor species are called barklice since they are found under tree bark or leaves. However, their habitat and morphology have some differences. Barklice have wings and their normal habitat is on trees.

 

CONTROL MEASURES

Ventilate the house or infested area with fresh air. Lower the relative humidity in rooms and buildings to less than 50 percent.Limit usage of air-conditioner. It is much better to use the fan.Place a few units of dehumidifier at infested areas.Repair any leakage inside the house.Use a vacuum cleaner with proper attachments to remove debris from cracks and corners of storage areas.Clean up spilled food stuffs such as cereals, and flour. Foods stored for six months or more sometimes become infested especially in damp, dark, warm and undisturbed habitats.