Bagworms


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My son's shrubs are being invaded by Bagworms. Can anyone explain to me what they are please and how to get rid of them?
There are different varieties of bagworms but most all of them prefer shrubs and deciduous trees. Unless you know when the moths will arrive and lay their eggs there isn't much you can do. About the only thing you can effectively do is to hand pick them and to rake up any fallen bags. The bags are basically impervious to insecticides. At different times the bags have either eggs inside of them or a caterpillar.
 
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Thanks Chuck. Apparently they've invaded most of my son's shrubs and trees. Will they kill the plants or is it a seasonal invasion that the plants will recover from?
 
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Thanks Chuck. Apparently they've invaded most of my son's shrubs and trees. Will they kill the plants or is it a seasonal invasion that the plants will recover from?
If the eggs are not removed they will be back and many many times the bagworms will kill a tree or shrub in time. Have your son go out with a pair of scissors and snip them off. He won't get all of them. Also rake up any that have fallen to the ground. Those eggs will become larvae. This is a long term problem and once you have an infestation of them they are difficult to eradicate and they will be back. A lot of folks in Texas just give up and change to plants which the bagworms don't like. Without knowing exactly which variety of bagworm it is it is just about impossible to tell you when to do anything. Just start spraying in the early spring and don't stop. Spray with both Neem and spinosad and just keep snipping them off.
 
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Thanks for your concern Chuck. :) Although they've lost five conifers and one slightly damaged, they (my son and his wife) only found one bagworm on another tree - an Acer. Hopefully they've got to them in time. My son has already cut the conifers down and will burn them later today.
 
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Saw this little guy crawling up one of my oak trees. Is this the same type of bug, and should I be removing any I find? I was super impressed at how it built a cocoon, and then drug itself to the top using it's mouth, so I just watched.
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Saw this little guy crawling up one of my oak trees. Is this the same type of bug, and should I be removing any I find? I was super impressed at how it built a cocoon, and then drug itself to the top using it's mouth, so I just watched.View attachment 61489View attachment 61490
Yep, that's the same although a different variety of the bagworm from the previous posts. On oak trees, unless very young, bagworms are not as serious a problem as on other types of trees but are still a serious problem and will over a period of time severely damage the tree. Read the link to understand more about this pest.

 
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Awesome. Thanks for your advice and time! I will keep an eye on the Oak trees. I see that some attack cedars, which is a blessing here, because we are overrun with those here in the Hill Country.
 
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Awesome. Thanks for your advice and time! I will keep an eye on the Oak trees. I see that some attack cedars, which is a blessing here, because we are overrun with those here in the Hill Country.
I keep hoping that something will kill them. I have seen bagworms on many of the cedars I have but for some unknown reason they rarely damage them severely. During my lifetime I have only seen one instance where bagworms killed or severely damaged a mountain cedar tree and that was back in the late 1970's IIRC. Our cedars are known as mountain cedar but in reality are not cedars at all, they are junipers named Ashe Juniper. They are conifers but that is the only relationship between the two. Check out where Tarpley Tx is on the map
 
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I see that you are not far down the road near San Antonio. Sad to hear that the bagworms don't really kill the cedars, but that sounds just like a cedar tree now that I think of it. They are some hardcore trees.
 
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I see that you are not far down the road near San Antonio. Sad to hear that the bagworms don't really kill the cedars, but that sounds just like a cedar tree now that I think of it. They are some hardcore trees.
The only thing that I have seen kill a cedar is too much water
 
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Back to my son's issue with these if I may. He has discovered there are bagworms high up in four mature trees which he can't reach. Someone has quoted him $600 to remove them which I find expensive. I've asked him how they will be removed but he's currently commuting so I'll have a reply to that later. Your thoughts on the cost and if it's worth paying out for this would be appreciated please.
 
