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Guide to NC Pests

  • Booklice



    Adult booklice are quite small, ranging from 1/25 to 1/13 of an inch. Most booklice are found outdoors on or under the bark of trees and shrubs. Outdoor species are commonly referred to as barklice and are usually winged as adults. Species that frequently inhabit homes and other structures are wingless as adults, have extremely flattened bodies and are translucent white to gray in color. Booklice may also be referred to as psocids or "paper lice". However, they are not true lice and do not bite or transmit disease


    Biology and Behavior

    Interestingly, in some species of booklice, only females are present and immatures develop from unfertilized eggs, a process called parthenogenesis. Both male and females are present in some species. Females lay eggs which are either bare or encrusted and may sometimes be covered with webbing. Immature booklice, called "nymphs", look very similar to adults but are much smaller. There are four to six nymphal stages.

    Booklice feed primarily on microscopic fungi and mold. Therefore, they are most often found in damp, dark areas. Such places may include basements, crawlspaces, kitchens, leaky plumbing, unvented storage areas, and around over-watered houseplants. They may also show up in recently built homes where they entered during construction and were enclosed in a wall after siding and sheetrock were installed.