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What are Booklice and Other Common Singapore Pests?

Tiny and creepy, insects are a part of life in tropical Singapore. Get to know these common pests and how to get rid of them!



While their small, grayish, flat shape resembles head lice, book lice are not actually lice. This common, harmless insect can be a nuisance as they thrive is warm, damp environments.

As the name suggests, they are often found feeding on the glue of book binding but also feed on mould and mildew. They also may infest dried, starchy foods that has been exposed to humidity. They prefer darkness and may appear in places where mould is not visible – like walls, floors and even some houseplants. This may mean there is moisture behind the wall or floor.


How to Get Rid of Them

Because Singapore is perpetually humid, try to reduce the moisture in the areas where the booklice are present by running the air conditioning and vacuuming frequently. Clean all cabinets and drawers and make sure food is stored in air-tight containers. Try to keep dark, damp areas as dry as possible by periodically airing out and drying the area (if possible). If the problem persists, call pest control.


Fun Facts:

  • Eggs hatch in 21 days.
  • The life cycle from egg to adult is around 110 days, with the insect moulting two to three times.
  • Adults lay 20 to 50 eggs depending on seasonal conditions, and live 24 to 110 days.
  • The biotic potential is 120 to 456 offspring per female.


Other common creepy Singapore crawlers:

Weevils (rice, wheat, grain)


These  small dark insects are part of the beetle family that can be found in dried rice and pasta. They can chew through paper and plastic. If you notice them, get rid of the infested food immediately and do a proper clean out. (Dispose of any food not stored properly. Vacuum counters and cabinets and wipe them down with white vinegar.)  

Because weevils are totally gross, you can help prevent a sighting by storing all your dried grain in the freezer (this kills the eggs). If you don’t have room for permanent storage there, keep them in the freezer for 3 days after purchase before moving them to a glass, air-tight container.




Arguably the most harmful of common pests, termites can wreak havoc on wood and unknowingly cause permanent damage under floors and behind walls. Like booklice, they seek dark, damp spaces and so the wooden structures of Singapore make for the perfect host for these insects. It can be difficult to detect termite damage until you have a full-blown outbreak but as soon as you see damage to wood or what looks like small wood shavings, contact pest control immediately. Termites are difficult to get rid of and assess the full damage to your property without professional help.  

By Kathleen Siddell, February 2016
Photo: 123rf.com

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