Although there is likely to be a delay in egg hatch due to the environmental conditions we have experienced this spring, it is time to get ready to deal with that "infamous" insect pest known as the bagworm (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis).
Bagworms will eventually be out-and-about feeding on trees and shrubs, both broadleaf and evergreen. So, how can you alleviate the damage caused by bagworm caterpillars this year? You can initially start by "hand-picking" any bags formed last year, before the overwintering eggs hatch, and place them into a container of soapy water.
This will quickly remove large populations before they cause significant plant damage. For those less interested in the pleasures of "hand-picking," there are a number of insecticides labeled or registered for the control/suppression of bagworm populations including those with the following active ingredients (trade name in parentheses): acephate (Orthene), Bacillus thuringiensissubsp kurstaki
(Dipel/Thuricide), cyfluthrin (Tempo), lambda-cyhalothrin (Scimitar), trichlorfon (Dylox), indoxacarb (Provaunt), chlorantraniliprole (Acelepryn), and spinosad (Conserve). Many of these active ingredients are commercially available and sold under different trade names or generic products. However, several insecticides may not be directly available to homeowners. The key to managing bagworms with insecticides is to make applications early and frequently enough in order to kill the highly susceptible young caterpillars that are feeding aggressively on plant foliage.
Article information credited to Raymond Cloyd, entomologist, KSU.
Jonie James is a McPherson County Extension agent for agriculture.