If you come across these hanging from your tree, it’s important to understand their significance.

Bagworms, belonging to the superfamily Tineoidea, represent a basal lineage of the Ditrysia, similar to Gelechioidea, which includes case-bearers. Despite their name suggesting a worm-like appearance during the larval stage, these insects are actually moths. With approximately 1,350 species, they are relatively small and can be found in almost every region.

Throughout their entire life cycle, bagworms reside within the protective confines of their bags, which they construct using silk and interwoven bits of foliage. These bags are formed as larvae attach plant debris such as leaves, twigs, and bark to their bodies using a silk-like thread they produce. As they mature, both the larvae and their bags increase in size.

The eggs laid by a female moth typically hatch in late spring or early summer. When it comes time to mate, only the adult male moth ventures out of the protective bag, while the female moth remains inside hers.

Bagworms typically infest both evergreen and deciduous trees, and their constructed bags sometimes resemble cones, making them easy to overlook at first glance.

Their preferred host plants include cedar, arborvitae, juniper, and false cypress. However, in the absence of these preferred hosts, bagworms will feed on the foliage of various other trees such as fir, spruce, pine, hemlock, sweetgum, sycamore, honey locust, and black locust.

Despite their innocuous appearance, bagworms can cause significant damage to trees. The challenge lies in their ability to remain hidden until the infestation reaches a severe level.

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