Booklice are one of the bugs that look like cockroaches that we often encounter every day. For people who collect old books, of course, booklice are sometimes found when the books are not stored properly. This of course is normal because these insects eat parts of the book.
On the other hand, these insects are actually very small. It is very rare to find large booklice that can be easily seen with the naked eye. However, booklice in their adult form do look similar to cockroach nymphs. Therefore, let’s discuss this insect further.
Short Description of Booklice
Booklice or bookworms (Latin name Psocids liposcelis sp) are pests that are often found in moldy books. Booklice have a soft body, measuring 1 to 2 mm. Like insects in general, bookworms or Psocids have 3 body structures, namely the head, chest (thorax), and stomach (abdomen). Bookworms do not undergo metamorphosis or ametabolism. The bookworm’s life cycle starts with eggs, young lice (which are small), then adult lice. Psocids reproduce by parthenogenesis.
Parthenogenesis is reproduction without fertilization. Female psocids produce eggs that develop without fertilization. This egg cell undergoes duplication or mitosis without undergoing meiosis so that the embryo can develop without reshuffling the genetic material in the meiosis process.
Similarity Between Booklice and Cockroach
Booklice and cockroaches belong to the kingdom Animalia, phylum Arthropoda, class Insects. An arthropod group is a group of animals whose characteristics have a segmented or knuckle body and do not have a spine. Booklice can be categorized as pests because they damage paper.
Booklice are light brown and pale, like the nymphs of some German cockroach species. Bookworms have 3 pairs of legs, like cockroaches. Bookworms and cockroaches reproduce asexually, or parthenogenesis. Bookworms and cockroaches love moisture and mildew. Booklice and cockroaches can live under trees, leaves, and in damp wood.
Apart from being outside the house, it is not uncommon for bookworms and cockroaches to be found inside the house. They live in humid places and close to food sources. Like most pests, booklice and cockroaches can be eradicated by sprinkling diatomaceous earth containing silicon. Silicone can absorb water in the insect’s body so that the insect dehydrates and then dies.
Difference Between Booklice and Cockroach
As explained in the description section above, bookworms have a soft body, unlike cockroaches which have a hard exoskeleton or exoskeleton. The most basic difference between booklice and a cockroach is size. Cockroaches are generally 2 to 3 cm in size, which is 20x larger than booklice. Bookworms generally don’t have wings like cockroaches. But booklice can jump. Cockroaches undergo incomplete metamorphosis, while bookworms do not undergo metamorphosis, or better known as ametabola.
Besides, booklice don’t live in dirty places. Bookworm populations are commonly seen in paper wrappers, books, tree trunks, fodder grains (as some contain antibiotic fungi), and cereals (if not stored properly). While they both like warm and humid places, bookworms are not found in dirty places like cockroaches.
As is well known, cockroaches can survive in any condition. But not in bookworms, these insects cannot survive in humidity below 50% and temperatures above 55oC. Unlike cockroaches, booklice are more difficult to get rid of using pesticides, so fungicides are recommended.
Cockroaches live in dirty places so their bodies carry a lot of pathogenic bacteria that can cause disease. Booklice are harmless to humans although their presence can damage the paper on books and magazines. Booklice can be used as indicators of humidity while cockroaches can be used as indicators of the cleanliness of a place.