Monday, September 12, 2011

Bagworms on a Special Tree

Elaine, Verlon and I picked Bag Worms off  a Blue Spruce tree at the Seward Country Club this morning. This is one of the most attractive trees on the Golf Course and one we grew in our garden from a seedling. We moved it to its present site 11 years ago when it was 2 feet high as a memorial to a dear  friend. Bagworms survive winter as eggs inside a tear-drop shaped bag that can contain over 800 eggs. We picked nearly 2-gallons of bags this morning which we estimated to number in the 1,100-1,300 range. The eggs emerge as larvae in May and at this stage, feed on the plant's foliage and can kill it. The larvae use a combination of silken secretion and parts of the plant to create a bag around themselves. In late summer, the larvae suspend the bags during which time they transform into the pupae stage before becoming adults. The male adult emerges in early fall as a moth and fertilizes the female that is still in the bag. The male dies after the process and the female lays eggs in the bag and drops from it to her death. The eggs remain in the bag until May when they emerge as larvae and the cycle is completed. 

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