Home and Farm: Time to pick bagworms?


By Jerry Mahan



While walking to the Cedarville Labor Day Parade I noticed several spruce trees along a street loaded with bagworms. These bag structures are more noticeable now they have turned brown as summer has progressed.

Some of the bags containing females may contain eggs (up to 1000) which will hatch out next June. The bags are constructed early in the summer from material taken from the plant they feed on. The worm- like insects eat the plant foliage and can defoliate a tree like the spruce in the picture. By this time of year you are limited in control measures.

Those bags you can reach can be picked off and put in a container with soapy water to kill them. Spraying a pesticide on the tree now would not be effective as the worms are in the process of stopping eating and the bags they stay in are nearly impervious to sprays. Another option would be to spray the trees next year at the end of June with something like Bacterial Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) spray. This would kill the newly hatched larvae. BT spay is a relatively safe spray but if dealing with a large tree you may have to contract with a licensed pesticide applicator for spraying. Always follow pesticide label instructions.

By the way these insects can attack not only evergreens but deciduous plants and grass as well.

For more information on this insect log on to: https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-2149-10. This OSU Ext. factsheet is titled “Bagworm and Its Control.”

Home invasion

Is your home being invaded? I am not referring to break-ins from people but the introduction into your home of spiders, stink bugs, Multi colored Asian Lady Beetles, Cluster Flies, Box Elder Bugs and other insects. How they get in is hard to determine but they seem to appear once the weather cools and they want to over winter in your house.

Some suggestions for limiting access to your home include checking and replacing as needed bottom door and window seals as well as gaps in double- hung window. Check air vents particularly those on soffits according to Dr. Dave Shetlar OSU Ext. Entomologist as these can be a prime source of entry.

Nylon screen tends to break and aluminum screen will last longer. Also check for any gaps in the foundation where electric cables, water lines etc. come in the house and caulk as needed. Those insects found in the home should be vacuumed up and disposed of as they can crawl out of the vacuum bag.

Be careful about spraying the outside of your house with pesticides especially if you have vinyl siding as it may be discolored. Outside sprays containing bifenthrin, or cyfluthrin can help but again always follow the label on the product. Try to keep mulch at least a foot away from your home foundation to help control insects as well. For more ideas on insect control log on to https://ohioline.osu.edu/. Scroll down the list of factsheets to find the insects posing a problem.

Fall seeding

If you have areas of your lawn, pasture or hayfield which need reseeding now is the time. The cool temperatures, rainfall and less weed pressure all are in your favor. Do not be tempted to take the easy way out and just spread seed on top of the ground. You need seed to soil contact and that requires some tillage.

If seeding a large area I would suggest getting a soil test to determine what should be added in the way of fertilizer or lime to increase your chance of success. Seed wise you get what you pay for so check the seed bag label for contents. Stay away from annual grass seed mixtures as they will die with the first frost.

Farm Science Review Sept. 19-21

For information on programs and events at the Review log on to the website: http://fsr.osu.edu for details. Check out the schedule and make your plans. Wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Tickets for the Farm Science Review are $7 online, at OSU Extension county offices through Sept. 18 and at participating agribusinesses. They are $10 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free.

Test your well water

Do not miss the opportunity to have your well water tested at the “Test Your well” event 4:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 in the Fairgrounds Dining Hall, 120 fairground Road.

Residents of Greene County can bring in water samples from their well for free testing for nitrates, iron and for the first 70 households free testing for lead, manganese and arsenic. Additional tests for bacteria are $20 and Greene Country Farm Bureau members can pick up a $20 voucher credit for the test at the event. For more information contact the Greene Soil and Water Conservation office at 937-372-4478 x3.

Money workshop

This is your opportunity to learn how to do some estate planning from some local experts. The My Money, My Stuff and My Life five-week course sponsored by Greene County Council on Aging provides an opportunity to start or continue your planning 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Oct. 3-31, Xenia Community Center, 1265 W. Second St.

This program is presented with the cooperation of local professionals volunteering their time and expertise so we can all have the needed tools to plan for our future and the future of our families. For information log on to the Greene County Council on Aging website http://gccoa.org/ or call 937-376-5486. Cost is $40 per household.

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By Jerry Mahan

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at: mahan.2@att.net.

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at: mahan.2@att.net.