Appearance and Size Facts
- Soft-bodied insects that are pale white or cream colored
- Slender antennae and chewing mouthparts
- May have four wings or be wingless
- Readily identifiable (under magnification) by the presence of their large clypeus (nose)
- Size: Range from 1/25 to 1/12 inch in length
Behavior and Habitat
The female psocid attaches up to one hundred sticky white eggs to food. The eggs hatch into nymphs and will go through several molts before becoming an adult. In optimum development conditions, the life cycle can be completed in as little as eight weeks. The adults survive for around six months. Psocids need to live in moist areas since they feed primarily on microscopic molds. Psocids live outdoors and have wings for the most part. They can be found on tree bark, tree and shrub foliage, and under stones. This type is known as bark lice. Psocids can be found indoors, and this type is extremely tiny and difficult to see. They are often referred to as book lice since they are common around old books in damp locations (such as the basement) but can also be found in damp, moldy foods as a stored product pest. This type is also wingless.
Signs of Infestation
Psocids do not usually feed directly upon human food, but they will when there has been mold or fungal development within the food itself. Psocids are often found within dry products such as flour, bagged nuts, milk powder, chocolate, yeast, and stored cereal grains. They may also be found on books, furnishings, walls, and newly plastered surfaces which are still damp.
Tips for Prevention
If there is moisture within the home, look for ways to reduce the moisture problem. This may require checks for moisture intrusion from the outside or for water leaks within walls. Dehumidifiers and air conditioning will also help to decrease humidity inside of the structure and will usually cause the psocids to desiccate and die from the reduced ambient moisture.
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