Commercial lawn care services available from Landworks include controlling pests like bagworm moths. These moths are commonly referred to simply as ‘bagworms’ because, at the caterpillar stage, they make distinctive spindle-shaped bags that hang from twigs of many varieties of trees and shrubs.
Bagworms prefer juniper, spruce, pine, cedar, and arborvitae but they also feed on deciduous trees. Bagworms eat much of the buds and needles on evergreens, causing the ends of branches to turn brown and then die. The entire evergreen can die if the bagworms are not eliminated before they consume too much of it.
On deciduous trees (those that lose their leaves in winter), bagworms devour whole leaves of susceptible deciduous species leaving only the larger veins. These trees will usually recover well when the bagworms are eliminated, however.
Bagworms also wrap their silk around the twigs where they build their bags, which can strangle the twigs over time.
Bagworms are seldom seen themselves but are identifiable by their distinctive 1.5 – 2 inch long spindle-shaped bags, which are sometimes mistaken for pine cones or other plant parts. At the larval stage, they are black and not much bigger than the head of a pin. The tiny caterpillars use their silk like a parachute to let the wind carry them to nearby trees. This is called “ballooning”.
Adult male bagworms are grey-black moths about the size of a quarter. They have transparent wings and hairy bodies. Adult females are grub-like and cannot fly. They are yellowish-white in color and bald except for a circle of woolly posterior hairs. They do not have functional legs, eyes, or antennae.
Bagworm Life Cycle
Bagworm eggs – as many as 1,000 – hatch in late spring or early summer after spending the winter in the bag that was their mother’s cocoon. The larvae disperse by ballooning or crawling and use their silk and plant material to build small bags that will camouflage and protect them as they feed and grow for roughly six weeks.
The caterpillars hide in their bags when they are disturbed and expand them as they grow. In late summer they transform into the pupa stage and rest in their bags for approximately four weeks.
In early fall, the male bagworm moths emerge from their bags and search for bags that contain immobile females for mating. The female then lays her eggs, leaves the bag, and dies, leaving the eggs to incubate in the bag until the following spring.
Commercial Lawn Care Solutions For Bagworm Control
If there are too many bagworms to remove by hand or they are out of reach, commercial lawn care services from Landworks can help. Our certified technicians will apply insecticide to prevent serious damage. Smaller larvae are more vulnerable to insecticides, so the best time to apply is in early summer while the larvae are still less than 1/2-inch long and feeding damage is relatively minor, but treatments can continue until the larvae are no longer visible and feeding if necessary.
Landworks offers a free consultation for all of our landscaping, irrigation, and residential and commercial lawn care services in Shawnee, Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park, Leawood, Prairie Village, and the entire Kansas City metro area. For more information, call (913) 422-9300. To request a quote, click here.