|Positive ||DisneyButterfly ||On Jun 8, 2011, DisneyButterfly from Pensacola, FL
(Zone 8b) wrote:
Just recently had a visit from these entertaining little critters. Had no idea what they were. One of our daughter in laws had a friend that helped us out.
They stayed in this cluster the entire time we watched them. They went up & down the Memosa tree. If the lead critter moved right...the rest followed. Same if the leader went left. They just kept going zig zag up and down the tree, all together in this cluster. Really cool to watch them, but have no idea what they are??? VERY ENTERTAINING...my husband & I sat watching them for a long time.
Archipsocus nomas is a webbing barklouse and not in the true lice group. They are more closely related to the little booklice that you surprise when rummaging through old books. This is a communal web-spinning barklouse. During some years they make extensive silken webs that often cover the trunks and branches of live oaks in the southeastern U.S. The webs are believed to protect the barklice from predators. To some, the glistening webs are unsightly, but neither the barklice nor the webs will cause any harm to trees. This is referred to as a NBD, “ no big deal” bug. These insects are scavengers, cleaning the bark of lichens, fungi and dead animal and plant matter. The adult barklice are brownish-black and approximately ¼ inch long. The immature stage or nymphs, are brownish-gray and resemble the adults, except they are wingless. The adults and nymphs feed in a group. When the webbing is disturbed they scatter rapidly as a group and are referred to, in the older literature, as tree cattle because of this herding behavior. There are several generations that overlap. Webbing usually becomes noticeable in July and may become more extensive through October as the colony grows in size.