The Jersey Journal reports that the Municipal Court of West New York (which is in New Jersey) was closed yesterday due to an infestation of “very tiny” bugs. They were at first thought to be bed bugs, and later thought to be booklice.
I say “thought to be” because apparently neither the pest control professional brought in to identify them, nor the city’s director of public health, was able to identify the bug conclusively:
Director of Public Health Vincent Rivelli described the bugs as “very tiny.” Originally, the bugs were thought to be bedbugs, but an exterminator from Hudson Exterminating Co. said the creatures are more likely booklice because of their size.
Uh, time to order bed bug identification training for pest control professionals and directors of public health!
Booklice are commonly mistaken for bed bug nymphs by people encountering both for the first time, but it does not take a lot of experience to tell the difference. You simply need to look at them close-up. But size alone is not the deciding factor!
The samples were sent to Rutgers to be identified by an entomologist.
This post compares a book louse photo from Bedbugger ltdan to a first instar nymph photo by Lou Sorkin and R. Mercurio. The shape of the bodies, not their size, is the obvious distinction between these two.
The article concludes,
While bedbugs, which can grow up to quarter-inch long, like to snuggle in mattresses and dark crevices and live off human blood, the smaller booklice like moist environments and favor a vegetarian diet of fungi and mold.
Of course booklice are a definite possibility, but actually, we hear courtrooms provide a very nice environment for bed bugs, with lots of stationary humans to feed on, and doubtless plenty of dark crevices.