Bagworms = Arborvitaes worst nightmare!
Updated: Oct 20, 2021
When unsuspecting arborvitaes are invaded by bagworms, it is often times a total loss for the individual evergreen under assault.
Bagworm caterpillars feed on specific types of evergreen foliage (arborvitae, juniper, cedar, spruce, cypress, etc.) and may partially stress or completely kill the host evergreen in relatively short order if left unchecked.
Once a suitable host is found, bagworm caterpillars get busy building protective hanging sacks out of needles and other nearby plant material to cover themselves, coming out to feed. The sacks hang from branches and are usually brown in color (look like small pine cones once the plant material used dries out). Female bagworms mature as small caterpillars and never leave their individual nest sack, while adult male’s eventually fly-away as moths (August/September). Both the mature male and female die shortly after mating at the female’s sack. A mature female bagworm caterpillar can fertilize up to 1,000 eggs before dying within her cocoon. Bagworm eggs overwinter in the female sack and hatch in May. Larvae exit the cocoon by lowering themselves down/out via a self-generated thin silk thread.
BAGWORMS very survival hang’s by a thread!
Only a single generation of bagworm eggs are produced each year. Bagworm feeding can be quite devastating to the host plant if left unchecked. Manual removal of any/all bagworm sacks is recommended whenever possible. If manual sack removal is not an option then a properly timed insecticide application (late June/early July) by a trained and qualified professional is highly recommended to control the overall bagworm larvae population in the effected evergreen trees.
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