This post may gross some of you out. I was surprised by several of the comments on my FB feed…however, for you homeschooling Moms teaching science and about God’s creation, this may serve as a little lesson on nature to add into your day. As we strive to self-educate in every area of practical living, this is where learning and homesteading collide!
The first time we ever saw these little dangling pouches, we had no idea what they were. When we stood still for a few moments observing them, we could see that something in them was moving. Yikes! What IS that in the bag?
This year while on a walk, we saw them again – young bagworms at 1/4″ – covering an arborvitae and then another day there were more dangling - these were 1- 1 1/2″ – on an 14′ Colorado blue spruce we planted 4 years ago as a part of a wind break.
We have learned that yearly inspection and hand picking are the best ways to control these hungry critters, so we grabbed a discarded Starbucks glass from the trash and got busy!
During the photo op inside, one peeked out, apparently looking for its next bite!
As bagworms grow, they spin the cocoon adding more bits of plant matter and in this way construct their house, er…bag.
We ended up spraying with environmentally safe Safer Brand B.t. because some were out of our reach, and they were stripping the needles of our pretty blue pine. They can severely defoliate and kill evergreens, such as spruce and junipers. Bagworms may also feed on deciduous trees, but since they grow new leaves each year, the defoliation caused by the feeding usually does not kill them.
Here are some tips:
- Check your evergreens and trees and look for the tell-tale suspended bags.
- Hand-picking is easy when they are big. Do not throw the bags on the ground, but gather them in a plastic bag and tie it closed when you dispose of it in the trash. Once picked off the tree, they are still for quite a while, but are soon off and away to the next host plant.
- Safer Brand B.t., can be successfully utilized in the control of bagworms without environmental concerns or harm to wildlife and beneficial insects. This is what we use, and it works.
- Apply while the bagworm is in its early larval stages towards the end of spring, right after the larvae have emerged and drifted (ballooning in the wind) to their new host plants.
- It is recommended that this product be applied late in the afternoon or on cloudy days since B.t. breaks down in the sunlight.
Bagworms, can look different depending on the species and host plant. Here are some of the outfits a bagworm might wears:
Have you had bags in your yard? What did you do about them?