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How to Deal with Bagworms

When you were 8 years old, bagworms were pretty cool. Every summer in Georgia we see brown “tents” or sacks showing up on trees and shrubs. As a kid, when you realized these tents were full of tiny worms, it was kind of magical. It was fun to watch the worms crawling around inside their homes.

Unfortunately, as an adult you know that bagworms are bad news. These tiny creatures are actually caterpillars, and like all caterpillars, they have a voracious appetite—for the plants in your yard. In fact, they will go straight to the most decorative plants you own and strip them down to the bare branches if left unchecked. Bagworms especially love conifers like juniper and cedar, and they can kill these otherwise hardy ornamentals.

Getting rid of bagworms quickly is important for two reasons:

  • The longer you let them go, the more damage they do—and the harder they are to control.

  • Getting a bagworm treatment this year will reduce the likelihood of a repeat occurrence next year.

In other words, the sooner you break the cycle, the safer your landscaping will be. But how exactly do you go about giving them the boot?

It is possible to get rid of bagworms on your own, but it isn’t easy. The trick is to start early in the season and be consistent. It takes constant vigilance to take care of bagworms—so expect to be going over your ornamentals every week. Here are three stages of DIY bagworm removal:

  1. Get rid of the bags: The bags serve as bagworms’ homes and most of the individual worms can be found inside. Go through your shrubs and pines and carefully scrape off each and every bag. Make sure to dispose of them where they can’t infest your yard.

  2. Try basic natural treatments: Try natural sprays made with either BT or Spinosad. These are most effective early in the year, however, aren’t enough on their own to combat bagworms.

  3. Use pesticide: The pesticides recommended for bagworms include bifenthrin, permethrin or cyfluthrin. Be careful if you haven’t used pesticides before and always follow the directions. Remember, more is not necessarily better.

If you would rather leave the removal to a professional, Arbor-Nomics can take the work off of your plate with a complete bagworm treatment. All of our Certified Landscape Specialists hold State Pesticide Certification and can take care of your bagworm problem quickly and safely. Be sure to call today for a free bagworm analysis.

Photo credit: gmeador via photopin cc