PSOCID's or booklice or dustlice
Facts about Psocids
- Psocids are common but harmless household pests.
- They can live in dry powdery type foods such as flour, sugar, semolina, etc., and can also be found in old books, carpets and other furnishings in the home (which is why they are sometime called Book or Dust lice).
- They feed on moulds and mildews.
- They are not caused by poor hygiene; they are just as common in the cleanest of homes.
- Research has shown that the sort of psocids found in homes are rarely found where food is produced, so they are unlikely to be brought in to the home in foods.
How can you identify a Psocid?
- See image of Psocid shown at the top of this factsheet.
- Smaller than a pin head.
- Have soft bodies which are white/ light grey/ light brown or even black in colour.
- Six legs.
- No wings.
- Long, developed antennae.
What causes them?
It is certain that they are associated with high humidity. This could be caused by new plaster drying out, or could be due to condensation from not having enough ventilation in the kitchen. There are many reasons but you can be sure that if you have psocids, you have humid conditions.
The kitchen is likely to provide the conditions they need, and fitted cupboards provide the darkness, which attracts them. With ideal conditions they can rapidly increase in number. In large numbers they can spread bacteria from one area to another. This can result in food and surface contamination.
Prevention and treatment
- Try to deny the conditions they need to survive and multiply.
- Always keep your dry foodstuffs, cereals etc in a cool, dry, well ventilated place.
- Clean out your cupboards regularly. If you use water, always make sure you cupboards are completely dry before you put the food back.
- When you are cooking, boiling the kettle, using the tumble drier etc make sure the kitchen is properly ventilated. If condensation shows on windows it is being produced on all other surfaces as well, leading to mould growth on which psocids thrive.
- Remove infested food and dispose of outside.
- Treat the affected area with a good household insecticide, which is suitable for use near food.
- Find the cause of humidity and cure it.
Note: please follow the instructions on pesticide containers carefully.
Service the council provides
We offer a free identification service. You will need to catch the insect, seal it securely in a clear plastic container labelled with your name, address and phone number.
You should then take it to: Environmental Health, Civic Centre, Darwall Street, Walsall, WS1 1TP.
Our qualified pest officers will identify it and let you know what it is.
Our pest control team do not deal with Psocids as they very rarely cause nuisance but
we can provide advice on how to deal with reoccurring infestations.
How to contact us
If you would like further advice or need to make a pest control appointment please contact us:
First Stop Shop
If you need help treating a psocids or booklice or dustlice infestation or have any further questions, contact us on 01922 653366. For householders these are free services.
For further information please view our psocids factsheet (PDF 67KB).
This page was last updated on 18 July 2016