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Dallas Morning News - March 11, 2021

Bags, Bagworms and Beneficials


First thing to understand about wrapping up from the recent freeze damage is what's critical not to do, but alas, gets done in great volume everywhere. Putting leaves and dead plants in bags and sending them to the landfill is inexcusable. It's a waste of time, jams up landfills, costs cities and homeowners money and also throws away valuable organic matter and natural fertilizer.


Bagged leaves, grass clippings, etc. going to landfills should be banned


Instead, mow the leaves and other debris. If you don't have any turf, do it on the driveway or other hard surface. With the volume reduced by 80 to 90% it can be used to cover bare soil in beds or put in the compost pile as a last resort. If you have grass it can be easily mulched right into the turf with the excess used as mulch or compost.


When bagworms are attached and hanging on plants, removal and crushing is the only option


If your plants were damaged last year by bagworms, you can prevent it from happening again. If you wait for treatment until the bags are hanging in the plants, it's too late. Spraying with a mixture of imidicloprid and nuclear waste wouldn't even hurt the silk-lined brown bags at that point. So, let's do this. Keep an eye out for little tepee-shaped hunks of organic material moving slowly and eating needles of conifers and holes in broadleaf foliage. While feeding, the young female larvae can be sprayed and killed with orange oil mixtures, Bt products or spinosad products.


What will prevent the bagworms from attacking in the first place (in many cases) is the release of trichogramma wasps. Simply pin the tabs or strips on tree trunks or fences. These almost microscopic wasps emerge from the sandpaper looking material and fly off to parasitize and destroy pest moth eggs. Nothing works better for the control of moth larvae such as cankerworms, greenworms, loopers, armyworms, pecan casebearers, tent caterpillars, webworms and bagworms. Trichogramma wasps must be put out before the pests hatch and start eating. We are now in the perfect window for the release of this helpful beneficial. What will eliminate the assault from bagworms and other insects and diseases is the Sick Tree Treatment. See details under GUIDES on


Female bagworm larva damaging foliage


Trichogramma wasp tab for controlling caterpillars such as bagworms


It's also the perfect time to release the other beneficial I recommend to all gardeners, farmers and other plant growers. Beneficial nematodes will help control all soil-borne pests. Overall broadcasting is best but spot treating helps if the budget dictates. In an organic program one treatment a year is usually enough. They do not hurt wildlife, pets, people or beneficial insects but are greatly effective for the control of fleas, ticks, grubworms, termites, fire ants and roaches.


If your local garden center, feed store or hardware store doesn't have these great living organic tools in stock, they can be ordered on line. We have a list of reputable sources under Beneficial Insects on





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