Currently viewing the category: "Booklice and Barklice"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What is this bug
We live in Fairhope Alabama. We spotted these clustered adult and nymph(?) insects and have been unable to identify them online. Can you help us out?
John and Melissa Pershina

Hi John and Melissa,
What a spectacular image of Barklice in the order Psocoptera, family Psocidae. The last time we posted an image Eric Eaton said they are: “also known as Tree Cattle, especially in the nymphal stage. Some species create webbing on the bark, but I have never heard of them becoming pests.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Bugged in Seattle
Hello,
These miniscule little buggers have infested my flour and grain boxes, getting into the new boxes of corn flour, wheat flour, and oatmeal within days of bringing them home. Also they liked to hid under the spice bottles, but didn’t seem to get inside any of them. They are 1mm long and look like ants under a 10X hand scope. Attached are photos, sorry they are not great, but they are tiny little rascals. What are these bugs? And more importantly, how do we get rid of them? Please find attached 10X microscope photos of the bugs mentioned below. I do not believe they are springtails, although you are right that they do resemble them. They are definately not immmature cockroaches, as they never get bigger than 1.0mm long. I have attached a photomicrograph of a springtail as well for direct comparison. These are one milimeter long and slightly less than 0.5mm across and resemble little ants. When disturbed they appear to fall on their backs and "play dead". At times they appear to "jump" but not very far 1-2cm, almost like a piece of small plastic being repelled by static electricity. We live in Seattle and they have attacked all our grains and interestingly, when I visited my parents in Ohio, they also had the same bugs in their oatmeal and grain boxes. Hope this additional info and photos help you to identify these bugs.
Cheers,
Kyle Horner

Hi again Kyle,
Thank you for sending the much improved images. These are Booklice, also known as Psocids. According to Hogue: “The most common [species] is the true Book Louse, Liposcelis bostrychophila, a cosmopolitan pset for the food industry, households, museums, and libraries.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Hi. These were crawling all over a silk sweater. What are we dealing with? Here’s another one we caught. (We froze the sweater.) This one is “undamaged”, but not very focused. These things are on the order of 100 microns wide
Thanks.

You have Booklice. According to Hogue they are known as book lice or paper lice: “becaues they are so commonly found scurrying over books and newspapers, especially those stored in damp cellars and garages.” He goes on to write that they are “a cosmopolitan pest for the food industry, households, museums and libraries.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

chilly bugs
Hey Bugman, these little critters were obviously chilly one morning. After the sun came out they were gone, then back the next morning. We are in West Tennessee. Don’t know where to look them up since we have no clue what they are. Thanks. As always, love your informative site.
Richard

Hi Richard,
We wrote to Eric Eaton for help identifying your aggregation. Here is his response: “Wow! Spectacular images of barklice, order Psocoptera, family Psocidae. Also known as “tree cattle,” especially in the nymphal stage. Some species create webbing on the bark, but I have never heard of them becoming pests. Pretty sure they feed on fungal spores and the like. Eric “

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

What the…
Hello,
I live on the Oregon coast in Coos Bay. We are beginning to find these little bugs all over our house. What are they and what can we do about them? Here it sits on tape next to a dime.
Richard Hinkel

Hi Richard,
We needed to turn to Eric Eaton for help and here is his response: “This is actually a booklouse, order Psocoptera, family Liposcelidae most likely. Neato. Just keep it away from my insect collection:-) Eric ” According to Audubon: “Book lice are wingless and sometimes infest houses, where they feed on the sizing, paste, and glue of book bindings.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Help! I have just found your website which I hope will be my saviour. I have a wee problem here in my flat in Edinburgh. This "problem" is a brown creepy crawly thing which seems to like catfood. Whenever I put the catfood back down on the floor for the cats these things seem to put in an appearance. They seem to be more nocturnal, appearing after dark, so that I find them only when I go into the kitchen at night – and there they are hoovering up the cat food that the messy little eaters have spilt on the floor (cats have no table manners!). There are loads of them and despite me cleaning the floor with bleach several times a week, they reappear with annoying regularity.
They are brown on top and whitish underneathand appear to be ridged making them look a bit maggoty. They have legs and can be various sizes – up to 2cm long. What are these things and more importantly how do I get rid of them. They must be "nesting" under the floorboards as there is nowhere else they can be coming from. I have tried moving the cats food to other parts of the kitchen but they always seem to find it. URGH!!! I am at my wits end and would like to get rid of these things before the poor cats go mad trying to work out where I have decided to put their food this time. I don’t think they enjoy this game very much! Your help and advice on how to eradicate these pests from my home PERMANENTLY would be hugely appreciated.
—Lesley

Dear Lesley,
From the time mankind has lived in caves, we have been annoyed by household pests. In his usual charming manner, Hogue writes in his chapter on household pests: "Unwelcome guests within our homes, stealing our food and wrecking our possessions, and sometimes repaying us with bites and stings–these are the insect pests. … A need for shelter, food, or a nesting place, attraction to lights, or perhaps the enticement of shade and food odors–and not a conscious desire to bother us–bring these guests to our door. In spite of screening, entry is easy for most insects: their small size permits them to squeeze through small cracks in the flooring, around baseboards, and under doors and through other imperfections in construction."
With that said Lesley, no matter what you do, you will have household intruders. Regarding the identification of your brown creepy crawly thing, I suspect pill bugs or sow bugs. They are not true insects, but rather members of the order Isopoda and the subphylum Crustacea. Pill bugs are so called because of their habit of rolling into a little ball. Sow bugs are generally larger and cannot roll themselves up into a ball. Sow bug can grow as large as 15mm. They are nocturnal, omniverous and can be very numerous, sometimes experiencing population explosions. They are generally found outdoors in the garden, but they will take refuge inside the home, especially when it is dry. I would guess that you feed your cats near a water source, and a leaking pipe with the resulting rotting wood, could well be the reason the ispods have taken up quarters in your flat. Because of their distasteful secretions, these isopods are eaten by few predators. A notable exception is the sow bug killer, a dysderid spider, Dysdera crocota.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination