Saturday, June 30, 2007

You never know what will be there

June is such a lovely time; I almost hate to say goodbye to it today.
In Kingwood, all the intersection plantings are just lovely right now. This one is the turn off to my house, it took me several tries to remain stopped long enough to get a picture without another car coming from any direction. It actually is part of a set, there are similar plantings on the sides of the road.
Around our place, affectionately known as the Circle Huh?!? Ranch, we have yet another visitor. Or should I say visitors. The tree by the front door is infested with bark lice.
One day it was just fine, the next day there was a sheet of web covering the whole tree from trunk to tip. Bernie spotted it first and ran a sample down to our local garden center, which is staffed by Master Gardeners, certified experts in horticulture.

They were delighted for us!

Bark lice are completely harmless. Colonies of the lice swarm onto southern coastal area hardwood trees, usually at summer's end. Our colony is early, but doing a magnificent job of turning our tree into a spook's delight. If you peel back the sheeting, you can see lots and lots of tiny beetle shaped bugs, about as big as a pencil lead, moving in synchronized waves. One peek was enough for me. Yuck!

Once the bark lice have consumed all aphids and other tiny insects on the tree's bark, they de-camp and move on, leaving the tree healthier than it was before in terms of parasites.

They have already started on our Bradford pear tree by the garage.
Guess they like us. And we should consider ourselves to be blessed by their presences.
I'm trying not to be prejudicial here, but I think I'd rather be blessed with lady bugs.

5 comments:

Laura said...

That is so gross. Now I'm going to have nightmares. Thanks, Mom!

Julie said...

I GUESS I'm happy for you...but your bark lice leave me feeling maybe the cure is worse than the 'disease' !!
How weird it looks...and all in ONE day??? I have never heard of such a thing!
At least they gave you interesting subject matter for a post, right?? chuckle
Maybe they were jealous of the media attention you were giving the racoon....but I do prefer Rocky!!

Lovella said...

Um, could you bring a small jar of your aphid eating bugs along when you come to Canada? Maybe just hide them in your unmentionable bag . .so as not to alert the horticultural folks here. Every year . .late in summer we seem to have an influx of aphids. Should work out just dandy. They don't eat the leaves, at all?

I love the red on the blog. It's so bright and cheery.

Kathy said...

Wow. I've never seen anything like it! I've seen webs in trees but they were no good. This unique and creepy mess is good for the tree. Well, I love trees so I'm happy for you - but if I was visiting, I wouldn't lean my back against the tree while we visited :)

Kate said...

We had those in Friendswood once. That web will be gone with the first good rain. Perhaps they suffer with a bad name. Bark lice! Why not Petit Bark Beetles or Angel Hair Beetles. Lice - yuck! Good for the trees tho' since aphids suck the life out of plants. Never a dull moment when it comes to bugs in the garden.
Kate Q:-)