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Webworms/Bagworms may be the issue

Posted by moccasinlanding z9A AL (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 13:22

I've recently discovered that the webworms/bagworms found in my pecan trees create the kind of damage to the tree leaves that is being done to my hosta leaves.

I did not associate webworms with the small white "webs" that were beginning to form at the leaf/petiole interface--because the webs up in the trees are much larger. However, now, I am realizing this is a possible source of the leaf damage to my hosta.

One type of damage:
--skeletonize the leaf, leaving only the vein structure and the dead petiole.

-- chew through half the petiole and it falls over.

--long chews between veins of the hosta leaves.

So I am mentioning this here, in case other folks have trees with bagworms in them. I mistakenly assumed they only affected pecan trees. However, I now realize it could be a deciduous plant pest, which by a stretch could mean hosta as well.

I include a link to one site for home remedies for bagworms. Remember last year I had all these nice assassin bug nymphs on some of my fragrant hosta? Well they are one of the GOOD predator insects which eat such things. Also wasps, yellow jackets and hornets eat the larva of bagworms, before they hatch out.

And it is interesting that the caterpillars of the bagworms travel down the trunks of the infected trees, to dig into the ground and overwinter in cocoons. So one clue is to interrupt that migration--and the "home remedies" include slathering petroleum jelly on the trunks of mature trees, or on (Saran) plastic wrap placed around the younger trees, and then apply petroleum jelly to the Saran, as a way to break the next year cycle. It sure is an inconvenient mess, but I remember long ago, pecan orchards always painted the bottom 4-5 feet of the orchard trees with a white lime sort of paste or whitewash. I now believe that may have been a good idea for insect control, not simply an "old southern custom."

I mention this here because others with pecan trees, or signs of the bags forming in deciduous trees, need to be alert to small infestations before they get to be huge ones. And certainly it is more environmentally friendly to keep pesticides out of the picture.

I haven't seen any assassin bugs or nymphs so far this year, but I have plenty of wasps of all shapes and sizes--and lots of wild birds. I'll planning to power blast the bags to open them up, where the wasps and birds can get to the larva/worms Being environmentally friendly has its advantages sometimes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Home remedies for webworms/bagworms

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Webworms/Bagworms may be the issue

Mocc, can we see photos? Have you checked with the extension service to see if web worms attack other things than trees?

I have some little webs on my hosta. I didn't see then until I decided to spread corn meal in my pots. (A website said that ants carry corn meal to the nest and it will kill the queen. It doesn't seem to work.) My young friend was helping, so he spread some on the leaves. That's when I saw the fine webs. I'm wondering if that's what I have.

The ants don't seem to be harming the hosta, but they have to be eating something. These seem to be "little black ants". They are everywhere. I've even found nests in my hosta pots.


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