Entomology (Study of Bugs)/book lice


Hi Jessica,

I read in a previous question that you answered that nook lice were only harmful If ingested. How are they harmful. I might have unknowingly ingested some. They were in the bathroom on my toothbrush. I have looked all over and I found one mention that they can carriers of sheep tape worm?

Thank you,

Hi Donna,

I donít think you should worry at all about eating a few booklice. I try to discourage people from eating household pests, such as booklice that get into pantry foods, because often they are treated with chemicals, which you donít want to ingest yourself. If you have used any poison to help control your infestation, then you may want to make a point to avoid ingesting any more.

I have not heard that booklice can carry tapeworms, but I suppose it is possible. I still wouldn't worry unless you start showing symptoms.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger


I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.


I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of AllExperts.com since 2009.

Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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