Ask Burton!

This week is a reminder for our customers who had to deal with bagworms last year, and a heads-up folks who have yet to run into this pest.


Bagworms are a particularly damaging caterpillar species that can strip foliage from several of our most common trees and shrubs in the area and do serious damage to junipers, cedars, and bald cypress, and moderate leaf chewing damage to roses and Japanese maples. These caterpillars are hard to see until they’ve been feeding for several weeks, as they camouflage themselves in a cocoon with cut pieces of the host plant glued to their bag. And each week, the pest basically doubles the cumulative damage done until the pest closes off its cocoon to transform into an adult. The female of the species stays in the bag on the host plant as an adult, lays eggs in the cocoon, and dies – leaving a ticking clock for further damage next year.


If you had bagworm damage last year, the 20th of May is the date we recommend you begin treating this pest issue. (Once upon a time, we recommended Memorial Day weekend. They’ve been coming out earlier the past few years.) Use a spinosad based product like our Captain Jack Deadbug Brew, sprayed directly on the foliage of the plant, to prevent the vast majority of damage before the bagworms grow much. Spinosad is an organic insecticide with low toxicity to mammals and is our preferred treatment for the problem.