Barklice, More Bark, than Bite

Jr. Batty  |  6/26/2012 7:35:14 PM

Webbing from barklice Photo provided by LSU AgCenter

Tree covered with webbing from barklice Photo provided by UGA

Barklice in a cluster Photo provided by UGA

Many trees in St. Tammany are being covered with a web like material recently. The web like growth is produced by a cluster of small insects called Barklice.

Barklice are small, most often wingless, soft bodied insects that are in the Psocoptera insect order. Although they resemble aphids and are called “lice,” neither the webbing nor the insects cause any damage. The webbing is produced by the insect as protection from predators. The webbing typically covers only the bark on trees, the main trunk, branches and the ground area of the roots. No leaves will be covered due to the barklice.

The insect feeds on decaying bark, algae and lichen. The cob web materials usually appear in late August to early September. This year however the “ghostly” look has come early due to our early spring and long periods of high humidity

The barklice and its webbing cause no harm and no control is necessary. If webbing is a concern just brush it off with a broom or use a high pressure stream of water. The insect is really “more bark, than bite.”

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