Most of these so-called bookworms are small and dark- or reddish-brown. They enter libraries through windows, poorly fitting doors, etc., and seem to proliferate in libraries where dust, dirt, heat, darkness, and poor ventilation are prevalent.
The measures used over the years for the control or elimination of bookworms are virtually legion, including numerous remedies to be rubbed into leather, added to paste, sprinkled on bookshelves and books, etc. Among the many remedies used are: alum and thymol, alum and vitriol (sulfuric acid), (oil of) anis, beeswax, benzene, bitumen, borax, buckbean, cajeput oil, camphor, chili, chloropicrin, cinchona, cinnamon, cloves and oil of cloves, colcynth, copal varnish, copper, cresote, derris, (oil of) eucalyptus, formalin (formaldehyde), kerosine, khuskhus, lac varnish, lavender, margosia, mercuric chloride, mirbane oil, nitrobenzene, muriatic (hydrochloric) acid, musk, myrrh, naphthalene, nicotine, orrisroot oil, ozone, pennyroyal, pepper, petroleum, phenol, porpoise oil, pyrethrum powder, Russia leather shavings, sandalwood, sassafras, shellac, snuff, thyme, thymol, turpentine. vermouth, and wormwood. Some of these remedies were totally ineffective: some were temporarily effective; and some were as destructive as, or even more so than, the pests themselves.
Any preparation or process used to destroy the larvae or beetles must have sufficient residual effect not only to destroy existing larvae but also larvae which will hatch subsequent to the initial treatment. Treatment should be applied in conjunction with proper ventilation, temperature and humidity control, and cleanliness, so as to discourage future infestation.
Fumigation is frequently used to rid libraries of beetle and larvae infestation. Four general methods are used: 1) fumigation of the entire library with hydrogen cyanide, carbon disulfide, or methyl bromide, which, of course, necessitates closing the library for several days; 2) fumigation of batches of books in specially designed vacuum chambers, with a combination (1:9 by weight) of ethylene oxide and carbon dioxide, which is a method well suited to the fumigation of new acquisitions; 3) routine fumigation of the entire collection, carried out batchwise in a chamber, using methyl bromide; and 4) fumigation of one or more books in a small air-tight box, using paradichloro-benzene crystals, which is a method suitable for use by the private collector. Although the first method is potentially dangerous and causes considerable inconvenience, it is the only one which will destroy beetles or larvae which are on the bookshelves. See also: BOOK LICE ; SILVERFISH . (47 , 143 , 247 , 335 )