Do You Have an Infestation of Bagworms?
In arboriculture, the first step in effective pest control is to identify the insect. Bagworms cause significant damage, so they lead to the leaves browning or discoloring. These nasty bugs are opportunistic but prefer to snack on:
In the later stages of the infestation, you’ll notice cocoons made from leaves, twigs, and silk. These are about two inches long and usually brown. Get rid of these as soon as possible because it means the female is busy laying eggs. She can lay up to 1,000 eggs in one go.
The males emerge from the cocoons after mating. They’re up to 25mm long and are black. They resemble moths with translucent wings.
Getting Rid of Bagworms
Now, let’s look at how to get rid of bagworms in trees. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way from the days when your only option was to remove each cocoon.
Remove the Bags
If your tree is small enough, or the infestation is still in its early stages, you can remove the bags. Soak them in soapy water to kill the bugs and the eggs.
Encourage Natural Predators
You can deal with many issues by encouraging birds to feast on the juicy caterpillars. Woodpeckers and sparrows are allies in this, so encourage them to visit. You can do this by not killing helpful insects and providing a bird bath for hot days.
Spray With Bacillus Thuringiensis
This bacterium occurs naturally in the soil and is deadly to the caterpillars. To make this treatment as effective as possible, wait until the worms start to hatch at the end of May or the start of June. Then spray liberally.
Speak to us about the right strain of bacteria and when to apply it, or let us do it for you. This makes the bugs too sick to want to eat, which makes them leave your tree alone before they die.
Use Chemical Controls
We’re not huge advocates for pesticides, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. We recommend sprays that contain cyfluthrin, spinosad, and acephate. Please read the instructions carefully before applying them, as they are harmful to bees. Using them as directed will lessen their impact on useful insects.
Where possible, apply them when there’s no wind or rain to limit the collateral damage. We also recommend wearing long sleeves, gloves, and safety glasses so that you minimize contact with your skin.
Contact Don’s Tree Service
Don’t know a bagworm from a cutworm? Don’t worry, we do, and we know how to get rid of bagworms in trees. Not only that, but we keep an eye out for signs a tree needs to be removed so that you have the safest solution. Call Don’s Tree Service at 770-413-8733 to schedule your consultation today!