Currently viewing the category: "Booklice and Barklice"

Please help identify
I have been searching the internet, trying to figure out what kind of bug this is. I know it’s some form of a true bug, but cannot pinpoint the species. Is it harmful to my trees, etc.? Thanks for any help you can provide.

These are Barklice, and they are in the order Psocoptera. They are not harmful to your trees. According to Eric Eaton, they probably feed on fungus spores which might make them beneficial to your tree.

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.”

Bugged in Seattle
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.
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.”

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

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.”

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.

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 the…
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.”