How To Get Rid Of Bagworms

Bagworm-- what a lovely a name right? Bagworms are moth-like insects that love junipers, spruces, and evergreens just as much as we do. However, they don’t get satisfaction by looking at them--because they don’t have eyes-- their satisfaction comes from eating them. In this post, we’ll go over exactly what these little creatures are, and more importantly how to get rid of bagworms.



What are bagworms?

A bagworm is a perennial moth-like insect that eats a number of leaves and plants. They are wingless and mainly reside on evergreens as well as junipers. Bagworms can cause extensive damage to plants and trees.

Bagworms have a case or bag that the caterpillar forms and suspends from on the plants that they feed on. The bag is made of silk and bits of host foliage. Adult males of this species of moths are dark and hairy in appearance with a wingspan of approximately 1 inch. Female bagworms look like maggots and are yellow. They look like small caterpillars. The adult female lacks eyes, wings, functional legs and mouthparts. She never leaves the bag that she constructed as a larva. The adult male is black and moth-like with transparent wings that are nearly devoid of scales.

What do bagworms eat?

Bagworms eat leaves of plants. They are parasitic in nature. Bagworm larvae feed on leaves and needles of evergreen plants.

They also live on and eat: Willow, Sycamore, Spruce, Maple, Bald Cypress, Boxelder, Oaks, Rose Plants, Black Locusts, Pines and other deciduous trees. Bagworms also attack fruit trees, ornamental trees, perennial flowers and decorative shrubs.

Are bagworms poisonous?

Bagworms are not poisonous but are often thought to be since they cause the death of plants. Bagworms cause plant death due to feeding on their foliage.

How do you get rid of bagworms?

Insecticides are used for Bagworm prevention. However, they should be used by a professional.  Insecticides often produce toxic effects when used in large quantities. Safety precautions and usage directions on labels of pesticides should be strictly followed to avoid damage to valuable plants. When used in excess, insecticides can damage plants and contaminate ponds or streams nearby.

Can you get rid of bagworms organically?

You can handpick bagworms and remove them from your trees and shrubs.

Here is a video from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln that shows what bagworms look like and how to pick them off before the eggs hatch.

If you want to keep bagworms off of your trees, then we need to spray just once in late May or the beginning of June. Otherwise, we'll have to wait and apply dormant oil in mid-November and/or pick by hand → and nobody wants to do that.

Reach out if you have any questions on how to get rid of bagworms or if you would like us to come out and spray!