What are they?
Bagworms are actually a type of moth. They create a very distinct spindle-shaped bag which resembles a small pine cone. Bagworm eggs will overwinter in these bags attached to branches by a silk thread. There can be well over 500 eggs inside a single bag! So what factors cause bagworms to show up in your landscaping, and how can you get rid of bagworms for good? We have a few suggestions...
When the larvae hatch and emerge from the bag in the spring, they feed on the host plant for about six weeks. Each of these caterpillars creates their own bag from silk and bits of plant material. The bag starts out at about a quarter of an inch long, and typically by the end of the summer reaches a length of 2".
Females will basically stay in this bag their whole life, even after pupation. Males will emerge to mate as a small moth with clear wings. After mating, the female bagworm will lay her eggs in the bottom of the bag and then die, starting the cycle over again.
What plants do bagworms eat?
Bagworms can eat quite a few different types of trees and shrubs. 128 different varieties actually! Generally, though they are found on conifers. Leyland cypress and junipers seem to be some of their favorites here in Virginia, but they can feed from other cypress varieties, pines, spruce, arborvitae, and even cedars.
If left unchecked, they will defoliate the host plant, often resulting in the death of the tree or shrub because it becomes too weak.
How do I get rid of bagworms?
Because there are many eggs per bag, bagworms can and will spread extremely quickly. If you notice them, it is very important to take care of the problem right away. Here are a few options.
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We started out as the neighborhood lawn boys – a group of high school friends trying to make some pocket change. It soon became more. We realized how much we enjoyed landscaping. Over the years, we've transformed hundreds of properties, beautified countless landscapes, and made many homeowners proud. This has become our passion!