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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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.BAGWORM LARVAE IN 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.

ADULT BAGWORM MOTHAs 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 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 and then confronted.

Failure to deal with initial stages will mean more will arrive. And if left to expand as they want, it will lead to more damage and in some cases, home invasions. Since each female will lay 500-1000 eggs, a couple can turn into many thousand within a year and these bagged pests will need a good home on which to reside.



The good news is bagworm control is easy to initiate and maintain. The key is early detection and when detected, using the right treatment based on the season.

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 so its never too early to spray.

However, if you find a large infestation late 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. They’re extra “weak” so chemical treatments have a better impact. Treating late in the season when bagworms have reached maturity means you’re dealing with a stronger pest and one that’s more protected since they will be living inside their “bag”.

Secondly, the pupae stage of bagworms is not susceptible to any 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.



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 on vegetable and fruit plants. But you will have to apply it several times. Expect to be spraying 1-2 a week till the problem is resolved and no activity is achieved.

Add 6 oz per gallon of water and use the mixture to spray fruit trees, vegetables like tomatoes or peppers as well as grape vines. Multipurpose Insect Killer will work within a day so exposed larvae and adults will die immediately. And you’ll get positive results when treating in the spring, summer or fall.






DORMANT BAGWORM DURING WINTERSince bagworms tend to hide well, they can go unnoticed when trees are green throughout the summer and fall. But as winter arrives, their dormant bags can be easy to spot. If you have evergreens like Leyland Cypress or some tree harboring dormant bags, treat them with DORMANT OIL SPRAY. during the winter. It will suffocate the hibernating stage and kill them before they get active the following spring. Dormant Oil is a good choice to spray during the winter for prevention so you can be sure an ongoing problem won’t resurface the following year.

Mix 3 oz per gallon of water and use up what you mix within a day.







During the spring, summer or fall, the strongest and best concentrate to apply is BIFEN XTS.  Its fast working and goes a long way. Bifen is oil based which enables it to penetrate bagworm bags much better compared to most any other concentrate.

Use it monthly when bagworms are active; once they ‘re gone, treat every 2- months to make sure they don’t return.

Mix it .5 oz per gallon of water.





Lastly, you’ll need a good sprayer to apply any of these concentrates. For low heights 15 feet or less, our BUGSPRAY PUMP SPRAYER will work well, It comes with a range of spray tips including a pin stream that can deliver a laser like spray up to 15 feet high.





For heights of 15-30 feet, a TROMBONE SPRAYER will do the job. This is a manually operated sprayer you control by “sliding” the pump you hold in your hands. Its easy to use and will let you apply chemical exactly where you want it with laser like precision.





Lastly, another option is our 20 GALLON HOSE END SPRAYER. This sprayer hooks up to your garden hose and uses the water pressure of your water supply to pump out chemical from the small holding tank underneath the spray handle. This sprayer will be more “wasteful” compared to the pump or trombone sprayer but it can reach up quite high if you have decent water pressure. Basically as high as you can spray your garden hose.






Bagworms can become a problem on most any tree or plant in the yard if given the chance to survive. If you suspect you have some feeding or foraging on your property, do some spraying early in the season to minimize damage. If its winter when you find them, its just as wise to spray then too using the Dormant Oil listed above.


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Comments on BAGWORM CONTROL Leave a Comment

April 4, 2012

Jonnie Romanowski @ 11:28 am #


My problem is in my trees. I can’t just use a hand held sprayer to be effective. Is there a spray that can be put on the garden hose and sprayed for height? I usually cut the branch out of the tree and burn the worms. I have to use a step ladder and a long something with a big rag on the end to burn up high. I have a hysteria phobia with worms and when I can’t get rid of them I have to hire someone to cut my one acre of grass at this point. PLEASE help me find solution? Thank You.

June 27, 2012

Jennifer Hoke @ 9:44 pm #


I have evergreen trees in my landscaping that have been attacked by bag worms. One tree started at top and is now completely brown…the second tree is brown on top….if I treat the bag worms aggressively, will the foliage come back next year or do the trees need to be removed? Thank you.

July 5, 2012

Pat @ 9:53 am #


My wife and I just discovered a bagworm infestation on our arborvitaes last night, July 4th. What is the best thing to use this late in the season?? We live in the northeast, Long Island, NY. Thanks for getting back to us.

Would we be better off giving the bushes a treatment ourselves or should we pay our gardener?? How difficult is it? I am sure we would probably use more insecticide than our gardener so maybe we should do it ourselves.

July 8, 2012

Bruce @ 5:35 pm #


It’s 4th of July and we have bagworms with our fire crackers …. is it too late to Spray this year?? I have read May is the the Spray Month so is it too late this year??

July 28, 2012

Terry Pantinople @ 4:32 pm #


I thought my trees in my landscaping were not getting enough water. Then I noticed these little brown looking pine cone things hanging. When I pulled it off it moved in my hand. I then came to the internet to search what they could possibly be and yes they are bagworms. I used 7 dust and picked all that I could see. Is 7 dust going to work?

