Currently viewing the category: "Booklice and Barklice"
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Subject: Question from my 5-year old son
Location: Florida
June 3, 2015 12:42 pm
Dear Bugman,
We saw these bugs on a tree. It was in our yard. What are they? We live Florida. Winter park. We saw them yesterday.
(Mom who typed this adds: They were swarming in several locations on that tree. They were all about the size of a kid’s fingernail. No flying just grouping together. Hadn’t seen them there before. My son really loves bugs and our goal this summer, being fairly new to florida, is to find and identify as many as we can. We couldn’t find these in a guidebook. Pic attached! THank you I advance!)
Signature: From Declan

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Dear Declan,
These immature Barklice,
Cerastipsocus venosus, are commonly called Tree Cattle, and though they may look like an injurious species, they are actually quite benign, feeding on lichens that grow on the trees and not in any way harming the trees themselves.  Adult Tree Cattle have wings.  You can read more about Tree Cattle on BugGuide.

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fly?…
Location: Houston
April 30, 2015 10:58 am
Hello bugman,
I noticed a large cluster of flying bugs of some sort on my tree today. 2 groups. From a distance they appear black, like large gnats? Up close they’ve got 6 legs it appears, long antennae, and wings. The wings are a very detailed combination of black and gray colors, outlined in white with a white solitary spot. Very beautiful looking up close. Just not sure if these are invasive /destructive to my tree/garden and wanted to check what they were. The closest thing I’ve been able to find is a picture winged fly but there are so many I wasn’t sure. I have a video as well if you’d like it. You’re help is truly appreciated!
Signature: Alma

Barklice

Barklice

Dear Alma,
These benign Barklice,
Cerastipsocus venosus, might appear alarming when they are seen clustering on a prized tree in the yard, but gardeners have no cause for alarm.  Barklice feed on lichens, and they will not harm your tree.  Barklice are sometimes called Tree Cattle.  Your image is of winged adults.  Wingless Barklice nymphs are boldly striped.  We just realized it is the first of May and we need to select a new Bug of the Month, so we have selected your excellent image of Tree Cattle as the featured posting of the month.

You guys are AWESOME! I can’t thank you enough for your help and information!!!  I’m a huge science fan so I love exploring and trying to figure out what things are. I also know how busy you guys must get, so I will definitely be helping with a donation. I also let people know about your site when they are trying to figure out bugs. If you ever need help for rebranding/redesigning let me know (I’m a professional graphic designer). I’m happy to help if you need it!
You have a great weekend!
Alma Soto

Thanks for the offer Alma.  We got our start many years ago on the now defunct American Homebody site, and we still prefer our homey look to the more high tech sites.

I can most certainly understand and respect that!
For what you guys do… It actually works.
Again thank you guys so much for your help, and prompt response. i’ve made sure to tell all my friends about you guys, and have already tweeted you out. :) you guys have helped me before I remembered for a bug I experienced when we lived on job assignment on Venezuelan Penninsula that they call pachaco – it was I found out thanks do you guys a Solifugae (all I could remember was that their body looked like a cross between an ant, spider and an earwigi- they were fierce looking, fast, and scared the living daylights out of me). so again, thank you guys for all you do!
Alma

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What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: can’t indentify insect
Location: South Texas
April 17, 2015 3:32 pm
Hello,
I live in West Columbia Texas and found these bugs outside. I’ve searched for an hour and cannot find what it is. Help?
Thanks
Signature: Travis

Barklice

Barklice

Dear Travis,
These Barklice, Cerastipsocus venosus, are benign creatures that feed on fungus and lichens.  They are generally found living on trees, and though they do not damage the trees, they might be a sign that the tree has health problems causing the growth of fungus that the Barklice are feeding upon.  Barklice are commonly called Tree Cattle.

Barklice

Barklice

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Subject: Tiny insects
Location: Quebec, Canada
April 12, 2015 8:48 pm
Hi. I have been finding these tiny bugs in our new condo. I find them on baseboards, windowsills and around our electric breaker box. They are very small (1-4 millimeters, I would say), and are easier to spot with a flashlight. I have found about 50 of them over a 4 week period.
Signature: Concerned

Booklouse

Booklouse

Dear Concerned,
You are being concerned unnecessarily because of this Booklouse, probably a member of the genus
Lipocelis based on this BugGuide image.  According to the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology:  “Booklice feed primarily on microscopic fungi and mold. Therefore, they are most often found in damp, dark areas. Such places may include basements, crawlspaces, kitchens, leaky plumbing, unvented storage areas, and around over-watered houseplants. They may also show up in recently built homes where they entered during construction and were enclosed in a wall after siding and sheetrock were installed. … Booklice are often associated with old books or other papers that are stored in damp conditions. These conditions promote the growth of mold or fungi on the pastes and glues of book bindings. They may also be found in food goods stored in humid conditions that support mold development. While their presence can cause great annoyance, they rarely cause significant damage to items.”

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Subject: Beetle w/ yellow horizontal stripes

Location: Little Rock, AR US
October 29, 2014 8:45 am
I cut down a small dead tree in our yard the other day and these little beetles were everywhere. they’d swarm together in groups and make their way up and down the tree after i disturbed them.
Signature: Tim

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Dear Tim,
These are not beetles.  They are benign, immature Bark Lice, commonly called Tree Cattle.  They are often associated with dead and dying trees because they feed on lichens and fungus, but they do not harm living trees.
  Mature Bark Lice have black wings that cover the striped bodies.

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Daniel,
Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.
I left the critters alone.  Wasn’t sure if they were the cause of the problem or not, but it’s nice to know they weren’t.
It was interesting, watching them scurrying around on the tree in large, but  separate groups.
Thanks again for taking the time to answer my question and help in identifying them.
-=tim

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Creepy Tree Bugs
Location: Abingdon, Virginia
September 20, 2014 2:29 pm
My 7-year-old was climbing a dogwood tree in our front yard when she suddenly started shrieking. She said there were bugs everywhere, and there were stains on her shirt where she had squished several. Once I got her down, I examined the tree and found this pile of little beasties. It is mid-September, and we are in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. She has climbed this tree in all seasons, but we haven’t seen these bugs before. They freaked her out pretty bad. What are they? Also, are they harmful? Thanks!
Signature: Staying Out of Trees for Awhile

Bark Lice

Bark Lice

Dear Staying Out of Trees for Awhile,
We hope we can mitigate any trauma your daughter experienced because of her encounter with these Bark Lice,
Cerastipsocus venosus.  Let her know that Bark Lice, which are sometimes called Tree Cattle, are benign creatures that are not harming the tree, though their presence might be symptomatic of a tree health issue.  Bark Lice feed on lichens and fungus, and sometimes older trees have fungus and lichens present.  The Bark Lice will not bite or otherwise harm humans.  See BugGuide and this University of Florida pdf for additional information on Bark Lice.

A herd of Tree Cattle, AKA Bark Lice

A herd of Tree Cattle, AKA Bark Lice

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination