Iowa Insect Information Notes

Psocids, Booklice, Barklice

Psocids, Booklice, Barklice

Psocids are not lice and the nicknames for these insects are misleading. They do not even look like lice except for their very small size.

Psocids are very common and abundant insects, but because of their tiny size, they generally go unnoticed. Also, they normally live outdoors in damp places, such as under bark, in grass, leaves and on damp wood. However, they may become household pests by flourishing in damp areas of house basements and crawl spaces.

Psocids feed on microscopic molds and fungi and hence are most numerous in damp, warm, undisturbed situations. They are harmless and do not cause any destruction. Further, they cannot bite or sting and are pests only by being present.

Since booklice are generally restricted to rather humid habitats, one means of obtaining control is to correct moisture and high humidity problems. Any procedures which can be carried out so that moist places of concealment are eliminated will very likely be of value in controlling these pests. Residual sprays can be applied to surfaces where the insects frequent. These should be applied very lightly only to areas of booklice abundance where exposure to people and pets will be minimal. For more information on insecticides please see "Insecticides for Indoor Use."

Updated 07/14/2005 - 2:30pm