Everyone who has ever dealt with an infestation of Evergreen Bagworms is aware of the destruction they cause to trees. The poor trees lose more and more of their pine needles until they eventually die from lack of them. The beautiful evergreen trees that we all adore are coming to a tragic end. Fortunately, if you know what to do, you can save your trees.
The silent destroyer of trees is the evergreen bagworm.
Few pests are as well-known as the evergreen bagworm in the realm of pests that pose a threat to the wellbeing and attractiveness of trees. The Evergreen Bagworm, despite its name, is a moth in its larval stage rather than a worm. If left unchecked, these cunning animals may wreck havoc on a variety of evergreen and deciduous trees, resulting in serious harm and even death. (1)
Getting to know the evergreen bagworm
The Evergreen Bagworm is a species of moth that is a member of the Psychidae family, and its scientific name is Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis. These tiny, unassuming insects got their name from the characteristic protective bag or case they make for themselves. Bagworm larvae make a silk-like thread that they use to sew fragments of plant matter, like leaves, twigs, and bark, to their bodies. This construction develops over time and serves as both their temporary home and method of concealment, making them appear as little sacks dangling from tree branches.
The Evergreen Bagworm Life Cycle
Understanding the Evergreen Bagworm’s life cycle is essential for managing it effectively. The female adult of these moths puts her eggs within her own bag, which begins the insects’ reproductive cycle. After she dies, the bag is then left hanging from the tree.
These eggs remain latent throughout the whole winter, hatching to generate tiny larvae in late spring or early summer. The larvae leave the bag after hatching and look for a suitable host tree. Once they have located a suitable spot, they begin to construct their bags using the silk that is produced by particular glands on their bodies.
As the larvae grow, they periodically emerge from the little, undetectable bags to replace their casing with fresh plant matter. Over time, these situations enlarge and become more visible.
As they develop, the larvae go through a number of molts, losing their skin each time to accommodate their growing size. With each instar, or stage, of growth, a new bag is constructed. The final instar of the bagworm larvae is usually reached in late summer or early fall. This stage, which lasts for roughly six weeks, has been reached, and the larvae are now ready to pupate.
The moth develops from its larval stage to its adult stage inside the protective container. Inside the bagworm casings, the pupae develop invisibly hidden. After about two weeks, the adult moths creep out of the casing through a circular aperture. The male moths, which are darker, smaller, and have clearer wings, fly off in search of females, while the bigger, wingless females stay close to the parent tree.
The Evergreen Bagworm’s Harmful Behavior
Evergreen Bagworms could initially appear to be unharmful, but if they are not handled, they can cause significant damage to trees. These pests are voracious eaters that target the foliage of different tree types. Thanks to the safety and concealment that their sacks provide, they remain hidden until the infestation is severe.
Bagworm larvae eating the tree’s leaves cause defoliation, which makes it more challenging for the tree to photosynthesize and create the nutrients it needs to develop and survive. The tree becomes weaker as a result of the feeding activity, leaving it more vulnerable to various diseases, pests, and environmental stressors. If Evergreen Bagworms are not handled, they may cause trees to deteriorate and, in some cases, die.
Infestations of the evergreen bagworm: Management
To lessen the damage caused by Evergreen Bagworm infestations, the health of affected trees must be safeguarded by quick and effective care. Think about the following techniques:
Manual Extraction: Hand picking out the bagworms can be a good remedy for mild infestations. Examine the tree branches carefully to spot the bags, which are frequently mistaken for little cones. To avoid the possibility of an infestation coming back, carefully remove the bags, taking care not to drop them on the ground.
Destruction and Pruning Pruning the problematic branches and properly eliminating them is advised if an infection is more prevalent. Bagworms can also build bags on nearby structures like fences, so those should be checked and removed if necessary.
Natural Control: Bagworms are preyed upon by several natural predators, including birds and parasitic wasps, who can greatly diminish their abundance. In order to create a healthy ecology that supports these natural predators, you need promote biodiversity in your garden.
Chemical Control: Chemical control may be required in circumstances of severe infestation or when other measures fail. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations, bagworm-specific insecticides can be applied to the foliage of afflicted trees. Given the potential environmental impact, it is significant to stress that chemical control should be employed with caution and only as a last resort.
Upkeep of Strong Trees
Treatment is never preferred above prevention when it comes to evergreen bagworms. By using the following techniques, you can reduce the likelihood of infestation and enhance the general health of your trees:
Continual Inspection: Periodically check your trees for symptoms of bagworm infestation, especially in the spring and early summer, since early discovery can greatly simplify care and limit damage.
Correct Tree Care: Keep your trees healthy by trimming any dead or damaged branches and ensuring that they receive adequate water and fertilizer. Healthy trees are more able to withstand pests and bounce back.
Bagworm Bags Removed: Immediately remove and destroy any bagworm-infested bags you find during your inspections. This preventive step can stop these pests from spreading to other trees.
Prevent Crowding: To improve air circulation and lower the danger of infection, maintain the recommended distance between trees and steer clear of crowding.
Observing the Environment’s Plant Life: Due to their ability to move from one host to another, bagworms should be watched around nearby trees and plants. If you see indications of an infestation close by, take the proper steps.
The Evergreen Bagworm can silently harm trees despite its microscopic size and near-invisibility. By understanding their life cycle, acknowledging their destructiveness, and using proper management techniques, you may protect your trees from these sneaky intruders.
Regular inspections, preventative measures, and maintaining healthy trees will go a long way in preventing infestations and maintaining the beauty and vitality of your landscape.