You can reduce a book louse infestation by 50% using very simple physical control methods. By lowering relative humidity, getting rid of mold, and properly storing books, boxes, and other vulnerable objects, you can eliminate many conditions that promote book lice development.
1. Install a vapor barrier under the ground floor if you have a dirt floor basement or a crawl space.
2. Make sure that your dryer’s outlet hose is equipped with a valve and is in good condition and dust free.
3. Always store cardboard boxes, books, and other vulnerable objects about a foot off the ground. Never put them directly on the floor.
4. Eliminate sources of stagnant water around the foundations and in crawl spaces.
5. Clean window frames. They often harbor dead flies, which can serve as a food source for book lice.
6. Repair plumbing leaks and recaulk around the bath, shower, and sinks if necessary.
7. Alternate areas where you store and hang dry clothing.
8. In new buildings, turn on the heat for several days in rooms where you have a book louse problem. This will help dry out damp walls and wood that is still green.
9. Freeze or heat treat infested items.
Please note. Freezing and heating can damage some objects that are sensitive to abrupt changes in temperature.
10. Remove leaf litter and other debris from around foundations and ground-level windows. Apply a residual insecticide on window frames
11. Repair breaks in the roof, air vents, gutters, and skylights.
12. Plug cracks on the inside and outside of foundations.
13. Never store items directly against the wall. Make sure there is 15 to 30 cm between the items and the wall.
14. Store firewood 30 to 45 cm off the ground. It is also a good idea to cover firewood with a tarp. If possible, dry the wood on a covered porch or in the garage or other shelter before bringing it into the house.
15. Regularly replace onions, potatoes, and other food products stored outside the refrigerator (if applicable).
16. Remove weeds next to the building and prune nearby trees that create a lot of shade. Shady areas promote the growth of mold, lichens, and mushrooms that are excellent sources of food for book lice.
17. Remove any wasp and/or bird nests from the building.
You can also consult an architect about the building’s structure and foundations. He or she can suggest solutions if you have serious condensation and mold problems.