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Pest Control/booklice on musical instrument!!


Dear Jack

I sincerely hope you can help me, I live in a small flat in London UK and we have a problem with booklice - they are in our books and also on our laptop and PC but what I'm most concerned about is that they are on my oboe which I practice for several hours a day. We have just bought a dehumidifier and vacuum the instrument every day but I still see them crawling around on there. This is not a new problem, my instrument was infested at our old house and we tried fumigating it, freezing it and also coating it in neem but none of this has worked!! I am getting very concerned and feel pretty disgusted by the whole thing, having a bit of a phobia about insects doesn't help matters....I mop the instrument out after playing but there's always going to be a bit of moisture in there from my breath which won't help.
I'm pretty sure it started when the oboe was in a bare wooden case which I got rid of several months ago.
As well as the oboe I would also like to know how to get rid of them from the flat please!!
Thank you so much in advance for any advice you can give...


Since booklice feed on mold they usually indicate excess moisture. They won't damage your instrument nor will they harm anything else in the apartment. They can occasionally infest stored food like dry pet food. The best solution is to reduce moisture but beyond this there's not much one can do since insecticides won't be effective. If you are sure there are no water leaks (pipes, roof, foundation, and so forth) then the dehumidifier is the best option. Newer buildings seem to have less problem with booklice than older buildings probably because they tend to be drier.

Jack DeAngelis  

Pest Control

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Jack DeAngelis


I can answer questions about the control of pest insects, spiders, mites and related arthropods. These household pests include termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, nuisance ants, bed bugs, cockroaches, fleas, wasps, and many others. I can also answer questions about using pesticides and other pest control tools such as baits and traps.


I am a retired university extension entomologist. I've taught and conducted research in urban and agricultural entomology. I've published over 70 extension publications, 20 research publications and several books about insects.

Ph.D. in Entomology

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