Topics: pests, bagworms, tree care

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Top 6 Signs of Bagworms on Trees

Posted by Nate Bahler on Jul 21, 2020 4:27:18 PM
Nate Bahler
Bagworms are native to North America and can be found on the East Coast. They are, unfortunately, another pest that can often go undetected until it's too late.

Bag worms will feed on a variety of trees but are most damaging to evergreens who rely on their needles staying from year to year. They are perennial and will also feed on deciduous trees such as Maple and Sycamore. 

Bagworms tend to have an appetite for our fanciest ornamental shrubs. If they go undetected, you could run the risk of them damaging trees and shrubs to the point of no return.
We'll go over a few early signs of infestation so you can catch them before it's too late.


Bagworm Lifecycle

A bagworm is the larvae stage of a moth. A female moth will lay up to 1,000 eggs in late summer/early fall. She then leaves her bag full of eggs, seals it, and drops to the ground.
These eggs will over-winter and hatch in spring. The bagworm larvae then begin feeding and spinning their own bags (cocoon). It is in these cocoons where they will mature for 4 weeks before emerging.
The “pine cone” looking bags are what we see when the larvae has reached full maturity in late summer. This cocoon is what the full grown moth will emerge from.
Bagworms in CT


Signs of Bagworms

  • Sudden/dramatic changes in your evergreen trees (thinning & weakening). 

  • Something that looks like a mini pine cone hanging from a branch (these insects camouflage well). The spindle shaped "bags" are 1-2" long. 

  • Color change: trees become pale or brown. 

  • If your tree is juniper, arborvitae, spruce, pine, cedar or fir - this is common bagworm territory. 

  • Infestations will lead to a tree being stripped of all of its leaves or needles (on an evergreen, the needles will not grow back and attacked branches often die). 

  • If the bags you see wiggle.  Bag worms live their entire lifecycle in their bags and will move along branches as they feed.

adult bag worm moth


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