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Back to my son's issue with these if I may. He has discovered there are bagworms high up in four mature trees which he can't reach. Someone has quoted him $600 to remove them which I find expensive. I've asked him how they will be removed but he's currently commuting so I'll have a reply to that later. Your thoughts on the cost and if it's worth paying out for this would be appreciated please.
Have your son or someone research the life cycle of that particular worm. Each bagworm is specific to the tree in which it is located. Bagworms have different times in which they pupate, travel, feed etc. Bt will kill the worms when they are in the feeding stage. All your son has to do then is get a trombone sprayer or a good hose end sprayer and spray the entire tree. I don't know what kind of trees we are talking about but $600 is a good bit of money and I have never seen or heard of a guarantee with this type of endeavor. What are they gong to do? Climb up the tree and hand pick each bag. If so, then good luck with that. as it will be about impossible to get them all and of not entirely wiped out they'll be back. It would be cheaper to rent some scaffolding and pick them himself. $600 for 4 trees which no matter what will become infested in the future. If it were me I would figure out a way to spray at the correct time or pick off the bags myself ,or, to save money, time and effort, remove the trees and plant something the bagworms will not bother.
 
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Thanks very much for your reply Chuck. I think the same as you regarding re-infestation. Meanwhile my son has just got back to me and said the person that gave the quote says it's not bagworms but Rhizosphaera needle cast. That starts at the base of the tree and with treatment still has pretty much the same outcome, probably the eventual loss of the trees. I feel this person is trying to make money out of someone he thinks is gullible. My son isn't of course, although he knows very little about gardening still and will consult me first.

Meanwhile I'll get him to take more pictures so we can see what's going on.
 
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Thanks very much for your reply Chuck. I think the same as you regarding re-infestation. Meanwhile my son has just got back to me and said the person that gave the quote says it's not bagworms but Rhizosphaera needle cast. That starts at the base of the tree and with treatment still has pretty much the same outcome, probably the eventual loss of the trees. I feel this person is trying to make money out of someone he thinks is gullible. My son isn't of course, although he knows very little about gardening still and will consult me first.

Meanwhile I'll get him to take more pictures so we can see what's going on.
I looked up this fungal disease and it is not even similar to bagworms as there are no bags. Are your son's trees spruce trees? If not then I would consult a different tree person. Have your son get in touch with a Certified Arborist. Usually they are honest because if they aren't they lose their certification. Pics will be nice
 
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I looked up this fungal disease and it is not even similar to bagworms as there are no bags.
My thoughts exactly! I think this person is trying it on. Yes, I think the trees my son is referring too are the spruces he has. I'll know more when he gets back to me. I just wish there wasn't so many miles between us and I could see them for myself.
 
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My thoughts exactly! I think this person is trying it on. Yes, I think the trees my son is referring too are the spruces he has. I'll know more when he gets back to me. I just wish there wasn't so many miles between us and I could see them for myself.
Well, one is as bad as the other. In my limited research the fungal disease is a 2 or 3 year project twice per year and even that is iffy at best. The bagworms take about the same amount of time but it is more likely to be a success but still expensive and slightly less iffy. I'd still replace the trees.
 
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After a couple of hours research last night and further questions fired at my son today I think I've got to the bottom of this. The trees are all spruces around fifteen to twenty feet in height. It occurred to me that what he thinks he can see as Bagworms at the top, are probably cones on the newer growth. Tomorrow (due to heavy snow today) he is going to check them out more closely and take some pictures. Regarding the other disease - Rhizosphaera, I'm almost certain his trees have it so the guy who visited was right. Again I will have confirmation with pictures. This disease usually occurs because of over watering and humidity. You may remember that my son has problems with flooding which is the likely cause, although the trees aren't standing in that area.

Research tells me that to contain, not cure this disease, they would need to be sprayed two to three times a year for the next three years and beyond that there is no guarantee of survival. The chemicals used are harmful to humans, animals and various other plants so that idea has been discarded. He desperately wants to keep these trees as they provide privacy, so I have suggested (from reading) that he removes all branches that are affected and burns them. The disease starts on the lower branches and works it's way up, so my thoughts are that perhaps with these removed, as they were touching the ground, it may well give the trees a chance of survival. Unless of course the Bagworms get to work again this year.

If the trees have to be replaced I've suggested Thuja which apparently is very resistant to this disease. He wants something that is evergreen for year round privacy.
 

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