Best-selling author and journalist Caitlin Moran once said, “A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life-raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen instead.”

She’s right. Libraries are many things, but most of all they’re important. Whether you’re in charge of maintaining a large book collection or just want to keep your shelves at home safe, we can help protect your precious tomes from the insects and bugs that eat books. Let’s review what insects eat books and how you can control them. If you need further help managing book pests, call Assured Environments. We’ll make sure only the bookworms can access your reading room.


Silverfish are the most common of the bugs that eat paper but do silverfish eat books? These small, carrot-shaped and shiny, grey-colored insects have bristle-like appendages and bodies covered in scales. Silverfish like books because they’re fond of any material that is high in starch. They won’t stop at paper, however – they’ll consume the glue found in bindings as well. If you notice that your Harry Potter has pages with notched edges and yellow-gold stains, you’re probably seeing silverfish book damage.

A good way to prevent silverfish is to keep your library well-lit. Silverfish prefer dark, enclosed places. If you can make sure they can’t find those spaces in your library, you can keep them out.


Many varieties of beetle, especially small, dark ones like the carpet beetle, will consume books. Unlike silverfish, however, beetles don’t prefer books as a source of sustenance and therefore don’t infest them as frequently. Some older books with cellulose paper, leather covers and glue in their bindings are attractive to hungry beetles. When beetles infest books, their larvae bore into the book to find both food and shelter in a single space until they become adults. Look for tiny identifying bore holes as evidence of this crime in the pages of your prized Agatha Christie volumes.

To control beetles in your library, you’ll have to find and take infected books off the shelves. These types of book pests love dusty, out of the way areas. Maintain high levels of consistent cleanliness, even in the darkest corners of your library. If you can make your library unappealing to beetles, they won’t infest your books.


Librarians are just as likely to run into rats and mice as any other professional in New York. Rats and mice both use paper when building their nests, which is part of what draws them into libraries. You can tell you have an infestation if you notice brown and yellow staining or gnaw marks on pages.

It can be difficult to exclude rodents in buildings as large as libraries. You’ll have to follow some specialized rodent prevention techniques for businesses. The most important of these techniques is probably conducting frequent perimeter checks. Rodents, rats especially, are capable of squeezing into buildings through the smallest of holes. Make sure you’re repairing any crumbling brick, loose seals, or old screens you come across. The best way to keep them out is with a comprehensive pest control plan.

 Book Pest Control for NY, NJ and CT

If you have questions about the pests and insects that eat books in your library, give us a call. We wrote the book on commercial pest control and when it comes to paper eating bugs and rodents, we’ll write a pest free chapter for you.