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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Following reproduction, males will soon die.
Females will lay their eggs in 5-10 days and then they too will die. Adult female bagworms will lay their eggs in the very bag they built during her summer of feeding.
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.
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 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.
The best materials to use for bagworm control are sprays.
There are three which work well. ECO EC is a botanical concentrate that is mixed with water and uses naturally occurring plant oils and pathogens as it’s active. In fact, chances are the bagworms are eating some of these very chemicals since they commonly appear in many trees. However, these actives won’t be strong enough in the plant to affect the bagworm. ECO EC concentrates these essential oils to levels high enough that will kill pests which attempt to feed on treated plants and leaf surfaces. However, treatments won’t last long. 1-2 weeks might be as long as it stays active so be sure to watch and retreat as needed till they’re gone.
VEGETABLES PLUS is a true 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 stronger then the ECO EC.
BIFEN IT is the strongest active needed and will last 1 month or more when applied to the folieage 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.
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 the tank mix. Spreader Sticker enables the chemical treatment to cover and coat all the leaves so the bagworms don’t find any untreated surfaces on which to feed.
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.