Tree Cattle

tree cattleFor the past few days we have noticed “patches” of bugs which at first glance look to be an area of black tar about 4-5 inches in diameter, on our crepes, oak, and holly trees. Upon closer examination we found lots of mosquito size insects on the tree bark (mostly on the trunk of the trees) in a mass moving around quite rapidly. Then they disappear from that area and appear somewhere else on the bark of the tree. So we captured a few and took them up to “Pensacola Weed and Seed” for expert advice.

They were identified as Tree Cattle or Bark lice. They clean the bark of trees removing lichen, boring bugs, other mold, etc . As they finish one patch they move to the next. How neat is that? And of course they are a part of the food chain for frogs, chameleons, and the like. So, while it’s something new to us a bit weird to stumble upon, it’s a good thing!

Cheryl Pyle, 4/14/2012

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