Even though there are many different insects that will eat paper, book beetle, usually refer to Anobium punctatum (common furniture beetle) and Xestobium rufovillosum (deathwatch beetle).
Common furniture beetles tend to have black head and dark brown striated bodies. These beetles tend to be 3 – 4.5 millimeters long. By contrast, the deathwatch beetle has a black body with goldish marketings throughout. Adult beetles tend to be approximately 7 millimeters long.
They are known worldwide for making a “ticking” sound in the rafters that is said to be the harbinger of imminent death in the infested household. The larvae of both species tend to feed on paper books, while the adults will bore directly into wood.
Problems for Humans and Animals
Typically, booklice will not bite humans or other animals. They are also not known for acting as hosts for parasites that pose a problem to public health.
Unfortunately, they can easily spread to your collection if you buy used books, or obtain new books from an infested store.
Before purchasing books, you should examine the spines and pages carefully for signs of booklice. This includes holes in the pages or signs of scratch marks on the spine. Even if you do not see insects actively burrowing in the pages, there may still be eggs present that will hatch at some point in the future.
There are only two main ways to get rid of booklice. First, you can wrap the infested book up in plastic, and put it in the freezer for at least 3 days. After you remove the book from the freezer, you will need to let it dry out for several weeks.
At this stage, you should also remove any dead insects that you might find caught between the pages of the book.
Depending on the size of your collection and the degree of the infestation, you may want to contact a specialist in pest removal. They will most likely use various gaseous pesticides to rid your home of booklice. That said, you should be aware that these treatments can pose a hazard to your health and that of others in the household.
Since bookworms tend to favor wood that has been attacked by fungal infections, you will usually need to replace these structures in order to get rid of the worms.
Today, there are also special varnishes and other treatments that will retard fungal growth as well as inhibit bookworms. Even though you may need to refinish wooden decks and other areas every few years, it is well worth the time and effort.
Needless to say, if you are planning to buy used furniture, you should examine all wooden areas carefully to make sure you do not bring bookworms into your home. At the same time, if you are planning to buy new furniture, you may want to ask the store clerk about items that have been treated with stains or other chemicals that will inhibit both fungal infections and bookworms.