One day you come outside and notice the oak tree in your yard has white webbing covering most of its trunk and some branches. Your first reaction is, "What is this on my tree and how do I get rid of it?" Well most people would have that reaction, but the good news is it is an overreaction. What you are seeing is the protective webbing of psocids, commonly referred to as bark lice. Believe it or not, this is a good thing.
Bark Lice, aka Tree Cattle
Bark lice show up on trees during the summer and early part of fall. Tree cattle eat algae, mold, fungi, lichen and dead insects that are in and on your tree's exterior. Most of these food sources are plentiful when given heat and excessive humidity which is why southern Louisiana is home to large invasions of psocids. They typically feed on hard wood trees and palms. I personally believe their tree of choice is an oak tree since it is what I have seen bark lice on the most. The good news is bark lice does not do any damage to the tree. By eating these foreign objects on the hard wood trees and palms, they are actually cleaning the tree. Be sure to thank them.
How to Get Rid of Bark Lice
Bark lice will go away on their own. After they have gone, the bark lice webbing will dissolve over the next few weeks. If you just can't stand the sight of the webbing in your tree, a soapy water solution may encourage them to move along. Mix three tablespoons of dish soap per gallon of water and apply it to the infested area. If this does not work, you will have to learn to live with the tree cattle until they move on to their next tree.
GreenSeasons is glad to help with any concerns regarding your trees you may have. If you would like for us to come out and perform a tree inspection, tree pruning, tree fertilzation, tree removal, or any other tree work, just click here and we will give your a call.
If you would just like some more advice on trees, please contact us.