I can remember picking “Bagworms” off of my mother’s evergreen trees as a child. No doubt, many of you also go about picking these off of your trees. But have you ever wondered what was inside those rough teardrop cases? It actually encases what will eventually become the Bagworm moth. So if you ever wondered how these bagworms became a part of the insect world, now you know that it is part of the metamorphosis of a beautiful black and white moth. However, until this happens, these bags not only are unsightly to look at they can also do damage to your trees that they inhabit.
The Bagworm Moth starts its life as a tiny egg that has been placed in evergreen trees. Those that have not been placed, can be spread by birds eating dead bagworms. The eggs are still fertile and are hard enough to pass through the bird’s digestive system and be spread far and wide. When they hatch into larvae that are tiny enough to float through the wind and find a nice tree to build their home. Their main preference is evergreens that live in Tennessee such as Cedar, Juniper, Spruce and Pine. This small larvae caterpillar constructs a bag from silk, leaves, bark and other local materials. They are a brownish / gray color here in Nashville and can be two to three inches long. They attach themselves to the host plant with silk that is strong enough that you will have to pull very hard or actually cut them off with small pruning shears or scissors. It is within this protective sack that they move, eat and grow. The female cannot fly and never leaves her bag, so the male matures into the Bagworm Moth and begins looking for a female to mate with. They mate through the bag; she lays her eggs and then dies. They will overcome trees and bushes with the appearance of these brown sacks hanging from many branches. If you see this, you may want to begin plucking; pulling and cutting them off, due to the fact that their voracious appetite can not only damage your evergreens, but can kill them if left to feed until full maturity. Other species have the female build the egg sack, then she lays up to 1,000 eggs inside the protective hanging bag to overwinter until the next spring, then she dies. They produce only one generation per year. Either way the best thing to do is pick these evergreen killers off and dispose of them to keep your trees alive, full and healthy.
However, if you do not mind the damage of your evergreens, you can allow this caterpillar to grow and mature into a beautiful black and white spotted moth. They do not serve any beneficial purpose for us, other than allowing certain species of parasitic Wasp to survive and keep the Bagworm populations down.
The Bagworm Moth is not a Nashville Pest Control Issue, but the bags or sacks should be tended to. Since the female does not move, many times an infestation is kept to only one tree or bush. Keep an eye out and if you see any brown or gray upside down cones hanging from your evergreens, grab your scissors and begin removing. This will include the winter months, in order to keep the hatching caterpillars from damaging tour trees and bushes in the following spring.
So, you can take care of this issue yourself, but when you have Pest Control issues bugging your family, make Certified Pest Control in Nashville your first call. Our local family will take the time to address your pest problem and offer the detailed service that only a local family business can offer.