Thursday, June 24, 2010

Was Christo here?

Senior Extension Specialist, Andy Wilson

If the trunks of some of the trees in your yard look as if the artist Christo had wrapped them in Christmas angel hair you can probably thank psocids or webbing barklice. Psocids (Archipsocus nomas) are small, harmless insects that feed on lichens that live on the trunks of trees. They produce a tight, silk-like webbing to protect themselves from the elements while they feed. Although the webbing can look quite eerie, psocids do no harm whatsoever to the tree they’re on and no control is needed. Eventually the webbing will weather away.

Those seeing the webbing produced by psocids for the first time may fear that that it’s being caused by caterpillars that will feed on the tree’s leaves. Just remember that the webs of psocids will be against the bark and will not normally cover any leaves while fall webworm, a common leaf-feeding caterpillar on pecan, sweetgum and several other kinds of trees produces webs that encase groups of leaves.

Click here for psocid fact sheet.

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