Bagworm Facts & Information

Protect your home or business from bagworms by learning techniques for identification and control.

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Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis
1 inch
Grayish

Treatment

How do I get rid of bagworms?

What You Can Do

Inspecting plants for the presence of either old or new bags is the first step toward prevention and control of this defoliating pest. Be thorough when inspecting since the plant’s dense foliage may hide some or all of the bags.

Inspection can be done at anytime of the year, but the best times are the late fall or winter before bagworm eggs hatch and larvae begin to feed and disperse.

What Orkin Does

These destructive pests aren’t easily detected until severe bagworm damage has already taken place, which makes them even more difficult to treat. Your local Orkin Pro is trained to help identify the different types of bagworms as well as bagworm management. Keeping pests at bay is an ongoing process, not a one-time treatment. In order to get rid of bagworm moths, it’s best to consult an Orkin Pro to properly identify the severity of infestation.

Since every building or home is different, your Orkin Pro will design a unique bagworm treatment program for your situation to help keep bagworms out of your yard. If you’re wondering how to get rid of bagworms or want to learn more about bagworm prevention, contact your local Orkin branch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Bagworms

What do bagworms look like?

  • Color: Full-grown larvae are grayish in color.

  • Body: Adult males have wings, but adult females are worm-like and do not have legs or wings. Adults are about an inch long.

  • Characteristics: Bagworms are also referred to as evergreen bagworms. These insects have bags that are about one to two inches long and will increase in size as the bagworm larval stage grows.

What causes bagworms?

As tree lovers, bagworms are known to make their home on a variety of branches and leaves. These tiny pests are attracted to conifers such as spruce, pine, and cedar but have also been known to invade deciduous trees as well. Even though they’re best known to feed on these tree species, they can also be found anywhere there is a reliable resource.

Since female bagworm moths cannot fly, larvae are responsible for infesting other trees as they move from one host tree to another, or if they are introduced via infested nursery plants. As larvae, they’re able to squirm their way to nearby shrubs or plants, oftentimes hanging on them as they feed. In preparation for growing into a caterpillar, bagworms carry their bags around with them as they feed on plants. Bagworms create a fine web that can easily get carried away by a strong gust of wind, landing them on or near another piece of greenery. This ballooning method allows them to spread among trees.

What do bagworms eat?

These pests feed on plant needles or leaves from different types of trees including:

  • Arborvitae

  • Cedar

  • Deciduous

  • Juniper

  • Pine

  • Spruce

Habitat

Bagworms may live in places such as:

  • Tree trunk

  • Limbs

  • Foliage

Bagworm Life Cycle Facts

Bagworms complete their life cycle by going through four stages:

Eggs

The eggs are deposited inside the female’s bag where they will overwinter. A female lays anywhere from 300 to 1,000 eggs inside the bag, and subsequently dies. In the spring, the eggs hatch from silk thread and each larva begins to construct its own case with tree foliage, where it will live throughout its larval and pupal stages.

Larvae

The larvae will enlarge the case as it grows and moves about by partially emerging its head and legs to feed and move to other locations. Being more or less immobile, female bagworms never leave the bag they built while they are immature larvae.

Pupae

The insect enters the pupae stage once the larval stage is complete. They stay in the bag until they are adults.

Adults

About one month later, the adult male moth will emerge and fly to the female’s bag where mating occurs.

Are bagworms harmful?

Since bagworms feed on many species of plants, most commonly the leaves or needles of conifers, large populations of these pests can be detrimental. As these insects eat their way through branches of trees and shrubs, they can cause serious damage to landscaping. Upon an infestation, homeowners will notice that their foliage appears disfigured and unsightly. Depending on the severity, bagworm damage has the potential to weaken or even kill trees.

These sneaky pests have a great ability to camouflage their cocoon bags within coniferous trees, as they resemble tiny pine cones built from dried stems and leaves. In order for a homeowner to properly prevent a bagworm issue, it’s best to frequently monitor any plants and shrubs for potential bagworm damage or feeding activity. Bagworm moth control is imperative to keeping these fast-multiplying pests from infecting an entire garden or landscape. It’s also important to thoroughly inspect any shrubs, baby trees, or greenery before purchasing to ensure that they are bagworm free.

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