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Pine Cone or Problem??

It's the middle of summer, where the days are long and warm and the sun is bright. You sit reclining on your back porch with an ice cold lemonade, admiring your lovely trees (as all sane people do), when you notice some new funky-looking pine cones on your evergreens. Huh?!

They aren't pine cones, but they are a problem! These pine cone look-a-likes are nests or homes for BAGWORMS, a pest of many tree species. (Bagworms are most likely to find arborvitaes to be the tastiest treats, though!)

While the bags are most apparent in July and August, the bagworm's life cycle begins earlier in the summer. The earlier it is found, the easier it is to control!

Step 1: Baby bagworms hatch from eggs in old bags that hung on over the winter.

Step 2. They crawl out of their bag to make a new home and feed. Leaves = food & building material.

Step 3. Once they make a new bag-home out of leaves and their own silk, they become very anti-social, popping their head out only to eat.

Step 4. Nature calls and winged males venture out in August to mate with females who never leave their bag.

Step 5. Eggs are laid in the fall, and so begins the cycle anew.

Before you toss your lemonade out and curse the summer, here are some simple solutions!

If your tree isn't overrun with bags and they are within reaching distance, the easiest thing to do is pick them off and drown them in soapy water. Nope, that's really not a joke!

If that is not a viable solution, or when your tree has been defoliated extensively, give us a call! There are easy and simple pesticide solutions that can be done even late in the growing season. A defoliated tree, if still salvageable, may also need some TLC to come back around.


  1. Females can produce over 1,000 eggs that overwinter in their bag-home....TRUE!

  2. The bags grow with the caterpillars....TRUE!

  3. Bags are about 1/2" long at maturity in late August or early September....FALSE! Try 2" long!

  4. Teenage bagworms all meet in the 'most dope' bag-home for a mid-summer party....alas, this unfortunately is FALSE.

TREE PUN FUN: How do you properly identify a dogwood tree?

A: By its bark!

Loggin' off for now,

Sarah Nelson

ISA Certified Arborist #IN-3457A

Arborcare, Inc.

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