Currently viewing the category: "Booklice and Barklice"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Group of small greenstriped bugs on a tree
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick Canada
August 9, 2014 7:59 pm
I found this group on bugs all grouped together on a tree in my yard. I thin its an ash or an oakWhat are these bastards?
Signature: Jonathan Bowie

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Dear Jonathan,
Since neither the church nor the state recognizes marriage between “bugs” or any other lower beasts for that matter, these Barklice or Tree Cattle cannot have been conceived out of wedlock.  Though they look potentially problematic, Tree Cattle are benign creatures that feed on lichen and fungus, and they will cause no harm to your trees, neither ash nor oak nor any other species.

Dear Daniel,
Please excuse my late reply. Many thanks for this information!
Have a great weekend,
Jonathan Bowie

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What are these bugs and do we need to remove them??
Location: Southern Louisiana
August 2, 2014 3:33 pm
Hi! my husband was working on the trees in our yard and found these bugs on one of our crepe myrtles and on a live oak tree. Both trees are on the north side of the house. The other crepe myrtle, on the southern side, and the two nuttal oaks, in the front yard, do not seem to have these bugs (at least not that we’ve found).
They are in clusters and from a distance look like black patches on the bark. I’ve included two pics, one is a close up shot the other is a bit farther away. The ones I saw were moving and they moved together.
Hope you can help!
Signature: Mandy

Tree Cattle

Tree Cattle

Dear Mandy,
Though they look highly problematic, these Barklice or Tree Cattle in the genus
Cerastipsocus, and most likely Cerastipsocus venosus, are harmless, benign insects that feed upon lichens.  From the look of your image, there is an ample food source for them on the trunk of the tree.  We are highly intrigued by your comment that they “were moving and they moved together” because they indicates they move like a herd.  We cannot recall having researched the origin of the common name Tree Cattle, and that seems like a very good rationale for the name.  According to Michigan State University Extension:  “Tree cattle, Cerastipsocus venosus (Psocoptera: Psocidae) are large barklice and get their common name from their habit of forming large colonies that move about in unison (much like a herd of cattle, I guess). Tree cattle are harmless and no cause for concern.  According to University of Florida Horticulture:  “Suring some years they make extensive silken webs that often cover the trunks and branches of live oaks in the southeastern U.S.  The webs are believed to protect the barklice from predators.  To some, the glistening webs are unsightly, but neither the barklice nor the webs will cause any harm to trees.  This is referred to as a NBD, ‘no big deal’ bug.  these insects are scavengers, cleaning the bark of lichens, fungi and dead animal and plant matter.  The adult barklice are brownish-black and approximately 1/4 inch long.  the immature stage or nymphs, are brownish-gray and resemble the adults, except they are wingless.  The adults and nymphs feed in a group.  When the webbing is disturbed they scatter rapidly as a group and are referred to, in the older literature, as tree cattle because of this herding behavior.”  According to the Galveston County Master Gardeners Beneficials in the Garden site:  “The term ‘lice’ as part of the common name of these tree dwellers is quite misleading as these insects are neither parasitic nor louse-like in appearance. Upon being informed of the identification of this insect, the typical response of a gardener is a widening of the eyes and other momentary indications of being aghast! Our Galveston County Extension Horticulture Agent advises us to precede the identification with a notation of  ‘Congratulations, you have beneficial insects in your landscape!’  When disturbed, Cerastipsocus venosus exhibits the fascinating behavior of moving en masse, somewhat like a flock of sheep or herd of cattle. They may also temporarily scatter when suddenly disturbed, only rejoin again as a “herd.” Not surprisingly, they are also known as “bark cattle” or “tree cattle.” Barklice are most often noticed on smooth-barked shrubs and trees such as crape myrtle and on oaks although they occur on a variety of hardwood ornamental plants (we have seen them on Bradford pear).”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Wtb?
Location: Delaware
June 28, 2014 5:35 am
I have found a swarm on my oak tree in delaware. I’m attaching a video and photo. Should I try to get rid of them? They look harmless but I don’t want to lose my tree that is holding up the treehouse.
Signature: Robin

Barklice

Barklice

Hi Robin,
As you have surmised, these Barklice,
Cerastipsocus venosus, are harmless, despite the alarming appearance of being an infestation.  Barklice, also called Tree Cattle, feed on lichens and they are benign, hence they will not cause harm to the tree or the folks using your treehouse.

