Booklice (also known as psocids) are tiny, wingless insects that are commonly found in homes, libraries, and other places where books and paper are stored. They are usually less than 1/16 inch (1.6 mm) long and are pale gray or brown in color. Despite their name, booklice are not actually lice and do not bite or transmit diseases.
Booklice feed on mold, fungi, and other organic matter found in books, papers, and other materials. They are often considered a nuisance pest, as they can damage books and papers if left unchecked. However, they are not harmful to humans or pets and can be easily controlled through proper cleaning and storage practices.
Booklice are common in Singapore, particularly in humid and warm environments. They can be found in homes, libraries, bookstores, and other places where books and paper are stored. In Singapore, booklice are also known as “kayapaya” or “paper lice” in Malay.
To control booklice in Singapore, it is important to maintain clean and dry storage areas for books and paper products. Regular cleaning and vacuuming can help to remove dust and other organic matter that can attract booklice. In addition, using a dehumidifier or air conditioner can help to reduce humidity levels, which can make the environment less favorable for booklice to thrive.
If booklice infestations are severe, professional pest control services may be necessary to eliminate the problem. It is important to use only licensed and reputable pest control companies to ensure the safety of people and pets in the area.
There are several ways to exterminate booklice:
1. Cleaning and vacuuming:
Booklice thrive in environments where there is plenty of organic matter to feed on. Regularly cleaning and vacuuming the affected areas can help to remove this food source and make the environment less hospitable for booklice. Pay particular attention to areas where books, paper, and cardboard are stored, and be sure to dispose of vacuum bags or canisters outside of the house to prevent reinfestation.
2. Reduce humidity:
Booklice prefer warm, humid environments. Using a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep the air dry can make the environment less favorable for booklice to thrive. Aim for a humidity level of around 50% or lower.
4. Heat treatment:
Heat treatment can be an effective way to kill booklice and their eggs. Place the infested items in a plastic bag and seal it tightly, then place it in direct sunlight or in an oven set to a temperature of at least 120°F (49°C) for several hours. It is important to note that some books or paper products may be damaged by high temperatures, so this method should be used with caution.
Freezing is another effective method for killing booklice and their eggs. Place the infested items in a plastic bag and freeze them for at least 72 hours. This method is less likely to damage books or paper products than heat treatment.
There are insecticides available that can be used to control booklice. However, it is important to use these products with caution and according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Non-toxic or low-toxic insecticides, such as diatomaceous earth or boric acid, can be effective for controlling booklice without posing a risk to people or pets. More toxic insecticides should be used only as a last resort and with great care, as they can be harmful if not used properly.
In addition to these methods, it is important to practice good storage and maintenance habits for books and paper products. Store books and papers in dry, well-ventilated areas, and avoid stacking them too tightly together. Avoid storing them directly on the floor or against exterior walls. Regularly inspect books and paper products for signs of booklice infestation, such as tiny brown or gray insects, and discard any infested items immediately to prevent the infestation from spreading.