How can I control bagworms on trees around my home?
The bagworm commonly attacks arborvitae, red cedar, juniper and spruce trees, though it has been reported to eat the leaves and needles from over 128 different trees and shrubs. Attacked plants may be partially defoliated, weakened and rendered unsightly. It is not uncommon for complete defoliation to occur, which results in the death of the conifer trees.
The bagworm caterpillar lives its entire life inside a tough protective case made of silk and camouflaging bits of foliage. These can be removed from small trees by hand and discarded anytime in spring before June. Some people find it easier to use scissors to cut bags from the trees rather than trying to pull them off and damage the foliage. Removed bags can be burned if open burning is allowed, buried, or soaked in a bucket of detergent water.
Chemical treatment options only work on bagworm caterpillars, not the pupae. By late summer the caterpillars are in the process of pupating. So if you're going to treat with chemicals, do it early in the spring when the caterpillars are active.
For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service