Herd of insects
This was taken Sept 13th, 2007 at about 6:00 pm in central Virginia on a maple tree. The insects were a half inch long and kept together in a herd. My daughter separated one for a closer look and when we put it back and it realized it’s herd was there, it ran back into the group like a baby duck. Thanks
J.

Dear J,
We love the way your descriptive letter supports the common name of Tree Cattle which we just discovered. Commonly known as Bark Lice, these communal insects are not injurious to trees. We just located a website that mentions the other common name, Tree Cattle. The site also quotes and article by Larry Williams, which state: ” The tiny insects that make the webbing are called psocids (pronounced so-cids). They have numerous common names including tree cattle and bark lice. Basically, they feed on lichen, moss, algae, fungi, spores, pollen and possibly the remains of other insects found on the tree’s bark. As a result are sometimes referred to as bark cleaners. ” Your specimens appear to be the genus Cerastipsocus as evidenced by BugGuide.

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