Books Beware!


Books Beware!

Bookworms beware – your books may be at risk. While it’s not typical that your paper products are targeted by pests, there are a few pesky insects that may enjoy munching on the pages of your favorite novels…


Silverfish have oval, elongated bodies that almost appear to be covered with scales like a fish, hence their name. They are typically silver in color, although they have been known to be a variety of shades of brown. They have two long antennae, six legs, and are roughly ¾ inches long, not including their bristly tails. Silverfish diets are partial to protein over carbohydrates, although they will eat a variety of odd carb items including: clothing, paper, cardboard, book bindings, wallpaper, photographs, and even glue.


Cockroaches are nocturnal creatures, roaming and flying around at night. They are on the hunt for areas where they can nest that are damp and warm and are constantly on the prowl for food sources. Roaches are also infamously resilient, durable creatures. They can survive without their heads, go weeks without food, and are even extremely resistant to nuclear radiation. As one of the hardiest creatures on Earth, and avid scavengers, it’s not surprising to find that they are not picky eaters. They will eat meats, carbohydrates, decaying food, hair, dust and, of course, paper products.


Termites are not just annoying, they’re incredibly destructive and can put your home and structures at risk of collapsing. Wood is abundant in a substance called cellulose, which attracts termites. With such a powerful appetite for the cellulose wood it’s not surprising that termites are also rather keen on other wood-based products including furniture, paper, and books. 

**The above image depicts termite damage to books**

Book Lice

Also known as bark lice or bark flies, book lice are one of the most common types of mite. They are small, wingless creatures that are drawn towards warm, heated environments. True to their names, book lice are keen on munching paper products and even enjoy the microscopic mold that grows on cardboard and other surfaces.


Alyssa, S. (2020) What Type of Bug Eats Paper?, Pets – Wild Sky Media. Available at: (Accessed: June 2020) Phillips, E. and Gillett-Kaufman, J. (2018) Silverfish: Lepisma saccharina Linnaeus, University of Florida Department of Entomology and Nematology. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Available at: http:// (Accessed: June 2020). Silverfish (2020) Pest World. National Pest Management Association. Available at: (Accessed: June 2020).

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