Barklice are most often noticed on smooth-barked shrubs and trees such as crape myrtle and young oaks although they occur on a variety of hardwood ornamental plants.
Barklice do not feed on living plants. The only "damage" they cause is the concern shown over their presence by alarmed amateur gardeners. Archipsocus nomas sometimes spins enough silk to detract from the appearance of infested trees.
Barklice sometimes occur in dense groups on the bark of ornamental trees, occasionally in large numbers. When disturbed, they often move en masse somewhat like a flock of sheep.[FreeQuickTime Player](They are sometimes called "bark cattle.") Barklice feed on lichens, decaying organic matter, dead insects, molds, fungi and pollen. They do not harm living plants. Cerastipsocus venosus roams freely about on the bare bark. Archipsocus nomas spins a silken web under which these barklice develop. Recently emerged adults develop through a teneral period in which the wings expand and harden. Then there is a period of celibacy. After a sometimes elaborate courtship dance, barklice copulate during which a spermatophore is transferred to the female. Archipsocus nomas males transfer a solid spermatophore. Cerastipsocus venosus males are thought to transfer a liquid spermatophore. Females lay eggs from which hatch nymphs. Nymphs gradually develop through four to six instars before molting into adults. Barklice probably overwinter as eggs in North Carolina. Both adults and nymphs congregate to feed, and in the case of Archipsocus nomas, to build the communal web.
Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.
ENT/ort-043 December 2000
revised June, 2004
Web page last reviewed January, 2011 by Art Vandolay.