Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Yucky problem! help!

boucle | Posted in General Discussion on

Please don’t judge me. I need help! I have decades worth of patterns stored that I love but have not used for a few years. I was organizing them and discovered that there’s some teeny bugs, what a friend who used to work in a library called booklice. I don’t see many of them, but it gives me the shivers. These are apparently different from the kind that like people. I know that sun and air and frequent dusting are good, but can anyone else recommend a safe “green” treatment? TIA-


  1. meg | | #1

    What about storing them in the freezer?

  2. Pattiann42 | | #2

    This is what I would do  -  package them in zip lock bags, then put bags in the freezer.  Between the lack of oxygen and sub zero temp, I would think they would perish.

    If they were stored in paper boxes, get rid of those, if in plastic - wash it with hot soapy water - same for storage area.

    I would consider this a mixed blessing - handling all the patterns presents an opportunity to catalog them.

    1. boucle | | #3

      You clearly have no idea of the bulk of patterns I'm talking about LOL!
      Believe me, I have read up on this and you need to put items in a freezer a minimum of 3 days. Then you need to dry well (hairdryer or low oven), because moisture is one culpret.I switched from cardboard to lidded plastic bins 2 yrs ago, and put a cedar plank in (helps the clothes for moths, but apparently not booklice. BTW, I do have a bug contract that includes 'all vermin"; they spray quarterly, so the house is relatively bugless. But I do have tons of books, patterns, and various paper. Libraries have to treat for booklice periodically.I will organize my patterns again, but it will be a huge job and now is a really bad time for the effort, as I'm going to want to go through bookshelves and paper all through the house. Major cleanup ahead.I was hoping someone might also know of a non-toxic dry remedy, to sprinkle in the boxes for now to start the process while i work.
      Thanks again for the replies! and if anyoneone else out there has lots of books and/or patterns that go untouched for long periods, best check them well. These guys are very hard to see unless they move; smaller than a pencil dot and sort of a clear paper color. Harmless and not interested in people as i understand, but icky all the same. Thanks again.

      1. Pattiann42 | | #4

        How in the world would I know how many patterns you had - good grief Charlie Brown - that's at lot of trees!

        Long ago when there were 5 &  dime stores (aka 10 cent stores), the lady who took care of the candy counter, where bulk candy was displayed in a glass case, she would remove all the candy once a month, clean out the case and sprinkle borax below the display trays to keep insects at bay. 

        Maybe borax if it is still available, would work and you would not have to freeze and dry all those patterns!



  3. Kriya | | #5

    Warning: Don't read this while you're eating!  It's gross but may be useful.


    I don't know if this will help your particular problem, but I have the double trouble of a cockroach problem and cheap wooden kitchen cabinets.  Every once in a while, after sweeping out the cabinets, I wash them with Dr. Bronner's almond oil soap.  I rinse off any remaining suds and leave the cabinets open and empty to dry.  Several days later I will continue to find roaches on my counter tops that have dropped dead and fallen out of the cabinets.  Roaches really don't like that almond oil soap.  Dr. Bronner's is 100% natural, very very green.  I've seen demonstrations of an almond extract being used to repel mosquitoes.

    You can also check library product websites.   

    1. User avater
      CostumerVal | | #6

      That's a great tip!  Thanks, my local mennonite store carries Dr. Bronners.  I have carpenter ants myself.  I use Borax around the exterior of the house, to keep them from climbing up into the attic vents.  Then I lay out corn meal.  Alledgedly it's similar to the cola and rats trick, they recognize it as food but cant digest it and it kills them.  Either that or the toad in my garden gets them.  Have any other green tricks?

    2. Minnie63 | | #7

      I hate roaches as I'm sure most of us do. I don't have them because once or twice a year I spray Bengal Roach Killer. The stuff is fantastic.As for the pattern bugs, throw the patterns into a large plastic bag and spray one or two hits of Bengal, close the bag tight and I'll bet in 2 days, they will be gone.

  4. tmorris1 | | #8


    as it notes below, you may have a mould or mildew problem in that room which you are not aware of. Also check your fabric stash too because they will feed on that.

    "Booklice belong to the Order Psocoptera, the majority of this order live out of doors feeding mostly on yeasts, moulds and mildews. Very few species have been found in the domestic or stored product environment, but those that have seem to be attracted to the foodstuffs and other materials which are damp, and in which there is a degree of mould development. This means they are found in areas of high humidity which allows the fungal and mould development they need as food.

    The female Booklouse lays her eggs on the food substrate, sometimes covering them with detritus to hide them from predators. In a temperature of 20 to 25C the lifecycle from egg to adult can take only 6 to 8 weeks, some of the common indoor species of Booklice are known to produce regular tapping sounds by beating their abdomens against whatever they are standing on (most clearly heard on paper), and this may be related to mating behaviour.

    Booklice should not be confused with true lice as they do not normally feed directly on human foodstuffs, and will only occur in large numbers if conditions for high mould and fungal growth are allowed to occur. Physically damaged foods are seldom noticeable but some fabrics and other delicate articles, such as dried insect collections may be badly damaged by booklice feeding on them.If you buy a packet of food infested with booklice it may prove difficult for the Environmental Health Department to prove at what stage it became infested. Due to the very wide distribution of booklice it is seldom possible to prove at what stage the infestation occurred, be it in the shop or even the transport vehicle it was delivered in, or came from another source even your own larder.

    Drying out and airing the infested room is the best way treating booklice, for serious infestations professional advice should be sort."

    good luck

    1. ctirish | | #9

      It sounds like an air conditioner or dehumidifier is needed for the area where you keep the patterns. This topic has reminded me to go down in the cellar to empty my dehumidifier. I had small ants in one of my bathrooms after it rained. One day I dropped my container of scented powder on the floor and it collected right under the edge of the toilet. To my amazement, I have not had an ant since, evidently they don't like the scent or some other component of the powder. So, try googling for the booklice; you may come up with all sorts of solutions. Good luck,

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All