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Help- psocids/book lice!

(14 Posts)
itsonlysubterfuge Sat 08-Aug-15 12:45:03

I have psocids, also called book lice in my precious books. I have them in other places, as well. It's this horrible flat, there is mould everywhere. I constantly clean, we have an expensive dehumidifier that runs constantly and lives in the bathroom, which is the most moist place in the house.

I know how to get rid of them from the walls and other washable items, but it's my books I don't know how it get them out of. I've already thrown out loads of books and other things, but some of the other books are expensive or loved and I really can't don't want to part with them.

Does anyone have any tips, tricks, information, anything on helping with these disgusting bugs? We are hoping to move by the end of the year and we also don't want to bring the problem with us and will probably end up throwing most of our stuff out because it's either mouldy or infested.

itsonlysubterfuge Sun 09-Aug-15 08:55:54


No one else ever have this problem?

Northernlurker Sun 09-Aug-15 09:00:36

Never heard of them but is putting them in a sealed plastic bag then putting that in the freezer an option at all?

Northernlurker Sun 09-Aug-15 09:01:59

Apparently they don't do well in dry heat. Do you have an airing cupboard? I would put them in there.

itsonlysubterfuge Sun 09-Aug-15 09:34:28

No airing cupboard, we don't have dry heat anywhere. Plus heat can destroy the glue binding. I've thought about just microwaving them, but am not sure about the bindings.

The problem with the freezer is how long to leave them in for because the freezer can actually add moisture, making the problems worse when you bring them out.

I've done research, but it hasn't really been that forthcoming, so I was hoping someone else had experience.

Thank you for your suggestions though.

chemenger Sun 09-Aug-15 09:40:49

Seal them in a ziplock bag, get rid of as much air as possible, then freeze. No moisture can get in then. Before doing this I would be tempted to put the books in the smallest enclosable area you have with the dehumidifier for a couple of days to get them as dry as possible. Maybe freeze one book that you're not too fussed about first.

QuiteQuietly Sun 09-Aug-15 12:53:03

If you want to keep the books (and especially if you have nice ones) you need to fumigate. Don't just treat/freeze a few of the books - it's like only sorting out one child's headlice. Either you burn everything you own and move house or you treat everything at once. Book lice also live in wallpaper and some laminate furniture. I don't think you can buy treatment bombs in the UK - you seal up the house/flat and detonate fume bombs on a timer and come back 24 hours later, I've used them abroad. I get a man in once a year (I run a secondhand book business) on a just-in-case basis. Ring round local pest control companies.

itsonlysubterfuge Sun 09-Aug-15 13:36:00

I have a lot of books and other things sealed in boxes, would we have to open up all the boxes before we fumigate? Also, we have a DD and I worry about all the chemicals being dangerous to her.

I read about fumigating and they said that not all chemicals work with book lice because they are so tiny and can hide away from the chemicals, especially their eggs are less susceptible. They said the most effective chemicals are the oil based ones, but then you are left with an oil residue on everything. I have bought some diatomaceous earth in a spray can because I know it's extremely effective, but the idea of going through my 1,000's of books a page at a time with the spray and then having to wipe all the dust off is more than a little daunting. Plus the diatomaceous earth could alter and damage some of the pages, particularly the ones where pictures are important.

If only we could just burn everything and leave. I will look into pest control more thoroughly. Thank you for your suggestions.

QuiteQuietly Mon 10-Aug-15 12:54:25

That's why you pay a professional to do a proper job - they should use the right stuff and if it doesn't work, they come back and do a proper job. I stay out of the premises for 48 hours but probably less for a smaller, domestic property. The kids come to work with me so it has to be safe for them and also other staff. Spraying books individually is ludicrous - you will be v unlikely to get the whole lot done in one go. And what about wallpaper, furniture etc.? Call a professional and decamp to a travelodge for a day or two.

girlandboy Mon 10-Aug-15 21:35:51

I can only add that we had the lice problem at work in the Technical Records dept.
A company came in and inflated a big bubble type thing, we loaded in all the books and documents, and they then fumigated the contents in the bubble.
But this was in an aircraft hangar and we didn't have wallpaper etc to deal with. They did just seem to be in the paperwork.
Maybe there are companies that do this on a smaller scale?

PigletJohn Mon 10-Aug-15 22:49:56

with moths, one of the things is to seal your clothes in those plastic storage crates with a tight-fitting lid, and a moth-killing hanger in each. The moth hangers contain Transfluthrin, which kills moth eggs, grubs and adults. I don't know if it works on book lice, but I believe it is used on other agricultural pests. If not perhaps there is another insecticide.

The crates confine the insecticide vapour so it is concentrated inside and is not wafting around your home, and prevents adults flying in to reinfest the contents with more eggs. They continue emitting vapour on slow-release for several months. The cartridges are small and the vapour breaks down in sunlight and rain and disperses in fresh air, so the treatment is designed to be used in closed containers such as wardrobes without filling the entire room.

I'm thinking you could at least pack up your books and stack the crates ready for your move and while you arrange other treatment.

If your home is damp, how to you ventilate it, especially the bathroom? Do you have wet washing inside?

itsonlysubterfuge Mon 10-Aug-15 23:12:18

Yes, our house is damp. Nearly every room has a vent in it, but it's covered with organza, which should be enough to let some of the moisture escape. We run a dehumidifier day and night, it's always running, it's normally in the bathroom. We have a condensing dryer and do not hang wet washing inside. We can't open windows/external doors in our house due to my husbands extreme fear of bugs/spiders.

Our dehumidifier is classified for use in a four bedroom house and we only have a small two bedroom flat, it should be more than adequate. I honestly think it's just this horrible flat. It might be a problem we always have due to our set of abnormal circumstances, but when we lived in my PiL's house we never had the windows open either and didn't have a problem with mould or bugs.

I know the root problem is the mould, but we are going to have that problem as long as we are living here. What I'm hoping to do is a big clean, throw away everything I can that isn't precious or expensive. Clean all the mould I can with bleach, call an exterminator and try to sort the bug problem. Then move shortly after.

DustBunnyFarmer Mon 10-Aug-15 23:18:50

We had a mouldy flat many years ago and booklice - I'd never seen them before and took some in a sample pot to the council for identification. We never got round to doing anything about it, but moved somewhere drier within the year and I've never seen one since. They used to live in our books, in between the dining room table leaves, everywhere. It was such a damp flat I had to throw out my beloved, indestructible Doc Martens as they grew a green mould bloom between wearings. It was awful. You don't say whether you are renting or own your flat - I'd be inclined to just move a.s.a.p. if you are renting.

princethr Thu 05-Jan-17 20:03:48

Now as it happened already so what you can do only is find some ways to Get Rid of Booklice . And i feel sorry for your books.

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