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Archive for Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bagworms more serious pests than webworms

A bagworm clings to an evergreen tree in downtown Lawrence on Tuesday, August 19, 2008.

A bagworm clings to an evergreen tree in downtown Lawrence on Tuesday, August 19, 2008.

August 20, 2008

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Sunshine illuminates webworms clinging to a tree in East Lawrence.

Sunshine illuminates webworms clinging to a tree in East Lawrence.

Picking bagworms from trees can be a tedious task.

But overlooking just one "bag" can mean leaving hundreds of bagworms on a tree.

Female bagworms lay about 1,000 eggs in each of those bags, according to Roger Boyd, professor emeritus at Baker University in Baldwin City. He also is tree board chairman in Baldwin City.

"If you don't pick any, they tend to build up," Boyd said.

And, he noted, the insects are cyclical. They increase in number from year to year, then die off unexpectedly.

"No one seems to know and they crash and start over," Boyd said. "They're worse this year because they had a good year last year."

The insects create protective bags, each about an inch and a half long. Inside, the females lay eggs and the males transform into moths, according to Jennifer Smith, Douglas County horticulture agent with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

Although Boyd, who cares for trees on the Baker University campus, reported an increase in bagworms in Baldwin City, Smith said she hadn't noticed an increase this season.

Bagworms feed primarily on cedar trees and some pines, but they'll also target deciduous trees.

Boyd suggests Orthenex as an insecticide that can be purchased locally to combat bagworms. Although the ideal time of year to spray is in the spring, Boyd suggests picking off as many bags as possible from the tree now.

Smith and Boyd agreed that spraying does little good this time of year.

"About the only thing they can do is pick them off and that will actually help reduce the population," Smith said. "The insect is protected by that bag so there's no point in spraying."

In Tonganoxie, tree board chairman Velda Roberts reported "a total infestation" of bagworms this season.

"They're just hitting every kind of tree," she said. "I've never seen anything like it."

Roberts recommends putting the bagworms in kerosene or diesel fuel. She cited an instance in which a woman picked the bags and then put them in a garbage can in her garage. The next morning, all of the worms had escaped and taken over the garage ceiling. Boyd suggests simply putting the insects in a tightly sealed bag before disposing of it.

Webworms different

Smith said she receives many calls about what people think are bagworms.

In reality, they are webworms. Many trees in the area look as though spiders have been busy spinning high-density webs, but it's actually the work of webworms.

Boyd said webworms are mainly a nuisance, as far as appearance, but they rarely kill a tree. Any limb with damaged foliage normally will return healthy the next year. Webworms usually feed on walnut trees, but other trees are also fair game.

Boyd said cars should not be parked under limbs covered in webworms because the insects release a sticky substance that is difficult to wash off.

Pine bark beetles

Scotch and Austrian pine trees are taking a hit this season because of another insect: the pine bark beetle.

The pine bark beetle is a species of mite.

Boyd said there's not much that can be done to save the infected trees.

"As soon as they turn brown," Boyd said, "they might as well cut them down."

Comments

gr 5 years, 8 months ago

"Boyd suggests simply putting the insects in a tightly sealed bag before disposing of it."Kind of like puppies, huh?"Scotch and Austrian pine trees are taking a hit this season because of another insect: the pine bark beetle.""The pine bark beetle is a species of mite."So is it a beetle insect or is it a mite?Better count the legs.

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evolve 5 years, 8 months ago

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/08/20/gop.vp/index.htmlJust wait til Obama wins....then the republicans will be like pests....whining and moaning....and hopefuly leaving!!

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farmgal 5 years, 8 months ago

Boyd usually has really good advise on such matters, but he missed the mark on one comment: Boyd suggests simply putting the insects in a tightly sealed bag before disposing of it.The bag worms are worse this year than I've ever seen them. One year I put some in a plastic bag (Wal-mart type of bag) and a twist tie. Left them in the garage. The next morning, some had chewed through the bag and were attempting to escape, so I would NOT recommend that method of dealing with them after you have picked them. I usually put them in a bag & then another airtight container; place them in the sun for a day & that pretty much cooks them. Sometimes I burn them, depending on the weather & how many I have.

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Piggles 5 years, 8 months ago

I have those webworms in my tree in front of my house and I have noticed them in other trees in my neighborhood and all over town. They appeared last year for the first time in my tree and then they appeared again this year. As for the sticky stuff- I have noticed it on my plants/flowers out by the front walk that are underneath the tree branches- I would have like black spots on the plants and I had to move them over in hopes that my petunias will bloom again! I also noticed that I will get like a "orangish brownish stain" on my sidewalk and used to wonder where it came from. Now I know. My tree that these webworms are in grows little berries in the fall that the starlings and couple other birds like to eat.

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4chewnut 5 years, 8 months ago

Local folks say to spray again in the spring - whether or not you see them -- once you've had them.

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John Spencer 5 years, 8 months ago

Highscore, those are webworms, when I went to Church camp in MO, we called them tentworms. I was part of maintenance crew and we would make torches and just light them up, one of the better jobs to do there.

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notnowdear 5 years, 8 months ago

We have them on our spruce and the arborvitae. Spouse sprays with pesticide to keep the numbers down, the trees alive. But it doesn't help us when the neighbors don't take care of their trees.Also I found one of the bags on one of my eggplants, one on my tomato plants (which really surprised me).Now if we can get the ljworld to report on the blister bugs that have reared their ugly heads as well.

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Chris Golledge 5 years, 8 months ago

Bagworms seem to really like my spruce. I can't imagine picking off the thousands that were on it this year. (Besides, there's no way to reach a lot of them.) I don't like using insecticides because they kill everything, not just the bagworms, but it was either that or have my wife's favorite tree suffer major damage. I think on the spraying you have to spray while they are actively eating and it helps to use a spray with a residual effect. I've sprayed too late when most of them were sealed inside the cocoon and it had little to no effect.

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HighScore 5 years, 8 months ago

I can't belive how bad the bagworms are this year. Take a drive to KC down K-10 and there are several large trees that seem to look almost completely consumed by bagworms.I had a couple weebs in by backyard, but I bought the Ortho spray and took care of them after cutting all the webs out that I could reach.

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