Booklice are small insects which love moisture. In general, they need to live where humidity is high or moisture is present. Common places for booklice populations to thrive include window sills, under outside siding of homes, tree trunks, shrubs, flowers, around garden hoses, under bricks and rocks, around light fixtures and under boxes. However, some species will readily live in books, book cases, attics and crawl spaces. As stated above, there are many families and species of this insect and the science community has not quite come to a concise conclusion about how to group and name all that are included. Some appear to have specific moisture requirements and others do not. At the same time some seem to be food specific and others do not. To make matters more confusing, it appears that booklices are able to change their dietary needs as food availability changes. One thing is for sure: If you have booklices active in or around your home – expect them to prosper and keep coming back unless the conditions which they seek are changed.
BOOKLICE LIFE CYCLE
Booklice hatch from eggs in about 2-4 weeks after the eggs are laid. Young will go through about 2-4 nymphal stages to reach adulthood which takes another 2-3 months. Once mature, females can generate 50-100 eggs during her life and as an adult she would expect to live 1-4 months. Most populations will produce 2-3 generations per year but there could be a lot more if conditions are just right. Booklice are able to adapt to their environment which will dictate just how fast they reproduce. In general, the more moisture and the more moderate the temperatures (50 -80 degrees) the more they will prosper. Cold weather (below 35 degrees) will kill off adults but eggs will live ready to hatch as soon as local temperatures get back to where they are comfortable.
WHAT BOOKLICE EAT
Booklice will eat just about anything. Though most people think they eat books or paper, in fact booklices can thrive on a wide range of food. Such food includes cellulose (paper or books), book bindings, fabric (from which many book bindings are constructed), glue (the glue that binds most books has many natural components), any type of grain, mold, mildew, algae, fungus and other plant life. The fact that booklices will readily live in books is the same reason they will readily live on trees: the presence of both cellulose (paper is made from wood) and fungus or algae. Algae or fungus will readily grow in damp dark places inside homes but it also thrives outside. It is here where local booklice populations will begin to accrue.
BOOKLICE IN THE HOME
Once established alongside homes, they will commonly find adequate food supplies up underneath any type of siding on homes. From there they commonly find window sills to be great food areas as well as outside light fixtures, outlets, door frames, etc. The author has seen them thrive on just about any perimeter location of any structure which gets wet during rain or irrigation. Such areas have a tendency to harbor moisture and this harboring is what enables fungus and algae to grow. Once this growth starts booklices will soon follow.
The good news about booklices is that they are slow eaters. This means that damage from local populations is usually minor unless populations go unchecked for long periods of time. However, booklices are both annoying and persistent so most people don’t want them around. Fortunately, they are easy to kill and with the right products being used it is easy to manage or eliminate any activity in or around the home.
So before you treat, there may be some maintenance needed in areas where activity is noted.
WHAT TO DO BEFORE TREATING BOOKLICE
1) Mold, algae and fungus removal will help slow up booklices. Remember, this is a key food item for booklices so by cleaning away and removing that which they eat will cut down on their reproduction.
2) Reduce moisture in such areas. Though it is hard to stop rain from accumulating on window sills and other areas of the home, any attempt to channel water away and off structures will help to cut down on just how much fungus, mold and mildew can grow. By cutting down on this growth you will be able to cut down on booklice activity. If you are not sure of current moisture levels, get one of our HUMIDITY MONITORS. This portable device is an excellent tool for monitoring moisture in rooms and any area where pests like psosids are present.
Humidity Monitor: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/temp-vents/therm-humidity-monitor
3) Once mold, mildew and fungus has been cleaned away and moisture levels have been reduced, consider sealing any apparent cracks or seams through which booklices may be entering or living. IT IS VITAL THAT MOLD, MILDEW, FUNGUS AND BOOKLICES ARE ALL TREATED BEFORE YOU SEAL. If you start to seal cracks without first addressing why they are wet, you may only be making a bad situation a lot worse. This will happen when moisture is sealed into siding and wall voids – a condition which many homeowners create when they randomly caulk. The rule is simple: Seal cracks and crevices only when you have first cleaned them out, treated them with one of the insecticides we will have listed below and are sure the moisture source has been addressed and that once sealed, it won’t get wet again.
GET RID OF BOOKLICE BY REMOVING THEIR FOOD
Treating the mold, mildew and fungus is the first part of controlling booklices. Once local populations have been identified, use a product like ROUGH’N READY. This product is easy to use and will kill off all mold, mildew and fungus on which the booklices live. Use a rag to wipe down window sills and other small areas but if you have a large area to treat, use one of our PUMP SPRAYERS to get fast and rapid coverage. Be sure to wipe the product all around insuring complete coverage any where booklices have been seen. This product should be used on siding, window frames and sills, around door frames and anywhere moisture is a problem. Booklice which are thriving in books or other dry areas won’t require such treatments; as stated above there are several species of booklices and several are able to live where mold and mildew are not present.
