I have a large wooden cutting board which is used in my kitchen mainly for preparing egg pasta. The wood type is Populus (poplar or aspen or cottonwood).

The main ingredients used with the cutting board are: flour (mainly soft wheat flour), hens' eggs, white sugar, butter, and baking powder.

After the food preparation, the cutting board is cleaned by scraping away the ingredients remains.

The board has some cracks and some small unknown insects are living inside the cracks.

The board has also a lot of holes due to woodboring beetles but I think the woodworms operated long time ago and they no longer live in the cutting board.

The unknown insect has an approximate length of 1 mm (along the direction of their movements) and a width of 0.3 mm. The unknown insects do not have wings, they just walk. I am not able to see how many pairs of legs they have.

The color of the insect is pale brown.

The cutting board was free from these unknown insects some months ago but then they appeared.

My questions:

  1. What insects are they?
  2. Are these insects poisonous to humans?
  3. How can I get rid of them?


The unknown insects could be Acarus siro, I will try to get a picture of the insects.

Update 2

Here is a picture. The bottom part of the image is a one Euro coin, the top part of the image is a caliper (each bright area is one mm tick). enter image description here

Some more pictures:

enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Buy a new cutting board. :P (plastic ones would solve all your problems). We can't ID a bug without a picture, either. $\endgroup$
    – J. Musser
    Commented Oct 4, 2014 at 18:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It sounds like a flour beetle, try the red (or rust red) flour beetle, though they are more than 1mm in length. You can probably kill them by putting your cutting board in the oven at 250° for an hour or two. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ @anongoodnurse Red flour beetles are not flightless. Beetles have their flight wings hidden under a protective shell that is made from specialized wings. Also, flour beetles are a potential source of allergens, so if you're making these noodles for other people, I'd get a new cutting board. If you're the only one eating the noodles and aren't allergic to the beetles, it's up to you. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Commented Oct 5, 2014 at 23:55
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    $\begingroup$ That picture does not look like a flour beetle. Almost looks like a termite. Don't know if the size is consistent with termites. $\endgroup$
    – user137
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 18:20
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Neither flour beetles nor termites get that small. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 22:03

1 Answer 1


This is a species of psocid (of the family Psocoptera, AKA booklice).

Psocid 1 Psocid 2

Species are best differentiated by their abdominal structure and antennae. Without a better (more magnified) image and info about the OP's location, identification to species is not possible. Though its small size will definitely narrow the options.

If I had to guess based on the limited detail (and my limited knowledge), I'd say it's a species in the genus Liposcelis or related genera. See Oklahoma State's ENTOPLP ID key for examples and info. I've included 2 random images of Liposcelis species for reference: the (TOP) is Liposcelis brunnea and (BOTTOM) is Liposcelis corrodens.

You can find info about prevention and removal from Oklahoma state, King's College London or the Orkin man.

UPDATE: Though I, myself, cannot identify this psocid to species, according to this KCL article, Liposcelis bostrychophila is the most likely candidate. [See here for ID notes].

Liposcelis bostrychophila

From the KCL article:

Liposcelis bostrychophila is the principal psocid pest species in the UK and in Europe. This single species, which is mainly an inhabitant of households, is responsible for virtually all of the psocid related complaints in the UK (Turner & Ali 1996)...Recent estimates are that 30% of households contain this species.

Several other small (about 1mm long), flattened, wingless liposcelid species (eg. Liposcelis corrodens, L. pearmani and L. brunnea) can become quite common in industrial sites, particularly in the summer months but are uncommon in domestic premises.

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    $\begingroup$ The insects are in the northern part of Italy. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ @AlessandroJacopson: Thanks for the location update. Though after reexamining your low-resolution photos closer I don't believe they contain the detail necessary to identify this psocid to species. I think this might be the best ID you will receive. If you're satisfied, please accept the answer. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 29, 2016 at 18:41
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with the ID (and have upvoted) but, just for the record, this could be improved by responding to "How can I get rid of them?" within the body of the answer (you use an external link for this) and also by addressing "Are these insects poisonous to humans?". $\endgroup$
    – arboviral
    Commented Sep 19, 2016 at 12:53

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