Bark Lice

barklice1I get dozens of calls on the GardenLine during the summer asking, “What’s that eerie, silky web covering the trunk of my tree?”

First, don’t panic: it's bark lice, a beneficial insect and not a threat to the tree in any way. And just as mysteriously as the web appeared on your tree, it will disappear within a couple of weeks.

The bark lice phenomenon occurs suddenly and frequently overnight. You walk out to get the morning paper and there it is. Just yesterday, that same tree looked perfectly normal.barklice2

The bark louse's favorite target is rough-barked hardwoods. The little critters are beneficial because they scour the bark for fungi, spores, pollen, lichen and other debris. While dining, they spin a web for protection. Once they are done with a tree, the web usually disintegrates within a week.

Bottom line: you don’t need to do anything. In fact, if you try to spray the web with an insecticide, it will bounce right off.

Randy Lemmon is the host of the GardenLine radio program on Newsradio 740 KTRH. Randy has been doing GardenLine in one capacity or another since December of 1995, for all three of the now Clear Channel AM stations - KTRH, KPRC & KBME. When Randy took over GardenLine, he replaced long-time Houston radio veteran and GardenLine originator, Bill Zak. For those who remember that far back, GardenLine was a weekly radio staple on KTRH from 10 a.m. to Noon Mondays through Fridays - along with a Saturday show as well. Now GardenLine is heard exclusively on Newsradio 740 KTRH on weekend mornings.