Everything Residents Need To Know About The Tiny Insect Pests That Infest Books Where They Eat Away At Paper And Binding

A large number of beetles belonging to the Anobiidae family are common pests of woodwork and/or a wide variety of human foods. Generally, winged adult Anobiidae pests are nocturnal and are rarely spotted within infested homes during the daytime. In some infestation cases, adults may become a nuisance due to their habit of gravitating toward outdoor and indoor light sources. While annoying, adults are not destructive to property, as only larvae are capable of digesting the cellulose within wood and materials made of plant matter. Also, the vast majority of Anobiidae species that are pests of stored foods see only larval specimens contaminate packaged food items. The most common Anobiidae beetle pests of woodwork include furniture beetles and deathwatch beetles, while cigarette beetles and drugstore beetles are the most common Anobiidae pests of stored foods. A few Anobiidae beetle species infest both old and new books, resulting in significant damage to paper and glue binding.

Neogastrallus librinocens and Nicobium hirtum are the two most common Anobiidae species that infest books, and they are both aptly referred to as “common book beetles.” The reddish-brown adults of these two species are around 2.5 mm in length, or 1/10 of an inch in length, making them difficult to notice. Similar to other Anobiidae pests, book beetles see only larval specimens eat away at paper and the glue in binding. White larvae, or “grubs,” are around 3 mm in length, and resemble tiny maggots. Book beetle infestations are associated with humid indoor conditions where fungi has or is likely to develop within books. Because of this, book beetle infestations are common in homes located in the subtropical southeastern states. The damage caused by these pests appears as small holes in pages and cut binding. N. librinocens larvae are often found infesting both new and old books in storage. Another closely related species, Gastralis immarginatus, is also a common pest of books stored within moist conditions, particularly basements. Larvae of this species are between 2.2 to 3 mm in length, and dark brown in color.

Have you ever found damage to your books that may have been caused by book beetles?



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