If you see these hanging from your tree, you need to know what it means

The bagworms and the case-bearer-related Gelechioidea are members of the superfamily Teneoidea, which is a basic lineage of the Ditrysia. With over 1,350 species spread out throughout nearly every continent, the family is very tiny.

These insects are actually moths, not worms, despite their name, which refers to the worm-like shape of the larvae.

The bagworms weave together fragments of leaves and silk to create their protective cocoon, which they inhabit for the duration of their life cycle. The larvae use a thread they make that resembles silk to tie fragments of plant waste, such leaves, twigs, and bark, to their bodies to form these bags. The bag also grows larger as they go.

A female moth’s eggs hatch in the late spring or early summer.

When a moth is ready to mate, only the adult male exits the safety of his bag; the female stays within her bag.

Typically infesting evergreen and deciduous trees, bagworms can sometimes be overlooked at first glance due to the resemblence of the bags they create.

In the absence of these favored hosts, bagworm will consume the foliage of nearly any tree, including fir, spruce, pine, hemlock, sweetgum, sycamore, honey locust, and black locust. Their favorite host plants are cedar, arborvitae, juniper, and false cypress.

Despite their seemingly innocuous appearance, bagworms seriously injure trees. Their hiding till the infestation becomes bad is the problem.

They make it harder for the tree to photosynthesize and provide the nutrients required for growth and survival by eating the leaves of the tree.

Simultaneously, they weaken the tree, increasing its susceptibility to illnesses, pest infestations, and environmental stresses. The tree may eventually perish if the bagworm infestation is not treated.

Bagworm infestations can be managed in a few different methods. Below are explanations for a few of them.

One method is to remove each bag or cocoon from the tree one at a time. But if fewer trees are impacted, then this is conceivable. This isn’t the best course of action if you have to deal with a landscape of afflicted trees, each of which has multiple bags of bagworms.

Fortunately, alternative approaches are available, like:

Pruning and Destruction: If the infestation is widespread, cut off the afflicted branches and dispose of them appropriately. Additionally, search for additional infestation sites, such as adjacent fences.

Promote Natural Predators: Attracting birds and parasitic wasps can be helpful in the fight against bagworms since they consume bagworms. One bird that can break apart the bags and consume the females or eggs within is the woodpecker. Promoting this approach and making your farm or yard bird-friendly would help you avoid using insecticides, which would also harm beneficial insects.

Use chemical control, such as sprays of acephate (Orthene), chlorothalon, and spinosad, if all other methods fail. It is crucial to remember that, given the possible effects on the environment, chemical control should only be employed as a last resort and with extreme caution. If you choose chemical control, use it on a dry, windless day to ensure that the product dries fast and doesn’t blow away in the wind.

Preventing the bagworm infestation from the start is the best course of action. This can be accomplished, among other things, by keeping an eye on the surrounding vegetation, planting the trees at the proper distance from one another to prevent overcrowding, routine tree inspections, and proper care.

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