Booklouse from California

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I have a bug ID request.  I live in California but this bug could be imported from somewhere else when I returned from travelling.  I started noticing a lot of bug bites while sleeping at home, after a multi-day trip out of town.  I suspected bedbugs but other than a couple of dots on the sheet I can’t find any of the usual bedbug signs.  I haven’t found a single large “typical” bedbug either.  I did however find this tiny guy in an isolator trap that I put underneath one leg of my bed.  Sorry for the poor photo, this guy is extremely small.  Even with a magnifying glass I couldn’t see his legs until I took a photograph and cropped it.

The usual bed cleaning process of cleaning all bedding and using a dryer on high heat, vacuuming the bed itself and surrounding area, applying steam directly to the bed, seams, bedframe, anywhere bugs might hide, and using diatomaceous earth dust seems to help for a day or two but then I start getting bit again.  Since I can’t find any “typical” bedbugs or signs of an infestation like shell debris or any actual bugs, I’m going a bit nuts trying to figure out what is biting me so I can effectively eradicate the infestation.  This bug is the only one I’ve even seen, even though at times I’m getting more than 10 bites per night and have been searching quite carefully.

Anyhow, I’m curious what this is and if it could be the culprit biting me.  Thanks!


Dear Sean,

In our opinion, this is a Booklouse and we do not believe it is not responsible for your bites.  You may compare your image to images posted to BugGuide (  According to the Texas A&M University entomology extension site (  “As a group, indoor psocids do little actual damage except when contaminating stored food, but their presence in large numbers can be very annoying. The name, “booklouse”, comes from some species’ association with books, especially in the days before air conditioning, when natural humidity in homes and libraries allowed more frequent growth of mildew on book bindings and pages. Psocids are thought to feed mostly on microscopic molds; however a variety of food items (both plant and animal origin) may be attacked. Indoor inhabiting species of booklice may feed on starched in book bindings, coated papers or wall paper, or the molds growing on starchy surfaces. They may also feed on dried fruits, animal feed, flours, oats and other grains, and cereals, especially if these are stored in damp locations.”


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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