It’s like two epic adversaries going head-to-head: booklice versus bed bugs. These pests have much in common – they share the same domains and can often be confusingly similar in appearance as well.
While both pests can make living in your home a nightmare, understanding their differences and being able to distinguish one from another plays a crucial role, as these two pests require different pest control methods.
Both booklice and bed bugs are small, brownish in color, with short antennae and six legs. Yet, there are distinct differences that separate them from one another. Booklice and bed bugs both differ in size, shape, location, and food.
Main Differences of Booklice and Bed Bugs | Explained
For someone with an untrained eye, both of these pesky pests are indistinguishable at first glance. But when you dig deeper and observe the differences, it quickly becomes clear how different they really are.
First and foremost, the size is the easiest and simplest way to differentiate between booklice and bed bugs. Booklice are much smaller, and fully matured booklice grow only up to 1-2 mm in length.
Although they’re mostly the same size as a bed bug nymph, they’re quite different when compared to an adult bed bug which can reach up to 4-5 mm in length.
While it’s difficult to tell from the size at first glance, you can easily identify booklice from the size of its eggs. Booklice eggs are much smaller than the egg of a bed bug which is usually around 1mm in width and length.
Although both pests are wingless insects, they differ quite significantly in shape. If we’ll compare both pests side by side, booklice have a narrower midsection yet a more prominent head as compared to bed bugs.
On the other hand, bed bugs have rounder bodies and are more oval-shaped in comparison.
Additionally, booklice may similarly look like bed bug nymphs as they are somewhat transparent in color to dark brown. Bed bugs, on the other hand, are reddish brown in color.
Booklice can practically be found everywhere; they like humid, wet environments, such as bathrooms or kitchens but prefer dark, undisturbed places like closets and pantries.
They’re usually found inside books, hiding beneath wallpapers, or sometimes, even windowsills. These booklice don’t mind being exposed to the light.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, are often found beneath mattresses, box springs, under couches, or behind bed frames and headboards. They prefer to stay hidden and are often nocturnal pests. Their diet plays a huge role on where they are typically found.
The name booklice were coined from their preference to feed on mold, fungi, and starchy materials such as book bindings. Unlike bed bugs, booklice don’t bite animals and humans.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, feed exclusively on human or animal blood. They bite their victim and use their long proboscis to siphon out the blood.
This is why bed bugs are often found in bedrooms or hotel rooms where there are potential hosts for them to feed off of.
Booklice vs. Bedbugs: Associated Risks
Booklice and bedbugs can both be unwelcome, unexpected guests in our homes. But what concerns most homeowners is the health risks associated with these pests.
Here’s more information about the risks associated with both booklice and bedbugs:
Annoying but not dangerous. Booklice don’t bite and are harmless to humans. Their biggest risk is the potential damage they can do to paper items such as books or documents.
The common problem with booklice is they often eat mold and fungi. Whereas booklice generally don’t pose a health risk in and of themselves, they do indicate the presence of excessive moisture within the home, which creates ideal conditions for bacteria and fungi to flourish.
These organisms possess the ability to cause potential infections if inhaled or ingested into the body through contact with contaminated materials or surfaces.
Technically speaking, booklice aren’t considered to be parasites since they don’t pose any threat to humans. They don’t bite and feed off human blood, but when left unchecked, their destructive eating habits can be quite costly, depending on the extent of the infestation.
Aside from consuming mold and fungi, booklice also feed on starchy materials, which are often found in books.
They feed slowly, but this problem needs to be addressed immediately if you want to stop the infestation and prevent further damage. Additionally, they may also cause significant damage over time to wallpapers.
Bedbugs are some of the more concerning pests when it comes to causing health risks. They’re small, stealthy, and can wreak havoc before being noticed.
Unfortunately, bed bugs can do more than cause unsightly bites. They also have been associated with triggering allergic reactions.
A single female bed bug can produce up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. These bugs will feed on human and animal blood, more often than not, when their host is sleeping since these pests are nocturnal.
Bed bug bites can cause intense itching and red welts that can be itchy or painful for days after the bite. In extreme cases, bed bug bites may even lead to infections if scratched too much or left untreated.
Pest Control Treatment Methods for Booklice and Bed Bugs
Considering both pests are different in terms of their diet and associated risks, it’s important to understand the appropriate control measures for each.
Dealing with booklice is far easier than dealing with bed bugs. Since booklice thrive in moist environments, getting rid of the moisture or figuring out where the extra humidity is coming from usually takes care of the problem.
Other treatments may include vacuuming and cleaning areas with insecticides, but these methods are rarely needed.
Bed bugs are more difficult to treat since they don’t respond easily to traditional insecticide treatments.
Common control methods for bedbugs include steam treatments, applying special bed bug pesticides, using a vacuum cleaner to get rid of them, or, most often, hiring a professional pest control team.
Booklice vs. Bed Bugs: Final Thoughts
After carefully studying the differences between booklice and bed bugs, it is evident that these two insects have distinct features, behaviors, and environments.
While both can be considered pesky invaders, it is important to note that the risks associated with each type of pest vary.
Booklice can cause significant damage to paper items and wallpapers but are mostly harmless to humans.
On the other hand, bedbugs have been linked to allergic reactions and transmission of diseases, making them much more dangerous than booklice.