Whether it's an overturned trash can, droppings on the counter or stained bed sheets, many common pests leave behind clues that make it easy to spot an infestation. From there, you can quickly call a pest removal specialist and sort out the problem with as little hassle as possible. Other creatures, however, do a much better job of staying hidden, and that means a pest problem can go on for weeks or months undetected.
The aptly named booklouse, for example, is so good at hiding out that it can sustain itself completely on old books. So unless you stay vigilant, these insects can comfortably survive in your home. Here's what you need to know about booklice:
What is a booklouse?
Psocids, known colloquially as booklice, are among the most primitive types of insect on the planet. North Carolina State University explained that there are 245 species of psocids in North America alone, and worldwide there are roughly 3,200 individual species in this family. These bugs are so ubiquitous in part because they have such a simple food source. Not true lice, the animals feed on fungus or mold. In the wild, the insects feast on natural growth found on trees, bushes or rocks.
When given the opportunity, however, booklice will forgo an outdoor meal and instead make a living inside feeding on everything from glue and cardboard to household molds. Because old books can be a breeding ground for mold, the bugs can subsist on a stack of neglected novels. For that reason, these animals can happily survive in your basement or attic, slowly eating away at precious family heirlooms or artifacts. Fortunately, the Department of Entomology at Pennsylvania State University reported that damage around the home is usually minimal because these insects are remarkably small.
Individuals are just a few millimeters long, and are usually a translucent white or gray color. Like other insects, booklice breed very quickly, with a lifecycle not much longer than a month. In response to colder conditions, however, female booklice will layer fewer eggs that take longer to reach maturity. This adaptability helps the insects be such effective pests.
What risks do they pose?
Fortunately for homeowners, booklice usually cause a negligible amount of damage, and aren't known to transmit disease or bacteria. That said, these bugs can form large clusters and can be an unwelcome home intruder nonetheless.
Booklice also have a taste for grains and the sort of cardboard boxes used in food packaging. You may find that instead of feasting on an old library, a booklice infestation instead has concentrated on your pantry. This can spoil your food. Penn State reported that females will often hide their eggs, so simply taking care of adults may not be enough to stop an outbreak of booklice.
What should I do?
If you do come across these little insects, there are a few steps to take to eradicate the problem on your own. Invasive bugs of all types are attracted to water, so start by fixing any leaking pipes.
Next, use a dehumidifier to keep an infected area at about 50 percent humidity. Especially in the winter when bugs like booklice are trying to escape the elements, this will make things much less comfortable.
In terms of prevention, keeping things as clean as possible is essential. This means regularly vacuuming and dusting, even in places like a basement. Be sure to throw out stacks of old paperwork or newspaper, and store any valuables in plastic bags or bins. You may also benefit from keeping pantry goods in sealable containers as well.
You probably already know that most people are repulsed by the simple sight of cockroaches. If you are personally dealing with a cockroach infestation, the feelings of disgust are probably even more intense. Unfortunately, the cold winter weather tends to be one of the reasons this pest ends up in your home in the first place, according to Any Pest. While you may know that you don't want to share your home with cockroaches this winter, there are a number of interesting facts about this pest that you've probably never heard.
Because of the high amount of traffic and the versatility of the facilities, pests are naturally attracted to long-term care institutions. Many nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and other care facilities include on-site kitchens and cafeterias as well as private rooms and common spaces. All of these places are susceptible to attracting pests because of the presence of food, water and viable habitats.
During the summer months, some people love to go camping with family and friends. Yet this fun trip can be ruined with a few unwanted visitors, most notably different types of bugs. Crawling spiders, hungry mosquitoes and buzzing flies can become annoying quickly. How can you avoid these pests when you're outdoors? Consider these tips to keep bugs out of your campsite.
Carpenter ants can chew through the strongest studs and stringers in a house as they hollow the wooden beams out for nesting. The resulting damage can weaken the home's structural support and require expensive repairs. Professional pest control workers can remove a colony of ants, but the best practice for homeowners is to learn the best ways to keep out an ant colony and prevent the problem before it begins.
As the weather cools, you'll probably see fewer pests than you did during the warmer months, but that doesn't mean they're all gone just yet. Some insects can actually come out in full force during the autumn, while others might seek refuge in your warm home. Here are some key tips to keep in mind as fall gets underway:
As the middle of summer approaches, you need to be vigilant about keeping your garden free of pests. Many insects breed during the summertime, which means they're on the lookout for great places to lay their eggs. For many bugs, that means near a source of food. In fact, some species of insects will lay their eggs inside budding vegetables and fruit so their larvae have something to eat as soon as they hatch. That's why you have to keep harmful bugs out without damaging the bugs that could help you, such as bumble bees.
You might have noticed that, with the exception of the kitchen, you find more pests in your bathroom than in the rest of your home. This is because insects and rodents see the bathroom as a convenient watering hole. Pests love leaky pipes and standing water because these offer them a hydrating oasis in the otherwise dry biome that is your house or apartment. And if your bathroom develops mold, all the better for pests, who may eat fungus or use it to lay their eggs.