August 2, 2012

Sheila @ 12:55 am #


We have a large arborvitae tree that is at least 15 feet tall. We planted a small bush in our back yard on the day that we bought our house 16 1/2 years ago. It has always been the most beautiful tree until we decided to put in a new fence. We have always checked it periodically for bagworms and never noticed any until now. The tree is right up next to the fence and when we tore down the old fence, we discovered bagworms. And wow, now we see them everywhere on the tree! My 15 y/o son has been pulling them off and putting them in a salt-water mixture in a gallon jug. But there are far too many for him to pull off and the tree is too tall for him to reach them all, even with a ladder. Our problem is, the tree is right next to our Koi pond. Is there anything that we can treat the tree with that will not harm our Koi? We love the tree and don’t want to lose it, but we certainly don’t want to harm our Koi and risk losing them. I appreciate your help!

Sheila (Texas Panhandle) @ 1:02 pm #


@Tech Support:

Thank you so much for your help. I will look into all the products that you recommend. The tree is definitely so close to the pond that there is 100% chance of overspray. We thought it would be the perfect tree to help shade the pond from the afternoon sun without having to deal with leaves falling off every Autumn. It appears we have nearly every stage of bagworms. YIKES.

Do you have an address that I can email a couple of pictures to so that you can see exactly how large the tree is, how close it is to the pond, how infested it is… so that you can help me determine exactly how much of the aerosol product I need to purchase?

Again, thank you so much for your assistance!

November 8, 2012

Obie Dugan @ 3:36 pm #


I noticed your advice to Sheila about treating a tree next to her Koi pond. The advice was very helpful but I was wondering if I shielded one side of my shrub with plastic sheeting from the pond, do you think it would be safe for the fish to use one of your sprays for more effective control? Would runoff at the bottom of the shrub be a problem if it was diverted away from the pond area as best I could? I know this is iffy but will appreciate your thoughts.


November 10, 2012

Greg Peacemaker @ 11:13 am #


I just moved in and found bag worms in my evergreens. It is cold around 40 degrees. Can I treat them now or should I pick them off and then spray in the spring?

May 8, 2013

Lori Diamond @ 11:44 am #


I believe we have bag worms – I have seen the cocoons in the 2 wild cherry trees in out front yard. Now they are everywhere. They even are infesting our front porch – and are in my rose bushes. Is there anything that I can do? Why are they climbing on our porch and house.

July 2, 2013

D. Abbott @ 3:02 pm #


We have a large evergreen loaded with bagworms. I want to spray but it has been raining every day for the past two weeks and no relief for at least another week and half. How long does the spray have to stay on the evergreen to be effective before a rain shower rinses it off? 1 hour, 2 hours or is it days? Any info would be helpful. Thank you!

D. Abbott @ 3:37 pm #


Thank you!!

July 9, 2013

Jeanine @ 6:00 pm #


Hi, my landlord just called an exterminator to treat out bagworm infestation. The bagworms killed 2 arborvitae and are moving on to the rest and they are also on a pine tree that is about 60 ft tall. The exterminator said he treated for mites with mpede. Is that something that will kill the worms? I’ve red a lot about BT being the only thing that really kills the bagworms. Question being, will mpede do the job? Or should bt (btk) have been used? If so can I purchase bt from you?

July 12, 2013

Bonnie @ 10:41 am #


Do you need to remove the bags after treatment?

July 14, 2013

Jane Jackson @ 5:27 pm #


Once I’ve killed the bad worms, will they fall off the tree. The tree is quite infested. I cannot possibly pull all of them off. Thanks

July 31, 2013

Kathy @ 3:41 pm #


My house is full of these darn things! What do you recommend once they’re inside??? Thanks!

August 22, 2013

Joe N. @ 6:54 pm #


I see a lot of bagworms hanging on the pine tree and on junipers around my house. It’s almost the end of Summer. Is it too late to spray? Which insecticide is better to kill the worms, BTK or Bifen?
Joe N – NJ

March 26, 2014

Pete @ 3:09 pm #


We had a bagworm infestation last July in one of our evergreens. I received a quote from a tree service for $200+ to treat the infested tree and additional four adjacent trees. After additional consultation I was informed that treatment in July after the bags were closed up would essentially be useless and I eventually just removed the infected tree and burned as many of the bags as possible. I have two more spruce and two fir trees in the same area and 5 arbs on the other side of my property that I would like to treat now that spring is sort of rolling around in Eastern Pennsylvania. Should I be able to do this myself and what is the best time frame to treat them?

August 10, 2014

Penny @ 9:51 am #


I live in SC and it’s mid Aug. We have just found an infestation of bag worms on our Leyland cypress trees. What should I spray now and when should I spray again? TIA

August 20, 2014

Cynthia Danna @ 9:59 am #


We bought Orthene and a 100 gal pull behind sprayer that has a pump that hooks up to our garden tractor. Was $100 but so worth it to be able to spray to the top of our 20′ Leland cypress. Actually sprayed 300 Gal on 75 tall trees.

Sprayed once this year when the cones were tiny, but we now see mature cones and need to spray again. It is already Aug 20th so should I try one the BIFEN IT instead of the Orthene? Also want to protect these trees from the dormant ones that will come out next spring. Thanks for your help!

July 8, 2015

Miriam @ 7:37 pm #


Are the listed chemicals harmful to birds flying and or nesting in the trees? Do birds eat bag worms and ingest the poison? We feed the song birds and don’t want to hurt them. We have a bad infestation in our Leland cypress. Thanks!

July 9, 2015

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