Bark Lice On Tree: What Is Bark Lice?
The term “bark” is used to refer to a group of insects that are commonly known as “louse”. They belong to the family Culicidae (tree lice). There are two subfamilies, Ixodidae and Dermacentridae. All members of these families have three pairs of legs, antennae, four eyes and no wings. Their bodies are covered with small hairs called setae. The males have a long proboscis, which they use to inject their eggs into the female’s body. The females lay one egg per day during the first week after mating. After hatching, they live only for about a month before dying from dehydration or starvation.
How To Get Rid Of Bark Lice On Tree?
There are several methods to get rid of bark lice on tree. The most common method is to apply insecticide. Insecticides are chemicals that kill bugs, but not insects themselves. Some insecticides contain ingredients such as pyrethroids and organophosphates, which are highly toxic to humans and other mammals. Other types of pesticides include carbamates, chlorpyrifos, diazinon and permethrin. These insecticides may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
If you can not afford to use insecticides, treat your tree with a biological control agent. These are natural organisms that kill pests but are safe for humans and other mammals.
Common examples include the release of beneficial insects and parasites that attack the bark lice, such as lacewings, ladybugs, and tent caterpillars.
There are some non-chemical methods to get rid of bark lice on tree. The simplest way is to just prune your tree.
Dead and dying branches provide support for these insects.
How To Identify Bark Lice?
The bark lice are a group of insects similar in appearance to seed ticks. They are oval-shaped, flat and about 1/20 of an inch long (about the size of a speck of dust). They have six short legs and are brownish-red in color.
How Do You Get Bark Lice?
Bark lice are found in wooded areas. They can be transported to other locations (such as your home) on infested firewood, lumber, tree stumps and even garden plants. They can also be spread by animals and people. The best way to avoid getting bark lice is to not touch infested items and wash your hands.
What Do Bark Lice Look Like?
Bark lice are small and brown in color. They have six short legs and look like tiny ticks. In fact, if you magnify them 400 times, they do look very much like ticks.
Where Are Bark Lice Found?
Bark lice are arthropods, which means they have an external skeleton and jointed legs. They live in trees and shrubs.
What Do Bark Lice Eat?
A female bark louse lays around 40 eggs in the fall. After they hatch, the young feed on the sap of the trees, along with their eggs. As summer turns to fall, these bugs stop feeding and hide in cracks and crevasses of the tree bark. They are usually inactive during the winter. In the spring, when the trees begin to bud, they wake up and start feeding again.
Are Bark Lice Dangerous?
Bark lice are mostly a nuisance. They don’t spread any diseases to people or animals. Although they can cause damage to trees and shrubs by draining them of nutrients, the worst that can happen is a branch or two may die.
How To Get Rid Of These Pests?
There are many ways to get rid of bark lice. It is best to call a professional and let them decide which treatment method is most effective. Some of these treatments include:
Systemic insecticides (applied to the soil)
Synthetic pyrethroids (similar to those used for mosquitoes)
Biological control using a parasitic wasp
High-pressure water sprays
How To Prevent These Pests?
The most effective way to prevent bark lice is to make sure trees and shrubs are healthy and strong. Proper watering, limbing up and mulching will discourage these insects from taking up residence on your property. Also, avoid moving firewood, as it may contain these insects. Finally, keep an eye out for signs of infestation and contact a professional pest control operator if you think you have bark lice.
If you are concerned about these type of pests or have questions, we encourage you to contact your local cooperative extension office.
These are just basic guidelines, before using any pesticide, please read the label and follow all safety instructions and precautions.
Sources & references used in this article:
Psocids: Barklice and Booklice by TA Dellinger, ER Day – 2015 – vtechworks.lib.vt.edu
A Webbing Barklouse, A Psocid, Archipsocus nomas Gurney (Insecta: Psocoptera: Archipsocidae) by DW Hall, JF Butler – Citeseer
INHS Reports, Winter 2010 by EL Effert, DH Wahl, E Bess, K Johnson… – INHS Reports, no …, 2010 – ideals.illinois.edu
Common Insects of Texas and Surrounding States: A Field Guide by J Abbott, K Abbott – 2020 – books.google.com
Insect pests of nursery and ornamental trees and shrubs in Oregon by J Schuh, DC Mote – 1948 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu
Insects of Texas: a practical guide by DH Kattes – 2009 – books.google.com
Association of spiders and lichen on Robben Island, South Africa: a case report by A Mukherjee, B Wilske, RA Navarro… – … of Threatened Taxa, 2010 – threatenedtaxa.org
A field guide to common Texas insects by JA Jackman, BM Drees – 1998 – books.google.com
Life beneath silk walls: a review of the primitively social Embiidina by EP Felt – 1924 – Macmillan