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David was such a nice young man. Very polite and spoke with us about what he was doing. We really enjoyed him as the technician. ”- Pat P.

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Leo & crew cleaned up extra branches that I had stacked on ground, clean-up always exceeds expectations. ”- Ruth W.

Are those tiny pinecones in my tree? No, they’re bagworms.

Our mild spring, with its continual rainfall, encouraged an explosion of chewing pests this summer – including bagworms. Bagworm “homes” look like small pinecone-like structures hanging from trees and shrubs. We’ve been seeing them pop up all over the Dallas and Fort Worth areas.

Their favorite host plants include arborvitae, juniper, conifers, elm, live oak, maple, persimmon and sumac. Because of their ability to grow new foliage after suffering damage, deciduous trees and shrubs are better able to withstand multiple infestations of bagworms. Evergreen plants tend to take the hardest hit and over a few seasons can eventually go into decline or die.

bagworm.pts.kdillard

Inside that pinecone-like casing is a bagworm.

What are bagworms?

The
most common variety we see is the DFW area is evergreen bagworm,
Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis. They are very slow moving caterpillars
because of the weight of their “bags” that they carry around with them.
Because the females are wingless, they must rely on the wind
(ballooning) or birds to move them from plant to plant. Otherwise, they
stay on their original host plant, re-infesting it year after year.

Lifecycle

In late fall, females lay up to 1000 eggs per casing that grow through the winter months. Late fall is the best time to prevent an infestation as you can easily remove the casings by hand.

Late
spring is when the eggs hatch and tiny caterpillars spread through
their host specimen to build their “bags”. As the caterpillars grow,
they’ll feed on the plant foliage, weakening the shrub or tree. Male
moths emerge in late summer and early fall to fly away in search of
females. Meanwhile, the females remain stationary inside their bags as
they have no eyes, legs or wings. It is at this point that they lay eggs
and the cycle begins again.

By Hand: Your best bet for natural
control is by physically removing the “bags” from plants fall through
early spring that could potentially contain females and hundreds of
eggs.

Trichogramma wasps will lay eggs into the young bagworm
caterpillars.
Their eggs then hatch and the larvae eat the bagworms from
the inside out! They are most effective when set out in early- to
mid-spring.

Natural Insecticides: Use Bacillus thuringiensis
subsp. kurstaki
(Dipel) and Spinosad in late spring and early summer to
kill bagworm caterpillars in their younger stages.

Concerned about summer insects harming trees? Give us a call for an inspection.

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