En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Possible webbing bark lice on oak tree

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 08, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Possible webbing bark lice on oak tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live near the Center and have a large live oak tree in our yard. Recently the lower trunk has been covered with thin, white weblike material (not sure if spider web). What could this be and is it dangerous to the tree? Should I brush off with broom or try another solution? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that your oak tree may be infested with webbing bark lice (Archipsocus nomas). Do not be alarmed. It looks rather nasty, but isn't harmful to the tree. The bark lice, which aren't really lice, are feeding on fungi, lichens and other debris on the trunk of the tree. In other words, they are cleaning your tree and, thus, are probably beneficial to it. They produce the web to protect themselves from wind, rain and predators. Here is more information Auburn University, Texas A&M and North Carolina State University. Another related species of bark iice, Cerastipsocus venosus, also commonly occurs in Texas. Here are photos of Cerastipsocus venosus. So, let them be and thank them for the cleaning service!

 

More Pests Questions

Fighting ants and bugs in Richardson TX
September 01, 2010 - Before my blue fall asters and my Clara Curtis (perennial) mums bloom in a few weeks, what can I do to help prevent the ants and other bugs from eating them to death- so I can enjoy them a bit longer ...
view the full question and answer

What causes peach fruit to ooze sap?
July 27, 2009 - I have a peach tree at our new house. The peaches are small and yellow but appeared healthy. Now it looks like they are oozing or weeping sap out of several places on each one. I dont know if its a di...
view the full question and answer

Crape myrtle in Austin
August 01, 2012 - Please don't bother to answer my question about how to treat a crepe myrtle with sticky stuff falling from it. I just found the answer on your site. Good site, by the way.
view the full question and answer

Yellow jackets on non-native crape myrtles
September 25, 2008 - Hey Mr. Smarty Plants I have only 1 question. I have several Crape Myrtles that have numerous amounts (alarming) of yellow jacket bees on them. who what where when why etc? Should I be concerned? tha...
view the full question and answer

Care of butternut trees (Juglans cinerea) with bumpy growths
June 12, 2007 - I have two small butternuts, around 3-4 feet. One has developed very 'bumpy' reddish growths on the leaves that are actually stunting their growth. What do you think it is and what can i do to sto...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center