Thank you! That was very informative and helpful!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bug identification
Location: Bandung, Indonesia.
April 7, 2014 2:20 pm
North west Bandung, Indonesia.
Adjacent to a small stream. Altitude 1000m. Towards end of wet season.
Location – Lat: -6.8468, Long: 107.5815
Found feeding on a leaf, but not on the leaf itself, some kind of deposit. When I disturbed the leaf, the bugs did not take flight, just scrambled about.
Size – small, about 6mm long. My first thought was a fly, but the antennae don’t seem right. Also there is no visible ‘drumstick’. A group of 3 ocelli are visible, so this rules out moth. The bugs were not bothered by my intrusion, so this rules out wasps. The eyes are small, indicating a nocturnal bug. The time was 09:11 (dawn 05:30).
Hope you can help.
Dave
Signature: Vodkaman

Barklice, we believe

Barklice, we believe

Dear Vodkaman,
These creatures resemble North American Barklice in the suborder Psocomorpha, and armed with that information, we did locate a similar looking Barklouse image on the Potokito Myshot Blog, but we have not been able to locate any other images to substantiate our supposition.  That individual, which is not an exact match to your images, is classified as:  “Suborder : Psocomorpha, Infraorder : Caeciliusetae, Family : Caeciliusidae – Lizard Barklice, Genus :
Valenzuela.“  According to BugGuide:  “Barklice feed on lichens and fungi on tree bark.”  We will try to do additional research on your request.

Barklouse, we believe

Barklouse, we believe

Barklice, we believe

Barklice, we believe

 

  

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please help identify bug ASAP
Location: Maui, Hawaii
February 14, 2014 12:25 pm
I have 3 small children and worry if its something bad i found these little bugs on a wood little chest my son got from a yard sale
Signature: Jen

Booklouse

Booklouse

Hi Jen,
These appear to be Booklice, and they are benign, though if conditions are right, they can be numerous and a nuisance.  You can read more about Booklice on the Penn State University Entomology page where it states:  “Booklice feed on molds and will overrun cereals and similar materials that support mold growth. Their presence, therefore, is a nuisance and can render some foods unfit. The starchy paste of wallpaper and books also can support mold growth or may be attacked directly by booklice. Outside of annoyance, their damage is insignificant.”

Booklouse

Booklouse

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Curious bug to be identified
Location: Singapore
January 9, 2014 2:42 am
Hi guys,
My friend recently found this bug in his Drosophila culture bottle and we are curious in its identity and, perhaps, why is it doing in that bottle. Random chance or looking for food?
The body length of this bug is around 1mm. Got a few images with the microscope and it does look odd to us. Can’t even be sure if it is a Dipteran, as its hind wings are not completely absent (Image 3, though it may be a bit hard to see).
Looking forward to your reply. Thank you.
Regards,
Nsh
Signature: Nsh

Psocid

Psocid

Dear Nsh,
We hope you are content with a tentative identification to the Order level.  We believe this is a Psocid in the order Psocodea, a group that includes Barklice, Booklice and Parasitic Lice.  You can find many examples on BugGuide.  We would eliminate the subgroup that includes the Parasitic Lice, but we cannot say for certain if this is a Booklouse or a Barklouse.  According to BugGuide:  “barklice are always found outdoors, and occupy a wide variety of habitats; booklice often live in homes” and “Barklice feed on lichens and fungi on tree bark, booklice are best known for feeding on the starch in book bindings.”  Since there is probably starch in your friend’s Drosophila culture bottle, a Booklouse would be a likely candidate, however BugGuide does not picture any winged Booklice from the family Liposcelididae.  Your photos are excellent and we are sure an expert will have no trouble providing a more specific identification, however our staff is not capable of that task.  If pressed for a more focused identification, we would guess this might be a Tropical Barklouse in the family Amphientomidae, based again on photos posted to bugGuide.  We do not believe your friend needs to worry about this Psocid infesting the culture, though it would be curious to know how this little guy ended up there in the first place.

Psocid

Psocid

Psocid

Psocid

 

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination