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Bugs that Looks Like Tree Bark: Unveiling the Surprising Bug World

Dr Ahsanur Rahman, PHD

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There are many bugs that look like tree bark. Some of these bugs are harmless, while others can be dangerous. Many people believe that all bugs that look like tree bark are harmful, but this is not the case. Some of these bugs are actually quite beneficial to humans.

One of the most common questions we get here at Pest Control Central is, “What kind of bug looks like tree bark?” The answer, unfortunately, is that there are quite a few different types of insects and other arthropods that can easily be mistaken for bark. Here are just a few of the most common “bark bugs”:

  1. Cicadas – These large, winged insects are often seen resting on tree trunks or branches, and their dark coloration can make them look remarkably like pieces of bark. However, cicadas are harmless to humans and actually provide a valuable service by eating aphids and other garden pests.
  2. Bark beetles – As their name suggests, these small beetles spend much of their time boring into the bark of trees where they lay their eggs. While most species of bark beetle are not harmful to humans, some can cause serious damage to trees (particularly if they infest an entire forest).
  3. Earwigs – Another type of insect that is commonly found hiding in cracks in tree bark is the earwig. These strange-looking creatures have long bodies with pincers on their rear end, which can give them a menacing appearance (although they’re actually quite harmless).
  4. Millipedes – Often confused with centipedes (which are also sometimes mistaken for bark), millipedes are actually very different creatures altogether. Unlike centipedes, millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment and move quite slowly; however, like many other types of “bark bugs”, they do pose a threat to gardens and crops as they feed on decaying vegetation.

What Bug Looks Like a Piece of Bark?

The barklouse, or psocid, is a small insect that superficially resembles a piece of bark. Barklice are found on trees and other woody plants, where they feed on lichens, algae, and fungi. Although they are often considered nuisance pests, barklice do not cause significant damage to their host plants.

Are Bark Lice Harmful?

No, bark lice are not harmful. These small, wingless insects feed on dead skin cells and other organic matter found on the surface of tree bark. While they can be a nuisance if they become too numerous, they pose no threat to humans or animals.

What Does Bark Beetle Infestation Look Like?

Bark beetle infestation looks like small, round holes in the bark of trees. The beetles burrow into the tree to lay their eggs, and the larvae feed on the tree’s sap. This feeding can kill a tree if enough beetles are present.

Bark beetle infestation is a serious problem in many forests, as the beetles can quickly kill large numbers of trees.

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What is the Bug That Looks Like Wood?

There are a few different types of bugs that can resemble wood, so it can be tricky to identify which one you’re dealing with. Here are a few of the most common:

  1. Carpenter Ants – These ants get their name from their habit of tunneling into wood in order to build their nests. They typically prefer damp or rotting wood, so if you see them around your home, it could be a sign of moisture damage. Carpenter ants are black or red and range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long.
  2. Termites – Like carpenter ants, termites also feed on wood and can cause extensive damage to homes and other structures. They’re often hard to spot since they live underground, but you may see signs of them such as discarded wings near doors or windows (termites shed their wings after mating) or mud tubes on the outside of buildings. If you suspect termites, it’s best to call an exterminator for help.
  3. Wood-boring Beetles – There are many different types of beetles that bore into wood, including powderpost beetles, deathwatch beetles, and old house borers.

These insects can infest both softwoods and hardwoods, and they’re especially attracted to stressed or damaged wood (like that caused by water damage). Wood-boring beetle larvae tunnel through the wood as they eat, eventually causing the surface of the wood to collapse.

Tersa Sphinx Moth, Xylophanes tersa, Ellenton Florida, Manatee County, Photo by Wes

Junk Bugs

Most people are familiar with junk food, but what about junk bugs? Junk bugs are pests that infest homes and businesses, feeding on the waste we create. These pests can spread disease and cause structural damage to buildings.

Junk bugs include cockroaches, ants, rodents, and flies. Cockroaches are perhaps the most well-known of these pests, and they can be found in nearly every type of building. Ants are another common pest, and they often enter homes through cracks in foundations or walls.

Rodents like rats and mice are also attracted to the abundance of food in our garbage, and they can squeeze into tiny spaces to gain access to your home. Flies are another type of junk bug that is attracted to rotting food. You can get rid of junk bugs by keeping your home clean and free of food waste.

Store food in tightly sealed containers and dispose of garbage regularly. You may also need to contact a pest control professional if the infestation is severe.

Bark Beetle

Bark beetles are small, cylindrical insects that bore into trees and feed on the inner bark. The adults are 3–5 mm long and 2–3 mm wide. They are black or dark brown, with ridged wing covers.

The larvae are cream-colored grubs with brown heads. Most species of bark beetle prefer dead, dying, or weakened trees as hosts, but some will attack healthy trees. Trees under stress from drought, fire, flood, lightning strikes, root damage, or other injury are also more susceptible to infestation.

Once a tree is infested with bark beetles, they quickly multiply and spread to other nearby trees. As the beetles tunnel through the bark to lay their eggs, they cut off the tree’s supply of water and nutrients. This disrupts the tree’s ability to produce food for itself and defend against disease and pests.

The result is a slow decline in the tree’s health until it eventually dies. Bark beetle infestations can be difficult to control because the insects are often not detected until after they have done significant damage to the tree. Early detection is critical for successful treatment and management of these pests.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the bug that looks like tree bark?

The bug that looks like tree bark is commonly known as the “bark mantis” or “bark mimic.” The term “bark mantis” is a general term that can refer to various species of praying mantises that have evolved to resemble tree bark for camouflage and protection. These mantises have flattened bodies and coloration that closely resembles the texture and appearance of tree bark, allowing them to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings.

What bug looks like a piece of bark?

The bug that closely resembles a piece of bark is commonly known as the “bark beetle.” Bark beetles are a group of small insects that infest and live within the bark of trees. They have a flattened body shape and often possess a coloration and texture that allows them to blend in with the bark, making them difficult to spot.

Why is bark falling off trees?

The falling off of bark from a tree can be attributed to several factors, including natural processes, environmental conditions, diseases, or pest infestations. Here are some common reasons why bark may fall off a tree


Most people think of bugs as small, crawling creatures. But some bugs are so big, they look like tree bark! These massive insects can be found all over the world, and some of them even have wings.

While most of these bugs are harmless to humans, there are a few that can cause serious problems. So if you see a bug that looks like tree bark, be sure to stay away from it!

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