Pest Spotlight: Questions About Psocids | Killingsworth
  1. Pest Spotlight: Questions About Psocids

FEBRUARY 01 2022 /

Pest Spotlight: Questions About Psocids

8 Commonly Asked Questions About Psocids

Psocids. Chances are, you aren’t too familiar with these common household and commercial pests. Psocids are quite different than the other pests we discuss in our blog, such as cockroaches, termites and bed bugs In this blog, we cover everything you need to know about psocids. You’ll learn what they are, what they look like, what attracts them, how to keep them from invading your home or business, and more!  Let’s kick things off by first explaining what a psocid is. 

Question 1: What Is A Psocid?

A psocid (pronounced so-sheed) is a small insect that mimic the appearance of bed bugs and sometimes termites. There are over 200 species of psocids in the United States. Typically, a psocid is no larger than .04 to .08 inches. However, its size depends on its species type. 

Question 2: What Does A Psocid Look Like?

A psocid is pale grey to yellowish white in color, depending on its species. As we mentioned, psocids commonly resemble bed bugs. One of the main differences between a psocid and a bed bug though, is that a psocid has a much larger head in comparison to its body. However, many people also mistake a psocid for a termite, since some psocids have wings while others do not.  Outdoor psocids are known to have membranous wings, while indoor psocids will likely have small wings, or no wings at all. A psocid’s wings typically lie flat during rest, or in a roof-like shape while moving. 

Question 3: Why Are Psocids Called Booklice?

A psocid feeds on moisture and microscopic mold (more of which we’ll get into below), which is why they are commonly found in books, rugs, foods and other items, especially if they are damp. This is why psocids are commonly called booklice, mold lice and dust lice.  These names are somewhat misleading, however, because psocids are not lice, and they do not always live in books! 

Question 4: What Does A Psocid Feed On?

A psocid depends on high humidity for reproduction and can be serious pests of stored foods. These pests feed on microscopic molds and a variety of items of both animal and vegetable origin, including entomological and zoological specimens, herbarium specimens, dried fruits, ground feed, flour, grains and cereals. The presence of psocids in food-processing plants, other manufacturing plants and museums is often unacceptable due to contamination of food or packaging materials, or staining of paper products from their crushed bodies. A psocid that dwells outdoors is commonly found munching on wet bark, moss and grass. Indoor psocids, however, are drawn to homes or businesses with high humidity levels, wet or damp food, cardboard, and more. 

Question 5: Do Psocids Bite?

Lucky for us, a psocid uses its tiny mouth to munch on mold—not on you or your pets! Psocids are more of a nuisance due to their presence, not because of itchy bites or health concerns. 

Question 6: What Are The Signs of A Psocid Infestation?

You likely won’t notice psocids until they have infested your home or business—they seem to appear all at once! You won’t smell any distinct pest odor coming from psocids either, but you may smell the mold or mildew they’re feasting on if mold has started to spread.  Usually, home or business owners see psocids running around, which then alerts them to a potential infestation. It’s not uncommon for a psocid to go unnoticed at first since they are so tiny.  Unfortunately, there are no tell-tale signs of a psocid infestation, which is why it’s so important to invest in routine pest control. While a psocid is not known to cause severe damage, keeping them out of your home or business is important. 

Question 7: How Serious is A Psocid Infestation?

A psocid itself is not as serious—they can usually be eliminated rather easily. The reason behind their infestation is something to be concerned about though! When you find a psocid, you either have:

  • High humidity levels
  • Items in your home that have become wet or damp
  • Mold growth
If mold is present, it needs to be treated quickly and by a specialist. When left unattended, mold growth can result in some serious mold nightmares—trust us, we would know! Mold can spread quickly, and can threaten the health of you and your family, or your coworkers and employees.  If you locate a psocid infestation at your home or business, contact a pest control expert to assess the infestation, determine the cause and create a plan for next steps. 

Question 8: How Can I Get Rid of Psocids In My Home or Business?

To help you control these moisture-loving pests, here are a few steps you can take to eliminate psocids from your home or business:

  1. Use enzymes and borax to clean the affected areas and keep them dry. This will help reduce the psocids food supply!
  2. If your home or business struggles with high humidity, use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity. Humidity levels should be no greater than 58 percent.
  3. While this likely goes without saying, throw away any moldy or damp articles psocids are munching on.
  4. Reduce the temperature drastically for one hour in the area psocids are infesting. Like we mentioned earlier, psocids like warm, wet environments, so the colder it is, the less they will want to stay! Cold temperatures will likely kill psocids, and send any remaining pests packing.
  5. Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled on non-food surfaces to dry out the area and repel psocids. (DE can also be used to eliminate bed bugs from your home!)
Finally, the best way to get rid of psocids in your home or business is with Killingsworth’s expert residential and commercial pest control services! Our professionals are skilled to identify where pests are coming from and how to get rid of them quickly. And if mold is present, we can handle that, too!  Pest control and mold remediation are two of our many specialties at Killingsworth, which is why you can trust us to take care of any and all of your pest or mold needs. After all, if you’re not getting your Killingsworth, then you’re missing out! Schedule a pest control service with us today!



Content was originally published on November 5, 2010. Content was refreshed on July 19, 2019.