Invasion of Barklice is Lucky Just Like Having Ladybugs!

Barklice are Good Guys!

I will never forget the first time I saw a mass grouping of insects like this on our oak tree in our Houston garden some years ago! There seemed to be hundreds of them and I became worried as to what kind of damage they would inflict.

Invasion of barklice is good!


See how barklice move in masses in this video:


Large swarms of barklice can be viewed in the video to the right on the bark of a crape myrtle tree.

Doing some research it turns out that this is one of two different types of barklice that occasionally appear in our Houston and Galveston, Texas landscapes as well as elsewhere.

This larger soft bodied one which appears in large groupings consumes smaller bugs, algae and dead material on the trunks of trees without harming the tree at all.

Think of them as an efficient maid service using vacuum cleaners cleaning the surfaces of the tree. Where they congregate and move...the tree is better off for having had their visits. And the best part...all of this is done free of charge! There will be no cleaning bill presented when they leave.

Bark LIce: A Tree's Built-In Cleaning Crew

Barklice with her eggs

Barklice with her eggs
Barklice with her eggs | Source

Barklice Webbing

A smaller type of barklice works under a silky white webbing which encases the trunk while they do their same scouring type of work. The cobweb type webbing eventually disappears on its own.

The white webbing looks a bit like spider webs but thicker. The small barklice lay their eggs under this webbing. Eventually when the young barklice are ready to move on to other locations, the webbing is eaten.

Prior to that any algae on the tree or other sources of food will have been scoured from all the nooks and crannies of the bark.

So fear not if you see the quarter inch sized Cerastipsocus venosus ones as featured in the picture at the top of this page or the smaller barklice called Archipsocus nomas appearing under those white webs.

They are small but powerful scavenger insects that are truly beneficial. We should lay out the red carpet for them!

You can see the more mature barklice in this video below and learn even more about them.

Bark Lice

Ladybug & aphids

Ladybug will be eating these aphids.
Ladybug will be eating these aphids. | Source

Do you have ladybugs in your garden?

  • I often see them in our garden.
  • I sometimes see them visiting our garden.
  • I seldom see them.
See results without voting

Beneficial Insects...Barklice & Ladybugs

Some people might consider the webbing on trees from barklice to be unsightly. If that is the case water under high pressure from a hose might be able to eliminate the webs. However...knowing how beneficial barklice truly are to a might alter your perception of any webbing found on your trees.

I know that I will be welcoming them in the future should they appear on any of our trees. It is too bad that they cannot be purchased and introduced to our landscapes just like ladybugs.

People can easily purchase ladybugs! Those type of insects feed on aphids and scale which can be detrimental to plants in home gardens or vast fields of agriculture. In fact I just checked on Amazon and for $19 about 1,500 live ladybugs could be purchased! They even sell ladybug habitats, ladybug attractants and ladybug nectar.

Worldwide...ladybugs are a symbol of luck!

My grandpa taught me about the value of having ladybugs in a garden. Every time I see one I am happy. I remember the times I spent wandering in my grandpa's garden when I was a youngster. It brings back fond childhood memories for me. His love of gardening also helped to feed our family good nutritious food on a year round basis.

Grandpa used organic gardening methods as a matter of course. I don't ever remember him using chemicals in his garden. Pesticides kill beneficial insects as well as the bad guys. It is much better to have ladybugs eating aphids than using chemicals on ridding aphids from plants in a garden.

If anyone ever decides to sell barklice...there would undoubtedly be a market for them as there currently is for ladybugs!

Facts about Ladybugs

Did you know about barklice before reading this post?

  • Yes, I have had barklice and knew about how beneficial they are.
  • No...I had never even heard about barklice.
  • I had heard the name barklice but now know more about them.
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© 2016 Peggy Woods

More by this Author


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 10 days ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Shyron,

Yes...barklice are good. So are preying mantis. They are both beneficial predators. Between working on my own website and checking the hundreds of ones on HP for discontinued eBay capsules...I have not written much new on here for a time. Hope all is well with you.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 13 days ago

Hello my friend, I have missed you. I wish you had told me about the barklice a long time ago, maybe they could have eaten the fire ants at the base of my trees. Thank you for this valuable information.

Do you know anything about the praying mantis?

Blessings and hugs dear friend.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 weeks ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Glenis Rix,

That must have been quite the invasion of ladybugs! Like you...I generally like letting nature take its course but do like keeping some insects at bay particularly if affecting our garden or house. Hope you discover something that works in your battle with the ants.

Glenis Rix profile image

Glenis Rix 4 weeks ago from UK

We have wood lice in our garden which look quite similar, so they may be the same creature with a different name. I recall that around 30 years ago there was a plague of ladybirds in England - so many that they covered the windscreen of my car.

Generally, I prefer to let nature take it's course -but how I hate the infestation of ants in my garden and the brickwork of the house! I've tried all of the common remedies and don't think I will ever manage to reduce the numbers.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 weeks ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Frank,

Happy to hear that reading this sparked your curiosity about barklice. Isn't the Internet fascinating! :)

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