Is It Bed Bugs Or Booklice? Understanding Key Differences

April 19, 2022
Is It Bed Bugs Or Booklice? Understanding Key Differences

We are all aware of just how dangerous pests can be to our homes. From destroying our property and belongings to endangering the health of family members, there are numerous reasons to stay vigilant and keep them away from our residences. However, as mentioned, the first step in effectively dealing with any pest problem is identifying precisely what kind of pest you are dealing with. Being certain of the opposition allows homeowners to know which solutions they can try out first.

And if all else fails, one can always call in pest control in Singapore, which specialises in dealing with that specific pest problem. This article covers 2 parasitic pests that are relatively similar to the untrained eye to help you better differentiate which is which!

Are those bed bugs or booklice?

Both booklice and bed bugs are common species of pest usually found in a typical Singaporean household. However, booklice nymphs have a similar look to newly hatched bed bugs, ranging from transparent white to grey or brown in colour. While their appearance can be indistinguishable for most people, it would be best to keep in mind that they are fundamentally different from one another and thus require unique methods of control.

Below is an overview of how to effectively differentiate between bed bugs and booklice:

1. Shape

Bed bugs have flat and oval-shaped bodies. Booklice, on the other hand, are far more elongated but also less oval compared to bed bugs. Additionally, they have relatively bigger heads than bed bugs.

2. Size

For the most part, bed bugs are bigger than booklice, measuring around 1/4 of an inch and 1/8 of an inch lengthwise, respectively. Colouration is another distinct differentiation factor, wherein bed bugs tend to have a mahogany or brownish-red hue while booklice somewhat vary from white to grey or brown.

3. Location

Unlike bed bugs, booklice are typically seen behind wallpapers, potted house plants, paste on book bindings, in furniture stuffings, and along the edges of windowsills, to name a few. Although, they can also be seen in places where one usually keeps stored food. In contrast, bed bugs prefer to retreat somewhere hidden – under the seam of a mattress, for example.

4. Food

The common bed bug feeds on human blood, but they are also known to bite other animals that are warm-blooded, such as rodents, cats, and dogs. This might lead to one wondering the same about booklice. Fortunately, booklice do not feed on blood. Instead, pollen, mould, fungi, dead insect fragments, as well as other food containing starch found in humid environments are their principal food sources.

Bed bugs vs booklice: risk comparison

Bed bugs

The most significant difference between bed bugs and booklice is their risk to people. Bed bugs generally do not feed daily, and it takes a few days before any signs of their parasitic activities (in this case, skin rashes) appear on their victims. However, these rashes can become visible in some instances right after they take their blood meal. Nonetheless, it is highly unlikely for most people to see, let alone feel, their presence since bed bugs tend to feed at night, where their bites go unnoticed for those asleep.


While booklice can be deemed annoying, the good news is that they do not represent a threat to our health. The harm they do is usually small since they do not feed on human blood. Although not parasites, they can, however, be destructive in the long run due to their consuming habits. Although booklice are slow-moving in terms of eating, they can cause harm to household items such as books and the structural integrity of wallpapers.

How to remove bed bugs and booklice

Dealing with booklice is far easier to accomplish than rooting out bed bug infestations. In most cases, reducing moisture in the house and a quick vacuuming for booklice will suffice to get rid of them unless there are too many; in this case, pest control solutions would do the trick. Unfortunately, no simple solution exists for bed bug infestations, given that they are highly capable of surviving for extended periods without food and their knack for travelling great distances. Moreover, they can quickly increase their numbers and spread across an entire space once they find a good environment to live in. In short, calling on the experts at pest control to deal with bed bugs in your home is the best and most effective way of removing infestations.


Bed bugs and booklice are two common pests that pose serious health risks despite their small size. Therefore, it is crucial to determine which of the two is the source of the infestation so you can carry out the proper pest control measures or call in the right people for the job.

If your family is under threat of bed bugs, booklice, or any other household pests, do not hesitate to give us a call at PestClinic. Our comprehensive pest control services ensure the complete removal of all kinds of dangerous and invasive pests that could wreak havoc to your home or health. For more information about our pest control services, drop us a call at +65 6397 5677 at any time.

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Get a FREE pest control quotation & ENJOY $30 OFF our pest control services!