Bagworm Killing Local Trees

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

March 27, 2006

We're seeing plants start to bloom as spring break begins, but some are actually dying as it gets warmer. One insect could be attacking your trees and causing this problem. It is called the Bagworm, and you may not see them now but they're all around the area. If you do not treat them, they may be killing some of your trees.

"It's reached the point of an infestation in my opinion in Albemarle County. The Leland Cyprus particularly are heavily effected," said Deborah McAndrews, Landscape Architect.

The bagworm spends the winter in a bag, or cocoon, hanging from branches. The insect then emerges with the warm weather.

"It's terrible. It's horrible. If you look at some Leland Cyprus along the roadways, if you look carefully you'll see these little pine cone looking things hanging from the tree and that just means the tree is going to be stripped bare," said McAndrews.

They actually eat the foliage off of trees, which makes the plants unable to get the nutrients they need to survive.

"They'll spread throughout the whole county, which they have," said McAndrews.

There aren't many ways to prevent the spread, but ways to save the tree. You can either spray chemicals directly onto the worm to kill it once it emerges or spray so the tree absorbs the chemicals.

"If you use a systemic product, it will be absorbed into the foliage and as they feed on the foliage it will kill the insects," said Donnie Toms of Southern States.

Make sure to follow the directions when using these chemicals, or get a professional to help you because they can harm humans if they get into the water supply. One of the best ways to remove the worm and prevent it from spreading is actually to remove the tree and burn it.

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