Rough’n Ready: http://www.bugspraycart.com/sanitizer/liquid/rough-and-ready
Eliminator Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/equipment/sprayers/eliminator-gallon-sprayer
BOOKLICE CONTROL AEROSOL
Once you have adequately reduced the mold, mildew and fungus on which booklices live, you have three types of treatment options. The one you choose should be made based on the type of surface being treated. If you have small areas to treat like a window sill or two, PT-565XLO will offer quick knockdown and ease of use. Because it is an aerosol, it won’t make a mess or require any time to dry. When used right it will go on dry and yet work immediately. PT-565XLO can be used on all books, record albums and any type of document or fabric as well.
Again, proper applications will not damage the treated surface nor will it cause discolorations or any “wet or oily” film to be left behind. It doesn’t take much of this product to get good coverage and the more sensitive the treated surface, the less you should use. Remember, this product is for small areas and may require treatments every few days. This is because the active ingredient, Pyrethrin, offers no residual. In other words, it will only kill when it is being applied. Within an hour or so all the active ingredient will have broken down and be gone. For this reason you will probably have to make several applications if you want to get rid of all booklices since the treatment will only kill exposed or hatched insects. It won’t do anything for eggs so it is best to schedule at least weekly treatments for 1-2 months to insure you have broken the cycle altogether.
For areas where you can use a long lasting residual, go with the slightly stronger formulation called CYKICK AEROSOL. This product has all the same qualities as the 565 with the one big difference in length of residual. This aerosol uses Cyfluthrin which will last 2 or more weeks per application. The advantage to this is simple: Less frequency of applications and less product needed. It too can be applied over surfaces like fabric and books without causing treated surfaces to discolor or get wet. Be sure to lightly apply it since a little is all that is needed when treating. The only draw back to this product over the PT-565 is that it will not flush the booklices. Since they will have to walk over treated surfaces to pick up a lethal dose it is imperative that you treat as many of the cracks and crevices in which the booklices may be hiding. Only then can you be sure to have proper coverage otherwise you risk reinfestation. One way to avoid this is to first apply the Cykick thoroughly and then followup with the PT-565XLO. The 565XLO will flush the booklices out of where ever they are hiding since they don’t like this product which in turn will cause them to walk over the surfaces treated with the Cykick which will then insure they die. This 1-2 punch is sometimes needed when you have a large area to treat which involves a lot of cracks and crevices.
BOOKLICE LIQUID SPRAY
If you have large areas to treat like the side of walls, the house exterior, trees, shrubs, etc, the use of an aerosol product is not practical or efficient. For these areas it makes a lot more sense to use some type of liquid residual like PT-CYKICK CS. This odorless concentrate mixes with water and is applied with a PUMP SPRAYER over surfaces on which you have seen activity. It will provide both a quick knockdown and a long residual keeping hatching booklice eggs from thriving. PT-Cykick can be applied over the siding of homes, around windows, on trees and plants and just about anywhere booklice activity has been found. The advantage of this product over the aerosols is that you can do large applications quickly and your work will reward you with long residual. Remember, PT-565XLO will not provide any residual. Applications kill only when applied and immediately dissipate. The Baygon will last at least 1-2 weeks per application and if this isn’t long enough, use PT-Cykick since applications made with this product will last over a month. Remember, it uses water as the carrier so this product is not recommended to apply over books or other sensitive objects. Use the aerosol for such applications.
TREAT FOR BOOKLICE ALL YEAR LONG
Once you decide on which product to use remember to stay with it and make applications throughout the season as needed. Generally speaking, infestations which are located outside will be active in the warm months and go dormant if you have a winter. For the southern most states, it is not uncommon to have activity year round. Most of these outside applications should be done with PT-Cykick CS. If you have found booklices in the home or building and have decided to use one of the Aerosols, expect to do several treatments since these applications will not last as long. Aerosols by nature will break down much faster than the liquid treatment and in fact the PT 565 XLO provides no residual. If using PT 565 XLO you will need to do treatments at least once a week if not more until all eggs have hatched and the cycle has been broke. The Cykick Aerosol will last longer and should provide 1-2 weeks between applications which will reduce the amount of work you need to do.
Booklice can be a persistent and annoying pest in and around the home. Though they don’t bite, their chewing mouth parts can cause a lot of damage to fabric, books, wallpaper and other inanimate objects around the home which are valuable. Reduce moisture levels to deter nesting and seal cracks and crevices where booklices may be entering for long term protection. Treat with any of the products listed above for immediate control and elimination.
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