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Bark Lice
A bak lice web attached to a tree trunkWhat It Is
Here’s one type of lice that won’t make you lose your hair. Bark lice (archipsocus nomas) are commonly seen making happy homes in Missouri City trees during the warm, summer months. Most commonly noticed on live oaks, bark lice are usually identified by their wide-spreading, silky web that can cover large areas of trunks and branches. The insect itself is very small (less that 1/8-inch long) and lives in colonies underneath the web. The web protects the insects from predators.

What It Does
Don’t let bark lice scare you- they have a beneficial job to do on your tree. Bark lice actually clean your tree by eating algae, fungi, dead plant tissue, and dead insects. They even consume their own web at the end of the season.

Enlarged photo of adult bark lice (photo taken by Dave Shetlar)How to Treat It
Though these insects won’t harm humans, pest, or trees, some folks dislike the appearance of the web. Texas Agrilife Extension explains that spraying soapy water or insecticide on the web areas can kill the bark lice. Breaking the web or spraying with just water might instigate these insects to rebuild an even bigger web.