Brown bug found in bedrooms & living areas
December 20, 2009
We have today found a great deal of these brown bugs in mainly our 3 carpeted bedrooms and also in our living areas, which have floor boards. We have had our house sprayed in the last 3 months and the majority of these bugs were dead, with a few still just alive. They have prominent black eyes on the sides of their heads and a black dot in the area where their mouth would be. They measure about 7 mm long and have 6 legs and their antelliers are approx 5 mm long. They are a medium brown colour.
I have been searching the internet to try and find out what type of bug they are, but as yet I haven’t been able to guess what they may be.
Thank you for your help.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Dear Grossed Out,
You have Book Lice or Psocids in the family Liposcelidae. Book Lice frequently infest homes where they are best known for feeding on the starch bindings of books. Your photos are very small with poor resolution, and upon posting the images to our site, we needed to enlarge them and the quality has degraded with visual noise. According to the South Cambridgeshire Government Website: “Psocids are harmless in small numbers and rarely cause damage by direct feeding. However, large number may cause damage to delicate materials such as books and fur. Signs of an infestation are holes and tunnels in which the insect hides plus a covering of white powdery material and salt crystals. They will contaminate raw, processed foods and infest items such as bagged nuts, chocolate, milk powder, cereals, sugar, flour to name just a few. Finished products may become infested in either warehouses, retail premises or the home.” According to the Texas A&M University Extension website: “Booklice, Liposcelis corredens Heymons, are very small (less than 1/16 in long), mobile, flesh-colored insects that share our homes and feed on microscopic molds, together with dried or decaying plant and animal materials. Often, they are noticed on starchy book bindings, photographs, wall paper, stored dry goods, or in the vicinity of these items. These insects may become particularly abundant in dark, damp places such as basements, storerooms, homes closed for the summer, and closets during the warmer periods of the year. As a group, booklice do little actual damage, except when contaminating stored food and food packaging material, but their presence in large numbers can be very annoying making control desirable. Although booklice are not true lice and never bite or live on animals, ancestral forms of these creatures are thought to have evolved into lice as a result of the long association between the host’s dwelling, the host, and these scavengers.
Management Total control of booklice in dwellings is not possible in many cases, such as in loosely constructed buildings. These insects can and will easily come in from outdoors, where they commonly occur. For control, clean the infested areas thoroughly, taking as many objects as possible outside and drying them in the sun on a bright day. Open the windows and doors, turn off any humidifiers and air the room thoroughly using a fan or dehumidifier. Occasionally, faulty air conditioner systems promote damp, humid conditions. These systems should be repaired If feasible, raise the room temperature. Since booklice are soft bodied insects, they dry out easily when exposed to heat and dry air. Locate breeding sites such as upholstered furniture, moldy wood, old mattresses, damp papers or books, etc and remove, treat or discard them. Also discard infested food or treat it by heating (place in oven at 180°F or for 30 minutes) or freezing (placing in freezer at 0°F for 4 days). Protect uninfested foods by using tight-sealing moisture-proof containers (refer to L-2046, “Pantry pests” for additional control in stored food).”
Correction courtesy of Doug Yanega
Subject: mistaken ID in WTB
November 13, 2012 6:29 pm
Hi, Dan. I just came across the link to this older (2009) article: 2009/12/20/book-lice-in-brisbane-australia/
The photo shows a small termite, not a booklouse. You might want to do something about this; I don’t know if the photo was submitted by the person who wrote the question, or added later. Either way, it’s not what it claims to be.
Signature: Doug Yanega