Bagworm

 Image of Bagworm

Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Ditrysia
Superfamily: Tineoidea
Family: Psychidae

The larvae of the Psychidae construct cases out of silk and environmental materials such as sand, soil, lichen, or plant materials. These cases are attached to rocks, trees or fences while resting or during their pupa stage, but are otherwise mobile. The larvae of some species eat lichen, while others prefer green leaves.

Bagworm eggs hatch in late May and early June. Young bagworms are as small as one-eighth inch long and can be difficult to see. After hatching, the larvae emerge from a hole at the base of the bag and spin down a strand of silk. The tiny insect is often caught by the wind and ballooned to nearby plants.

Bagworm larvae feed up until late August. The mature larvae then attach their bag to a branch with a strong band of silk and begin to pupate. Adult males emerge in September. They are small, furry gray moths with clear wings. The adult female does not have wings and never leaves the bag.

Control:

Where practical, bagworms can be removed with scissors or a sharp knife. Bagworms are parasitized by several ichneumonid and chalcid wasps. Low winter temperatures and bird predation on small larvae are also limiting factors.