If you have old vintage books, you may have some book scorpions in your bookcase. Actually, you really should want to have them, even if they look scary and gross. Book scorpions protect your old books — they love to munch on the book lice that eat the glue which holds old books together.
A book scorpion (or pseudoscorpion) is not a true scorpion, hence its name. They're often mistaken for bedbugs, in fact, causing many people to kill them, which is obviously a big mistake for your collection of vintage encyclopedias. A book scorpion is also very tiny — too tiny to hurt you, so don't worry about being pinched when you pull out your original signed copy of The Metamorphosis.
You'll only find book scorpions (as well as book lice) in places where old books are stored. That's because newer books use synthetic glue, which book lice can't eat — they only like the starch-based glue of olden days, so there's nothing for book scorpions to feed on. But if you have old books, there's a chance you might have a colony of book lice, but no book scorpion to hunt them.
In fact, there are some tips that you can follow to ensure that your bookshelf ecosystem is welcoming to book scorpions. Buy old books which will likely come populated with book scorpions who can take up residence in your case. Don't clean your shelves too thoroughly or you might wipe away the scorpions completely. And if you come across a tiny creature tucked into the spine of a book, for goodness sake, don't kill it! He could be saving your library, page by page.
Picture: Shutterstock/Protasov AN