Increase in bagworms threatens trees, foliage

Increase in bagworms threatens trees, foliage (Image 1)

Years of drought conditions has caused an increase in bagworms, an insect that threatens the life of trees and foliage.

At the Cedars of Lebanon State Park, it is pretty easy to find evidence of bagworms.  The branches of the cedar trees are covered with bagworms, which eat the foliage and use the leaves to make their bags.

“We have been getting a lot of calls about bagworms,” said assistant state forester David Arnold.

He says one of the main reasons for seeing an increase of bagworms in the state park is because of previous years of drought conditions.

The droughts in combination with older trees growing close together in thin soil have left the cedar trees week.

“Bagworms quite often are an indication of a tree being under stress. It is a secondary factor that comes along,” Arnold explained.

He also said that when a tree or forest becomes weak, attacks from disease or insects are often are often deadly.

“Trees are just like people. If you are young and vigorous, in good health, you are going to be able to ward off any kind of cold or sickness, disease, etcetera. In some aspects trees are the same way,” Arnold said.

He added that even healthy trees in our yards can become infested with bagworms, but bagworms only in a few trees can easily be controlled.

“Whether it is a bagworm or some kind of other insect or disease pest, there are products you can get pretty readily at your local hardware stores,” he continued.

Arnold warned that homeowners should carefully read the label and follow the directions.

“Those tools can be deployed very efficiently on an individual tree in a yard,” he added.

In an old forest like the Cedars of Lebanon, bagworms are just part of the cycle of nature.

If you want more information on how to control bagworms or other pests in your yard, you can contact the Division of Forestry or your University of Tennessee County Extension Agent.

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