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Mr. Smarty Plants - Webs on tree trunk, probably bark lice

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Wednesday - August 19, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Webs on tree trunk, probably bark lice
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

webs on tree trunk and creeping up. See no spiders or worms. what could be. very fine, thick web

ANSWER:

This sounds like webs from barklice that are eating fungus and lichens on the bark of your tree.  They aren't lice at all, but are insects in a group called Psocids.  Although there are members of this group that are considered pests (e.g., booklice) the bark lice don't harm the tree—in fact, they are beneficial since they are cleaning up the bark.  We had a question a while back about webbing on a iive oak in Austin.  Here is the link to the answer where you can learn more about bark lice.
 

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