If you have an extensive book collection that you need to secure in a storage space for some time, then you may be concerned about conditions that can cause the books to deteriorate. Humid conditions are especially troublesome when it comes to books. While moisture can cause the pages of the books to stick together, it can also create an environment where insects like book lice are able to thrive. Keep reading to learn about book lice, your books, and how you can keep the insects from destroying your belongings.

What Are Book Lice?

Book lice are small insects that look a lot like the small and wingless creatures that infest the scalps of humans. However, book lice are not parasitic and do not live off human blood like head lice. The insects feed off of fungi instead and are sometimes seen in packages of rice, flour, oatmeal, and other grains. The insects are a sign that the food has become contaminated with mold. Book lice can also be found around plants, drywall, windows, or any other area where a great deal of fungi or mold has started to build on an organic material. 

Book-lice infestations will typically involve dozens of the small insects, but they are extremely difficult to see. The bugs are only about one-sixteenth of an inch long and are either clear or light in color. The bugs also run quite quickly and hide in small crevices when disturbed, so this can make infestations hard to identify.

How Do the Insects Destroy Books?

While book lice will not typically create a great deal of damage when an infestation is present in the home, they can cause damage to books, especially in storage. When books are placed in a humid storage unit, molds spores will start to multiply, and mold will form on the book covers and the edges of the pages. As the book lice feed off the mold, they create small tears in the delicate paper of the books. As they do this, you will start to see an uneven surface appear on the top and sides of the text block. 

While a book that has been damaged by lice can be restored with the use of professional ploughing techniques, trimming, and rebinding, a book that has succumbed to mold and mildew formation will be very likely to form mold in the future and to develop a new book-lice infestation. Mold spores are extremely small and will gather on organic surfaces like paper. If mold spores have spread throughout a book, it will be almost impossible to remove them completely. This means the spores will start to multiply once moisture is present.

How Can You Prevent Book-Lice Damage?

The easiest way to make sure that book lice do not damage your books in storage is to prevent mold from being able to build on your books in the first place. This will limit the amount of food that will encourage an infestation. Renting a climate-controlled unit that retains a low humidity level is the best way to keep mold at bay. Humidity levels at or below 50% are recommended in the home to keep mold controlled. The same level of humidity or lower is a good choice for your storage unit. Since heat also contributes to the formation of mold, a unit that is kept colder and consistent in temperature is ideal too.

You should make sure that you also protect your books directly even when you place them in the right environment in your storage unit. Wrap each book in moisture- and mold-resistant wax paper. Look for acid-free paper coverings or coatings sold specifically for books. Also, purchase or make one phase box for each book that you need to store. These boxes are four-sided containers that store and protect books from mold and insect damage. 

Talk to a company like Stadium Storage to rent a storage unit.