BARKLICE BIOLOGY ^
Barklice are small insects which love moisture and can be found on most any tree or bush around the yard. In general, they need to live where humidity is high or moisture is present. Common places for barklice populations to thrive include window sills, under outside siding of homes, tree trunks, shrubs, flowers, around garden hoses, under bricks and rocks, around light fixtures and under boxes. However, some species will readily live in books, book cases, attics and crawl spaces.
In fact there are many families and subspecies of this insect and the science community has not quite come to a concise conclusion about how to group and name all that are included. Some appear to have specific moisture requirements and others do not. At the same time some seem to be food specific and others do not. To make matters more confusing, it appears that barklice are able to change their dietary needs as food availability changes. One thing is for sure: if you have barklice active in or around your home – expect them to prosper and keep coming back every warm season. And in most cases they’ll end up invading living spaces which is when they’ll readily invade books, file cabinets and basically anywhere they find paper products.
THE LIFE CYCLE OF BARKLICE ^
Barklice hatch from eggs in about 2-4 weeks after eggs are laid. Young will go through 2-4 nymphal stages to reach adulthood which takes another 2-3 months. Once mature, females can generate 50-100 eggs during her life and as an adult she would expect to live 1-4 months. Most populations will produce 2-3 generations per year but there could be a lot more if conditions are right.
Barklice are able to adapt to their environment which will dictate just how fast they reproduce. In general, the more moisture and the more moderate the temperatures (50 -80 degrees) the more they will prosper. Cold weather (below 35 degrees) will kill off adults but eggs will live and be ready to hatch as soon as local temperatures get back to where they are comfortable.
WHAT DO BARKLICE EAT ^
Barklice will eat just about anything. Though most people think they eat barks or paper, in fact they can thrive on a wide range of food. Typical food in the home include cellulose products (paper or books), book bindings, fabric (from which many book bindings are constructed), glue (the glue that binds most books has many natural components), contact paper, wall paper, any type of grain, mold, mildew, algae, fungus and other plant life.
The fact that barklice will readily live in books is the same reason they will readily live on trees: the presence of both cellulose (paper is made from wood) and fungus or algae. Algae or fungus will readily grow in damp dark places inside homes but it also thrives outside. It is here where local barklice populations will begin to accrue.
BARKLICE ON THE HOME ^
Most all barklice problems start from the homes siding. Barklice which forage onto homes and establish themselves on brick, stucco, hardy board, cedar shakes or underneath coverings such as vinyl or aluminum will eventually end up inside.
From outside the home they will commonly find window sills to be great for food as well as outside light fixtures, outlets, door frames, etc. The author has seen them thrive on just about any perimeter location of most any structure which gets wet during rain or irrigation. Such areas have a tendency to harbor moisture and this harboring is what enables fungus and algae to grow. Once this growth starts barklice will follow and once established on the structure, its just a matter of time before they end up inside.
TREATING A BARKLICE INFESTATION ^
The good news about barklice is that they are slow eaters. This means damage from local populations is usually minor unless populations go unchecked for long periods of time. However, barklice are both annoying and persistent so most people don’t want them around. Fortunately, they are easy to kill and with the right products being used its relatively easy to manage or eliminate activity in and on the home.
So before you treat, there may be some maintenance needed in areas where activity is noted.
WHAT TO USE INSIDE THE HOME FOR BARKLICE ^
Since barklice will be effectively hiding out of sight once they get inside the home, it can be hard to isolate all areas where they’re nesting. For this reason aerosol products are a good formulation to use where activity is found.
If you have large areas to treat like a wall, a book shelf, cabinets or storage boxes, PT-565XLO will offer quick knockdown, ease of use and no mess. It will produce a fine ULV type particle size insuring deep penetration into all the cracks and crevices where barklice like to hide. When used properly, it won’t make a mess or require time to dry. Just lightly misting the infected area will yield quick results with most all barklice dying within an hour.
PT-565 can be used as needed so keep the can ready to use if more are seen. And its safe for use in any part of the home since its pyrethrin based. Its formulation can be used safely on books, record albums and any type of document or fabric as well.
The only problem with PT-565 is that it doesn’t provide a residual. In other words, it will only kill when it is being applied. Within an hour or so all the active ingredient will have broken down and be gone. For this reason you will probably have to make several applications over the course of 1-2 weeks if you want to get rid of all barklice in the home. This will be needed since the treatment will only kill exposed or hatched insects.
FOR LONGER LASTING RESIDUAL, USE PT-CYKICK AEROSOL
Now for cracks and crevices or voids where you suspect barklice might be hiding, use CYKICK AEROSOL. This product is odorless, quick killing and will provide a good 1-2 weeks of residual. This means it will keep killing even after it dries. Keep in mind it will take 2-3 days to kill a barklice once they touch a treated surface so you must have patience. But it will eventually kill any that forage where its been applied.
Cykick can be applied over surfaces like fabric and barks too without causing treated surfaces to discolor or get wet (when used properly). Be sure to spray lightly since a little is all that is needed when treating.
The only draw back to this product over the PT-565 is that it will not flush the barklice out. Since they will have to walk over treated surfaces to pick up a lethal dose it is imperative that you treat as many of the cracks and crevices in which the barklice may be hiding.
BEST BARKLICE SPRAY ^
If you have large areas to treat like the exterior siding of the home, basement walls, crawl spaces, trees, shrubs, etc, the use of an aerosol is not practical or efficient. For these areas you’ll need a liquid residual and one that works well is PT-CYKICK CS. This odorless concentrate mixes with water and is applied with a PUMP SPRAYER over surfaces on which you have seen activity.
Cy-Kick CS will provide a quick knockdown and a long lasting residual which will prevent hatching barklice eggs from thriving. Cy-Kick CS can be applied over the homes exterior siding, around windows, on trees and plants and just about anywhere barklice activity has been found.
In the home, Cy-Kick can be applied to baseboards, carpeting, under appliances and basically anywhere a water based liquid can be used. The advantage of this product over the aerosols is that you can maintain large areas efficiently and quickly.
Add 1 oz per gallon of water and apply the mixture over no more than 1,000 sq/ft of surface area. Retreat every 30 days when used outside; inside applications will last 60-90 days.
You’ll need a good PUMP SPRAYER to apply the Cy-Kick; it needs to have a nozzle that produces a wide “swath” pattern to insure thorough coverage and uniform distribution.
BE PREPARED TO TREAT FOR BARKLICE ALL YEAR ^
Once you decide on which product to use remember to stay with it and make applications throughout the season as needed. Generally speaking, infestations which are located outside will be active in the warm months and go dormant if you have a winter.
For the southern most states, it is not uncommon to have activity year round. Most of these outside applications should be done with PT-Cykick CS. If you have barklice in the home or building and have decided to use one of the Aerosols, expect to do several treatments since these applications will not last as long compared to the liquid.
Barklice can be a persistent and annoying pest in and around the home. Though they don’t bite, their chewing mouth parts can cause a lot of damage to fabric, barks, wallpaper and other inanimate objects around the home which are valuable. Reduce moisture levels to deter nesting and seal cracks and crevices where barklice may be entering for long term protection.
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