Silverfish feeding on paper

What Are Paper Product Pests?

A Look at Booklice and Other Paper Pests

When you think about needing to rid your home of pests, creatures that feed on paper may not be at the forefront of your mind. However, these annoying creatures can cause real damage around your home. Paper product pests are insects that feed on paper stored around your home. This could be anything from old bills to rare books and more. It’s likely that you have some valuable paper – whether monetarily or emotionally – sharing space with you. Protecting that is important. Additionally, no one wants to cohabitate with creepy crawly pests! Here are some types of paper product pests and ways that you can suss them out.


Also known as paperlice or psocids, booklice can be found on papers, books, furniture, or walls. Though these creatures are commonly referred to as lice, they aren’t actually a type of lice because they do not bite people. Their preferred meals include fungi, mold, dead insect fragments, pollen, and starches. Booklice only grow to 1/25 to 1/13 of an inch long and they are wingless and gray or white in color. Some may present with wings, but they don’t really use them. They are flat and can be found within mildew and mold which means they crave warm, humid (but not wet) conditions. Booklice can settle in a number of standard spots around the home including flour, cereal, in book bindings, and on wallpaper. Keeping your home dry is one step in curbing a booklice infestation, but that can be challenging in humid climates like Florida.


You’ve likely seen these creepy crawlers once or twice, and if you have an infestation likely many more times. The silverfish gets its name from its shiny hue though it is primarily grayish with a slight sheen. They can grow up to an inch in length and feature a long body with legs on either side. They are wingless but scurry quickly when disturbed. Since silverfish like to dine on any matter that contains polysaccharides, they may be found in books (as binding adhesives contain materials like starches and dextrin), paper, photos, plaster, carpet, clothing, and even wallpaper. Silverfish can also live for a year without eating as long as they have water. The creatures prefer the dark so it can be hard to spot them even with an infestation. But keeping a lookout for signs can be helpful. Silverfish can leave marks of where they’ve fed including notches along the edges of books, yellow stains, scales, or feces.


Did you know there is a variety of beetles that can feast on your paper and fabric goods? The most common nuisance is the carpet beetle. While this little guy may not be crawling around your bookshelves, he is crawling around your floor – it’s actually almost guaranteed that any house over two years old has carpet beetles present. That’s because food sources are so abundant. These beetles in larval stage will eat almost anything as long as it’s of plant or animal origin. Carpet beetles can be found both indoors and out but prefer dining on dried protein while inside. Things like dead insects, hair, dander, rugs, clothing, furs, furniture, leather, and more are high-quality food for these scavengers. Because food is abundant and because it’s hard to find the source if the infestation, controlling these creatures is challenging. They don’t particularly cause a threat to your carpet – though the name would lead you to believe otherwise – but they can ruin your wardrobe.

Getting Help

Paper product pests are a challenging bunch to rid your home of. You simply can’t toss out their source of food and call it a day because they feed on things that are valuable to you or things that you can’t get rid of – like your own food! That’s why calling in the professionals at the first sign of an infestation is key. They’ll quickly determine the level of infestation and sketch out an action plan that will save your stuff and your sanity. The first step in addressing any pest problem is to practice hygienic measures throughout your home, but oftentimes that isn’t enough. Let the professionals at Impact Pest Elimination help you rid your home of pesky intruders before you have to part with your library or winter wardrobe.