Image by Scott Hughes
By Kathleen Mierzejewski
If you have damage happening to your trees and you see that the leaves are turning brown or the needles are falling off the pine trees in your yard, you might have something called bagworms. If this is the case, you are probably wondering about bagworm control. Keep reading to learn more about how to get rid of bagworms.
Bagworm control starts with understanding the worm itself. These worms use over 100 different plants as their food. When it comes to pine trees, their sacks are mistaken for actual small pine cones.
Bagworms are slow spreading because the female doesn’t fly around. However, winds can blow the worms from plant to plant which will spread bagworms quite efficiently.
How to Get Rid of Bagworms
Knowing how to get rid of bagworms is half the battle. Treatment for bagworms can only start at certain times during their lifecycle. Treatment for bagworms should start in May when they hatch.
The bagworm overwinters in the bag that was put there by last year’s females. They hatch in May and early June and crawl out of their sacks, eating the plants until around August or so. In August, they start constructing a bag made up of silk and plant parts around their own bottom and will eventually bury themselves inside of it for four more weeks as pupae.
In September and October, the female will release sex hormones that attract the males. The males leave their sacks and go to the female bags where she can lay 500+ eggs after mating. Of course, you want to begin bagworm control measures before these worms ever get to this stage or they will surely be out of control.
How to Organically Kill Bagworms
If you are thinking about how to organically kill bagworms, you can just leave the whole thing up to the birds. When it comes to how to organically kill bagworms, the birds do it best by going around the tree and eating the worms. This, however, is no way to really control the bagworms.
In the fall, you can actually go around and pick the sacks off the trees yourself. This is a good way to organically eliminate the worms, but it can be a tedious project if you have a lot of them.
So, you might ask, “What do I use to kill bagworms?” You can use insecticides that are effective on bagworm larvae. They are most effective when the larvae are small and just emerging from their sacks in May. If you wait until later, the larvae will be too large and won’t be killed very easily.
Treatment for bagworms is not too difficult so long as you approach this task at the right time in the bagworm life cycle. Remember that May is best, as soon as they are hatching.