The good weather’s here and it’s the season to welcome the creepy crawlies. All those uninvited guests to straddle through the tiniest cracks you never even knew you had.
They’re home invaders, some good, some downright evil.
Spiders are one thing. At least they keep the fly population down. Paper-eating insects though…
Well, can’t have that happening around your photo collections. In a frame, on a shelf, or stored in the loft.
The three most dangerous paper-eating insects that will devour your photos
- Book Lice
These are extremely hard to detect visually because they’re only about 6mm max in length. They’re attracted to humid conditions, love the dark, and they love food.
Despite their name, they get it because they tend to be found eating away at the bindings of books where there’s a higher concentration of cellulose from the glue and paper. Likewise, they will be found in dark crevices such as above your skirting boards nibbling from the back of wallpaper at the glue to eventually damaging your wallpaper. If they get behind a frame, and the paper is humid, they’re likely to gnaw on that photo too.
The key to eradication of these pests and keeping them away from your photo collection, bookcases and keeping your wallpaper intact is to drop the humidity levels. Plenty of ventilation and dry conditions with minimal condensation in the room where paper is stored.
There are book lice killer kits you can buy from a number of places and there are pest control companies that will charge quite an expense to fumigate the areas these pests inhabit. Depending on the severity of an infestation, the pro’s may need to be called.
Prevention is the best course of action so anything you can do to lower the humidity around your home, do that. Dehumidifiers, air plants, whatever it takes.
The favourites for this critters appetite is your old books, and like the book lice, they love eating glue and wallpaper. A common tell-tale sign of these pests coming out to feed when all’s quiet and you’re tucked up in bed is finding yellow stains on white material.
Just like book lice too, they thrive in humid conditions so a large presence of these is an indication of a moisture problem in the home. Perhaps a leaking pipe under the floor or just not enough ventilation to lower the humidity levels.
That’s especially true if you’re drying clothes indoors.
Any dark cupboards you have and use to store books that aren’t being read, your photograph albums, scrapbooks, cardboard and any type of paper is an attractive area for silverfish to set up home. It’s dark, humid and there will be plenty for them to eat.
For rooms where they’re gnawing on paper just above the skirting boards, the best course of action is the trusted vacuum cleaner. Get into the spots that go undisturbed the most. Pull the sofa away from the wall, roll the rug back and use the crevice attachment to vacuum the skirting boards.
The only thing that makes these pests easier to control is the fact they cannot climb very well. For that reason, you will notice the damage on your wallpaper just above the skirting boards, but not along the tops of walls and not near your picture frames, unless you’re leaning them against the wall.
Since most frames are hung at eye level, frames hung at a height are out of reach of silverfish but if you have them sitting at floor level leaning against the wall, you may want to rethink your frame location. If not, check more frequently to make sure they don’t get inside the frame and devour your favourite artwork. Especially photos as these insects have a tendency to favour paper with printed ink, for example old newspapers.
Despite there being over 4,500 species of cockroaches in the world, only 30 have earned themselves a spot in the pest category of insects. Four are more common than others. The Australian and American but in Britain, there’s only two of concern. The Oriental Cockroach and the German Cockroach.
The Oriental Cockroach is a dark brown colour, roughly 30mm in length. The German Cockroach is only about 12mm in length and is a light yellowish-brown colour. Both types are capable of climbing walls and smooth surfaces easily. Especially the German Cockroach. And, while they do have wings, they rarely fly.
Both have the same eating habits and that includes paper, although they’re not fussy and will eat anything, including plastics, packaging and fabric.
These are nocturnal so you’ve little chance of catching them during the day. Unless you darken the room to mimic night, but that’s only going to get them out and provide little help in catching them. They’re the fastest insect on the planet.
During the day, they pretty much hibernate in cracks and crevices. That can be behind your kitchen cupboards, or behind any skirting boards in any room regardless the environment.
The only plausible solution for cockroach problems is to let the professionals handle it as these are disease carriers and will taint everything they touch as they crawl around your home.
Protecting your photos is the least worry with cockroaches around as it’s more important to protect the health of everyone in the home.
To wrap things up:
The most dangerous of home invading insects tend to be attracted to moist conditions. The best course of action is prevention and the simplest way to do that is to open the windows during the summer. If humidity levels remain high, dehumidifiers can and should be used. Air plants can help too.
The obvious signs of these creepies being around is damage to your property, in particular paper products and those with glue bindings such as your books and the paste used to stick your wallpaper to the plaster.
Any notable damage that can’t be explained by the likes of your dog scratching the wallpaper or tiny minute holes appearing out of nowhere could be an indication that your home has become the home of some multi-legged insects munching their way through your valuables.