Addressing Bagworms in your Landscape

BagwormsJune marks the beginning of the summer season. After the winter we’ve had, this is a welcome sign. But June is also when various landscape issues start to arise. The effects of these landscape issues may not become noticeable until fall—or even the following year—but now is the time to begin scouting your property, particularly for bagworms.

Bagworms begin as larvae, developing to caterpillars as they mature, and eventually becoming moths. At maturity, the males are blackish in color, hairy, and have four wings. Females are yellowish in color and have no wings—making them more grub-like in appearance.

In early June, young bagworms hatch from eggs laid within the female’s bag. As soon as the bagworms emerge, they will begin to construct bags of their own. The bags consist of silk, twigs, leaves, and other organic matter. During this time, the bagworms also feed on tree and shrub foliage. Once mature, the males emerge from their bags and seek out females to mate. After mating, females lay hundreds of eggs within their bags and die. By early fall the bags will be approximately two inches in size. The eggs lay dormant in the bag until the following spring when the cycle restarts.

Bagworms attack both deciduous trees and evergreens but are especially damaging to juniper, arborvitae, spruce, pine, and cedar. Large populations of bagworms can strip plants of their foliage, eventually causing them to die. But infestations often go unnoticed because people mistake the protective bags for pine cones or other plant structures until it’s too late.

If only a few small trees or shrubs are infested, simply removing and destroying the bagworms may provide adequate control. This should be done in spring, winter, or fall before the eggs hatch. Often, insecticide applications are required for bagworm infestations. Such applications should ideally be completed in May and June, of which a variety of products are available.

Now is the time to begin looking for and addressing bagworm problems before they start to wreak havoc on the landscape you’ve put so much effort into. If you have questions regarding your property and would like to speak to a representative, give us a call at 317-575-1100 or simply fill out the form below.

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