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Please identify: Bed Bugs or Booklice? [a: not bed bugs; probably book lice]

(15 posts)
  1. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 18:40:49
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    Hi Bedbuggers,

    Thanks so much for helping me with this. I started to notice very small bugs on some of my books about 10 days ago. 2 days ago, I investigated and realized that they were on the tops and sides to a lot of my books. I saw 20-30 of them. I took these pictures (below), sorry they are not great.
    At first I thought they were only by my bookcase in the tv room, but today I noticed they were also in the bookcase in my bedroom as well as on a painting. I quickly moved it out my bedroom. I have not found anything weird in my bedding, save for a couple of yellowish stains on the sides.
    I'm praying the bugs are booklice. These pictures are very zoomed. The ones in my tv room were very small and mostly translucent, possibly a little brown. The ones in my bedroom were noticeably bigger, but still very small. I live on a 3rd floor of an apartment building.
    FYI: I recently traveled to europe 1 month ago. We had a bed bug scare there in one of our hotels, the bed we were in was infested with them. So I know what the adults look like. We thought we took all the necessary precautions (threw things away, washed and dried) etc. Neither of us have noticeable bites, a couple small things on our backs that might be bites.
    If someone could help me identify these I would be SO grateful. My boyfriend and I are freaking out.
    Thanks!

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  2. iamscared

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 19:53:44
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    Not an expert but this looks like booklice.

  3. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 20:09:56
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    I e-mailed these pictures to an exterminator and we talked on the phone. He said it's 100% not bed bugs. He thinks its termites, from the building. He says that book lice would be much smaller than what I'm describing (like a grain of sand, he said). He's coming tomorrow to inspect the whole building.

    Experts, do you agree with his diagnosis?

    best regards,

    :3

  4. Fatima87

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 21:22:23
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    All the pictures that you have posted look like book lice to me.

  5. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 22:23:46
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    I'll ask him tomorrow to consider "book lice" again. He seemed pretty confident they weren't. He mentioned a couple other things too that were possible but I don't remember.

    Does anyone feel strongly that these are book lice?

    Here's the big difference to me: Book lice seem like a much bigger issue. Because they actually live in the books, whereas termites leave to go back to the colony and once they are killed will not be left in my books. So, I am hoping they are termites!

  6. loubugs

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 22:26:06
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    Do you have your phone set for snapchat or something like that? Largest picture size and highest resolution pictures are needed if these have to be zoomed in -- your pictures do not allow anything but viewing. Also get as close as possible to the subject and still keep in focus.
    That said, the insects look like book lice not termites.

    Professional entomologist/arachnologist. I consult on all matters dealing with insects and arachnids, including those of natural history and biology to pest management and forensic entomology investigations.
  7. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 23:00:20
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    loubugs - 31 minutes ago  » 
    Do you have your phone set for snapchat or something like that? Largest picture size and highest resolution pictures are needed if these have to be zoomed in -- your pictures do not allow anything but viewing. Also get as close as possible to the subject and still keep in focus.
    That said, the insects look like book lice not termites.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Lou, I sure hope it's not book lice. I was relieved when he said this seemed too big.
    Do you think I should call another exterminator? He's already contacted the landlord about treating the building for termites. (their company has 4.2/5 stars on yelp, if that matters)

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    (sorry I don't have better pictures. I used regular iphone camera. Got it as close as I could. I just include this one for size reference)

    Thanks!

  8. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Mon Oct 31 2016 23:15:10
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    Hmm.. I'm beginning to not be so sure it's termites.

    Most of my books are new, tho. And it's not humid in my apartment. So book lice seems a weird choice. The size is right though, most of the bugs were about 1/16 of an inch!

  9. loubugs

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 11:32:07
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    ScaredChicagoRes - 12 hours ago  » 
    Hmm.. I'm beginning to not be so sure it's termites.
    Most of my books are new, tho. And it's not humid in my apartment. So book lice seems a weird choice. The size is right though, most of the bugs were about 1/16 of an inch!

    Doesn't have to be humid for book lice to be around. Remember RH varies within the entire building; can be higher RH within walls, under flooring, etc. And it doesn't really have to be HIGH to have book lice - regular room RH can be fine, but possible that larger population is elsewhere. They are not termites.

    "Do you think I should call another exterminator? He's already contacted the landlord about treating the building for termites. (their company has 4.2/5 stars on yelp, if that matters)"
    There are no termites from the evidence you provided. Doesn't matter if he's 4.2 out of 5. Incorrect ID is still incorrect ID and if he IDs these as termites, I would give him Zero out of 5. Why would he contact landlord about treating for termites? It shouldn't be based on these insects. There should be no termite treatment based on these insects.

  10. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 14:57:56
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    loubugs - 3 hours ago  » 

    ScaredChicagoRes - 12 hours ago  » 
    Hmm.. I'm beginning to not be so sure it's termites.
    Most of my books are new, tho. And it's not humid in my apartment. So book lice seems a weird choice. The size is right though, most of the bugs were about 1/16 of an inch!

    Doesn't have to be humid for book lice to be around. Remember RH varies within the entire building; can be higher RH within walls, under flooring, etc. And it doesn't really have to be HIGH to have book lice - regular room RH can be fine, but possible that larger population is elsewhere. They are not termites.
    "Do you think I should call another exterminator? He's already contacted the landlord about treating the building for termites. (their company has 4.2/5 stars on yelp, if that matters)"
    There are no termites from the evidence you provided. Doesn't matter if he's 4.2 out of 5. Incorrect ID is still incorrect ID and if he IDs these as termites, I would give him Zero out of 5. Why would he contact landlord about treating for termites? It shouldn't be based on these insects. There should be no termite treatment based on these insects.

