Tree Cattle we believe

Insect Colony on Pine Tree
Location: Millville, PA
July 16, 2011 1:45 pm
It’s a hot July day in central PA. I discovered several colonies of a tiny insect on a pine tree. Each colony had hundreds of bugs. About 1/8” long, the predominant color is a series of yellow-gold stripes across the back. The body looks gray or black. There are long antennae that are pointed at the ends. They don’t seem to fly. Would like to know what this is, and if it is bad for our tree!
Signature: alice

probably Bark Lice

Dear alice,
We cannot make out the detail in your image, but we suspect these are benign Tree Cattle, a common name for Bark Lice that we really like.  They feed on lichen growing on the tree and they will not harm the tree.  See this posting from our archive to compare:  2010/06/13/tree-cattle-barklice/

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