Webs on Oak Tree

Picture of oak tree with webbing caused by bark lice insects.

Photo By: Langlois, Page

We just noticed these webs going up our oak tree. Can you tell me what is causing this and how to get rid of it? Thank you.

- Barbara W.

Midsummer into fall is the time of the year when silvery webbing appears on the bark of trees. These webs are caused by tiny insects called bark lice which are common in Louisiana. The small, soft bodied creatures are about 3 to 6 millimeters in length, live under the webbing and may or may not have wings.

The proper name for these insects is psocids. The webbing they produce on the trunk and branches is to protect them from environmental conditions and predators. The webbing looks alarming as it spreads on the tree from the ground to the upper branches.

Here’s the good news; bark lice are in no way harmful to the trees. These insects feed on organic debris lodged in the bark such as molds, pollen, fragments of dead insects and similar materials.

They will be active until fall (they usually go away around October, if not before), and once the bark lice begin to die, the webbing will break up and disappear. They will not injure your trees, and no control is necessary.

If you can’t stand the appearance of the webbing, you can sweep it off with a broom or blast it off with water. Most of us just leave them alone and let them clean off the bark of the tree.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

6/20/2015 4:26:24 AM
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