Book lice are commonly found where large amounts of paper are stored, such as libraries, stationary stores and paper warehouse. They have also been found around some compressed building material such as chip board.


The adults are small 1 to 2 mm cream coloured, wingless insect readily seen moving over paper, and have a characteristic square shaped head.

Book lice generally feed on small fungal growths that develop on a wide variety of materials, particularly if they are damp, including glues, paper, books, woodwork, pressed pine, leather and plaster. They even feed on small cellulose particles. There is also a species that will breed in large number on stored products such as cereals, flour, oats and brans.

Book lice are a nuisance without causing any damage . They are thought to bite humans, but this has been difficult to prove.

Book Lice Life cycle

The adults lays her eggs singly. They are covered with a sticky substance and cling to the food surface. On hatching, the nymphs, which appear as miniature adults. After a number of moults, up to five, the mature adult stage is reached. Ideally, the life cycle may be completed in 3 to 4 weeks. Because of the short reproductive period, high populations may be reached quickly if they are left undisturbed.


Ventilation and drying largely control book lice as most populations are usually associated with high moisture levels.

If this fails spraying the back of cupboards and shelving with an insecticide will help keep the book lice numbers down. In some cases where book lice infestation is too large to treat, fumigation is the only method of treatment left. This should only be used as a last resort.

Don’t panic. We can offer you all treatment choices for pest control including, infestation detection, colony eradication, barrier treatments and baiting. We will explain to you the biology of termites and help you to understand the facts and fiction about termites before you commit to a long term protection program.