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Booklice (Various spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Booklice.

 Updated: 5/9/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




Booklice are white and tiny, but they are not a threat to people like the blood-sucking enemy of animals that are often associated with the word 'lice'.



Booklice are a type of chewing lice, not sucking lice, which means they are not at all interested in humans or other animals. This type of louse feeds on fungi and mold, which can exist in very old, musty libraries where they were often found. Booklice commonly live in large groups, which can be alarming, but aside from being a nuisance, they are not a threat to people, grains, fabric, or furniture unless those things are moldy. The body of a Book Louse may be white or pale brown, depending on the species, and it has a single dark spot by the tip of the abdomen where one would expect an anus. The antennae are straight, long and wispy, reaching out at 45 degree angles from the head. A double neck collar connects the head to the oblong abdomen.

Booklice also cause initial alarm because they look similar to other undesirable pests like bed bugs and young termites. Bed bugs are a much darker brown with dark stomachs, and have very short antennae. Young termites are slightly larger than Booklice, and have a round, spherical head, a single neck collar, and an elongated abdomen. Young termites also have two small, short 'tails' that stick out from the end of the abdomen. Booklice do not have these protrusions.

If seen outsides, Booklice are in their element. If found indoors, there is comfort knowing that they will not harm anyone or anything, and that their presence is likely the most annoying thing about them.
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Psocoptera
        Family: Liposcelididae
          Genus: Various
            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Various spp.
Category: Chewing Lice
Size (Adult; Length): 0.5mm to 1mm (0.02in to 0.04in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: white, brown
Descriptors: small, white, two necks, round body, straight antennae, brown butt, anus, bed bug, termite, harmless
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
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Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
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Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.