How to Kill Book Lice

Book lice are exactly what they sound like--tiny, lice-like insects that live in books and eat the tiny molds that grow on the pages of slightly damp books. They also live in cracks and crevices in kitchens and other damp places. Not only are these tiny pests disgusting, they can destroy your treasured books and they can be transferred to food products, including grains, cereals and pet foods. While book lice do not bite humans, their feces and body parts infect food products. Once they get a foothold in your home, they are hard to keep under control. There are three primary ways to rid your home of these pests: chemical sprays and powders, freezing and microwaving.

Step 1

Store all cereals and grains in air-tight containers.

Step 2

Clean all cracks and crevices around sinks and countertops thoroughly with ammonia-based cleaners, and dry all cracks and crevices completely using a portable hair dryer. Reducing the moisture of their hiding places will kill the majority of book lice.

Step 3

Place books and other small objects in a microwave for 40 seconds (on high). This will kill both adult book lice and their eggs.

Step 4

Place infested objects in a freezer with the temperature set at 0 degrees F for a full 24 hours. Adults will be killed in three to four hours, but eggs require a full 24 hours to kill.

Step 5

Dust or spray an insecticide containing pyrethrin or cyfluthrin (check the label) into cracks or crevices or any damp place where the lice live and thrive.


Larry Parr

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for television, everything from "Smurfs" to "Spider-Man." Today Parr train dogs and write articles on a variety of topics for websites worldwide.