    Thanks for the feedback Lou. The aforementioned exterminator is coming tomorrow to inspect further, so I will press him hard on this information.

    I realize this isn't bed bug related, but is this a possible solution: I buy a dehumidifier, I clean the space around the books. The internet says this will rid the area of book lice. But my question is this: do I still need to treat each book individually to kill the eggs (freezer, etc)? Or do they die on their own? The internet is a bit ambivalent about this point. Some sources suggest throwing away items that are heavily infested. Would that include my books.. if I found around 20 or 30?

    Thanks so much for your thoughts and help,

    -d

  11. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 15:48:03
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    ScaredChicagoRes - 49 minutes ago  » 

    loubugs - 3 hours ago  » 

    ScaredChicagoRes - 12 hours ago  » 
    Hmm.. I'm beginning to not be so sure it's termites.
    Most of my books are new, tho. And it's not humid in my apartment. So book lice seems a weird choice. The size is right though, most of the bugs were about 1/16 of an inch!

    Doesn't have to be humid for book lice to be around. Remember RH varies within the entire building; can be higher RH within walls, under flooring, etc. And it doesn't really have to be HIGH to have book lice - regular room RH can be fine, but possible that larger population is elsewhere. They are not termites.
    "Do you think I should call another exterminator? He's already contacted the landlord about treating the building for termites. (their company has 4.2/5 stars on yelp, if that matters)"
    There are no termites from the evidence you provided. Doesn't matter if he's 4.2 out of 5. Incorrect ID is still incorrect ID and if he IDs these as termites, I would give him Zero out of 5. Why would he contact landlord about treating for termites? It shouldn't be based on these insects. There should be no termite treatment based on these insects.

    Thanks for the feedback Lou. The aforementioned exterminator is coming tomorrow to inspect further, so I will press him hard on this information.
    I realize this isn't bed bug related, but is this a possible solution: I buy a dehumidifier, I clean the space around the books. The internet says this will rid the area of book lice. But my question is this: do I still need to treat each book individually to kill the eggs (freezer, etc)? Or do they die on their own? The internet is a bit ambivalent about this point. Some sources suggest throwing away items that are heavily infested. Would that include my books.. if I found around 20 or 30?
    Thanks so much for your thoughts and help,
    -d

    And further, does anyone happen to know.. do booklice live in the books, or do they colonize elsewhere? My exterminator said termites colonize elsewhere.. so the main thing is to destroy where they're hiding and once that's done.. the books will be fine. is he right?

  12. loubugs

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 17:36:31
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    The book lice are crawling about. Maybe it's crowded where they normally live, maybe too much moisture and can't live there. They could be crawling over the books because these are closer to where their population is or could be some other reason. They aren't necessarily attracted to books. Many years ago many books had more starch sizing and leather bound spines and they were more common on these books. Maybe more molds or fungi grew on them, too, especially if no air conditioning in warmer months.

  13. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 17:50:01
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    loubugs - 8 minutes ago  » 
    The book lice are crawling about. Maybe it's crowded where they normally live, maybe too much moisture and can't live there. They could be crawling over the books because these are closer to where their population is or could be some other reason. They aren't necessarily attracted to books. Many years ago many books had more starch sizing and leather bound spines and they were more common on these books. Maybe more molds or fungi grew on them, too, especially if no air conditioning in warmer months.

    Exterminator agrees that it's probably book lice. He ruled out bed bugs and termites. He's never dealt with book lice before. (His course of action is to use temprid incesticide around everything, and then they'll vacate or die).
    So I called many pest control places in Chicago. Several had never dealt with book lice before. One guy had, and he suggested two things: To either do a fogger myself. Or to have them come out and use a silica gel spray that will keep the books from developing moisture. He also thought it'd be a good idea to get a dehumidifier, but said it wouldn't cure the problem.
    He seemed to think that I should either throw the books and the bookcases away, or freeze them all one bag at a time. Ugh!

  14. loubugs

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 18:31:09
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    "Exterminator agrees that it's probably book lice. He ruled out bed bugs and termites. He's never dealt with book lice before." Hopefully he hasn't been treating for termites in those cases.
    Book lice are more common than you know. No reason to throw out books and book cases because of them. Vacuum them up. Crack & crevice treatment and you can also use caulk after treatment. Don't fog because the chemical might not really get to where they are anyway.

  15. ScaredChicagoRes

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    Posted 1 year ago
    Tue Nov 1 2016 18:49:20
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    loubugs - 13 minutes ago  » 
    "Exterminator agrees that it's probably book lice. He ruled out bed bugs and termites. He's never dealt with book lice before." Hopefully he hasn't been treating for termites in those cases.
    Book lice are more common than you know. No reason to throw out books and book cases because of them. Vacuum them up. Crack & crevice treatment and you can also use caulk after treatment. Don't fog because the chemical might not really get to where they are anyway.

    Sorry to be annoying. Just to be sure what you mean: I have vacuumed. I've dusted the books and the book case. I have seen zero book lice today (and I looked for 2 hours). Yesterday I found only 3. But it seems to be dryer today. If I simply get a dehumidifier, do you think I should be okay?

    When you say caulk- do you mean the bookcase itself, like the holes and crannies?

    the part that makes me uneasy, is I worry that they are harboring deep down inside the books, like in the middle of pages. Are we sure they don't do that? If not, then I see no reason to have to freeze all of the books, right?


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