It’s in the bag, man.

What is on the mind of this hip, non-hipsta’ gardener this week? How about eastern tent caterpillars, fall webworms and bagworms.

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This time of year, fall webworms are getting their yummies from many species of landscape plant material. You will find all kinds of tips out there on controlling them, from cutting off limbs for the burn pile to blasting them with insecticides.

An arborist once told me the easiest way to control minor, easily accessed infestations of either tent caterpillars or webworm is simply to split the bags wide open with your hands or other tools. Both species utilize the webbing as protection. Opening the bags makes it possible for predators like yellow jackets and birds to move in for the kill.

We have used this method quite successfully for several years at Wellfield Botanic Gardens and rarely have to spend more than a few moments dealing with the issue. Armed with this knowledge, now you can go find your own bag of worms and test out the idea.

Josh Steffen, Horticulture and Facilities Manager