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Dealing with bagworms

Posted at 3:46 PM, Aug 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-06 18:02:20-04

You may have always thought that some of those tiny pods on trees are just little pinecones. Turns out that's not quite the case, they're actually home to one of the area's pests: the bagworm.

Bagworms are typically found in different types of evergreen trees and other plants used in windbreaks. 

UNL Extension entomologist Jonathan Larson says these caterpillars are good at blending into their surroundings.

"What they do is they eat the leaves but they'll also collect parts of them and spin it into some silk which they use to construct the tough bag that's around their body."

Bagworms may be good at blending in, but there are signs to look for on your evergreen trees.

"If it's an evergreen tree, you'll see bronzing and if you look closely you'll see the actual bags hanging in the tree," explains Larson.

The best way to get rid of bagworms will involve some manual labor.

"You can take them off the tree, throw them in a bucket of soapy water and destroy them. Don't just throw them on the ground, they'll crawl somewhere else and get back up on the plant," adds Larson.

It's too late to spray trees now, but next year will be a better time to get ahead and protect your trees from bagworms.

"Spray the tree with Bt in the early part of the year, like late May, early June," says Larson.

And if left untreated, these bagworms can kill a plant or tree in about three to five years.