Bagworms can be found all around the world. They may go unnoticed when they first arrive but within a short period of time they can multiply to huge numbers. Bagworm damage is easy to spot and if not controlled will cause plant and tree death. For this reason bagworms are a nuisance pest and one that needs treatment if you find them active in your landscape.
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BAGWORM BIOLOGY *
Bagworms will grow through four stages like any other insect. Eggs hatch in the spring and will feed close to if not on the very same plant or tree their mother fed. Bagworm larva will create a “bag” around themselves as they feed. Composed of silk and plant debris, this bag will grow in size to fit them as spring becomes summer and their bodies get larger. To the right is a picture of a larvae which used grass clippings to build its bag.
At some point in the summer the larva bagworms will spin a protective cocoon and pupate. Within a couple of weeks, these protective cocoons will release adults. The adults are moths; gray in color and though they don’t feed, they will hang around the same trees their young target.
Adult bagworms don’t live long once they reach adulthood; males die within a few days of mating and females live just long enough to lay her brood of eggs which number in the hundreds.
As male adults emerge from their cocoons, they will fly off in search of females. Adult females which emerge can’t fly like their male counterparts. Instead they prepare their “bags” for the soon to be laid eggs and wait patiently for a male to find them. These bags will be located on trees but also underneath since some will naturally fall off from weather events, rotting branches on the host tree, etc. But regardless of where the female awaits, the flying males will be able to find them.
Once males reach receptive females, they will mate and soon afterwards, the males will die. Females will continue on and will start laying eggs 5-10 days after they mate. But within 2-3 weeks, they will die off as well leaving nothing but egg laden bags ready to re-infest your trees.
If egg laying occurs early enough in summer, two generations of bagworms may cycle per season. In most areas, there is only time for one per year. Eggs laid at summers end will lay in wait for the following spring to emerge and start anew.
BAGWORMS DAMAGE TREES, SHRUBS AND FLOWERS *
Bagworms eat plant and tree leaves and can cause substantial damage if left alone. They love most any arborvitae but will also eat maple, boxelder, willow, black locust, poplar, oak, apple, cherry, persimmon and just about anything with green leafy leaves. For this reason it’s important that local activity is duly noted.
Failure to deal with inital stages will mean more will soon arrive. It’s much easier to treat one or two females early in the growing season and stop them before they populate. Since each female will lay 500-1000 eggs, a couple can turn into many thousand within a year!!
BAGWORM TREATMENTS *
Bagworm control is easy to do and maintain since they are easy to kill. The key is early detection and early treatment.
If you’ve identified activity, treat as much of the plant or tree as well as the surrounding foliage of other plants. This insures you get them all. A good and thorough application in the spring can many times keep local populations in check.
However, if you find a large infestation later in the year, treat once every two weeks till you don’t see anymore. Late season applications won’t have nearly the affect of early spring time treatments for two reasons.
First, the young larva are much more susceptible in the spring and weak so chemical treatments work better. Treating later in the season when bagworms have reached maturity means you’re dealing with a stronger pest.
Secondly, the pupae stage of bagworms is not susceptible to the treatment. Their cocoon will protect them from chemical applications and only when they hatch out can they be affected. For this reason it’s important that you do multiple applications when treating late in the year. Repeat treatments assures you’ll have good protection to get each release of female and male pupae from their bags.
ORGANIC BAGWORM SPRAY *
The best materials to use for bagworm control are sprays.
For organic gardeners, MULTIPURPOSE INSECT KILLER is a good choice. It’s both strong enough and approved for organic gardening so it’s safe for use around vegetable and fruit plants. But you will have to apply it a lot. Expect to be spraying 1-2 a week till the problem is resolved and no activity is achieved.
Organic Insect Killer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/organic/liquid/multi-purpose-insect-killer-24-oz
DORMANT OIL BAGWORM SPRAY *
Since bagworms tend to hide well, its a good idea to treat trees you’d like to protect or trees with a history of bagworms by spraying in the winter with DORMANT OIL SPRAY. This product will penetrate and effectively “suffocate” hibernating stages and can only be applied when its cold.
BEST BAGWORM SPRAY *
Now once spring and summer arrive, you’ll need to use something stronger. The first option that works well is VEGETABLES PLUS. It’s a Permethrin based insecticide and can be applied to plants and even vegetables that are being grown for consumption. Its odorless and will last 2 weeks or more and should be considered if you need something strong.
Vegetables Plus Perm: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/liquid/veg-plus-10-perm
But the strongest is BIFEN IT and will last 1 month or more when applied to the foliage of trees and plants. It too is odorless but it uses an active which is somewhat new and very active on insects. Again, treat as needed but with Bifen, 1-2 applications should solve most any level of infestation as long as you add some Spreader Sticker listed below.
Any of these products can be applied with one of our SPRAYERS. Choose the one that best suits your application needs. And be sure to add some SPREADER STICKER to your tank mix. Spreader Sticker enables the chemical treatment to cover and coat all the leaves, bags and surfaces you spray so any foraging adults or larvae cannot hide or “miss” the treatment. Remember, its important to treat under the entire drip line of infested trees since females, larvae or active bags will naturally fall away and onto the ground. Failure to treat these locations will enable the population to migrate elsewhere or renew their attack on the main host tree.
Pump Sprayer: http://www.bugspraycart.com/good/pump-sprayers
Spreader Sticker: http://www.bugspraycart.com/insecticide/additive/spreader-sticker
Bagworms can become a problem on most any tree. If you suspect you have some feeding or foraging around your property, do some bagworm control early in the season to minimize the damage they can do. Treatment is easy and the good news is that they don’t forage far from where you see them. If it’s late in the summer and you have found a large infestation, 2-3 treatments might be needed to knock them out once and for all.
CONTACT US *
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