do bagworms die in the winter – [bagworms lifecycle]

Yes, bagworms die in the winter, but you should not take this lightly.

If you already do not know what a bagworm is, it is a moth in its early stage, also familiar to us as caterpillars. Unlike other insects, bagworms make a cover of themselves with the tiny barks and leave known as a bag and hold the bag with some of the silk they produce.

Bagworms might not sound menacing until you find out they are on your lawn. Bagworms love spruce, arborvitae, pine, and juniper trees. What bagworms will do is feed on your precious plant till your plant dies from inside.

 bagworms die in the winter

Do bagworms die in the winter?

Yes, bagworms die during winter, but unfortunately, few can still survive. Something special about bagworms humans do not like is how fast they can repopulate themselves. A female bagworm can lay about 1000 eggs at a time, and you can probably guess what will happen if most of those eggs are hatched.

Bagworms cannot stay alive in cold temperatures and prefer the hot summer. Luckily winter brings you the perfect opportunity since bagworms die due to season. Bagworms take about 2-3 months to grow into adults and leave their cocoons.

A fully grown adult moth is looking for a mate for the remainder of his lifetime. Female moths are quite different from male moths. Female moths lack eyes, legs, and wings. Female moths stay inside their bags and lay their eggs. 

Now that male moths are dead, all that is left are female moths. This brings you the best time to deal with bagworms since the number of bagworms has decreased, and only a few are left on the trees.

If you think this is not enough, wait for mother nature to assist you in removing bagworms. Since most of the bagworms are dead birds, rodents and wasps can spot the bagworms full of eggs since they are most visible. 

What is the life cycle of a bagworm?

The life of a bagworm starts as an egg on a tree. The eggs start to hatch in early June. The eggs will hatch anytime between 1 month. Since they hatch on trees, they start feeding on those trees for survival. There are about 138 species of plants that bagworms feed on. Among them, pine, spruce, arborvitae, and juniper are their favorites.

In the insect world, there are about 1200 species of caterpillars, and bagworm is one of them. The egg quickly hatches into caterpillars which we call bagworms.

But in reality, bagworms are given to these caterpillars mainly because of their unique characteristics. When an egg hatches into a caterpillar, it starts to gather pieces of leaves and bark and make a temporary cover known as a bag. That is where the word bagworm came from since it is a worm that lives in a bag, unlike other caterpillars which live inside their cocoons. These bags protect them from birds and other predators in the wild. The bagworms slowly suspend their bags from the trees. 

After the bagworms hatch and make their bags, they feed on the tree. They make their bags so they can feed on trees while holding them on their body instead of going inside and outside.

The male bagworms have legs to hold the bags and their head facing upwards. Within 3-4 weeks, they are ready to start making their cocoons. They build their cocoons inside the bags. The cocoons are made from the silk that bagworms produce.

The bagworm is ready to hatch into a dark-colored moth within a few days and finally leave its tree. The male moths take off and start to roam around the tree to mate with female bagworms. The lifespan of an adult moth is short; during this time, they try to mate if possible or die. 

The life cycle of a female bagworm is different from a male bagworm. Female bagworms have no legs, eyes, or wings. The task of a female bagworm is to mate with an adult moth, leave eggs inside the bag and die.

Since a female bagworm has no wings, it cannot fly and has to live inside its bag after a female bagworm hatch from an egg. A female bagworm can lay about 1000-1500 eggs at a time. After laying eggs, the eggs stay inside the bag while the female bagworms die. Then the new eggs hatch into a caterpillar, and the cycle continues. 

Do you need to spray bagworms every year?

Yes, you must spray bagworms every year if you have noticed your tree already has bagworms. You should not take Bagworms lightly. Bagworms are troublesome insects that can ruin your tree if left untreated.

You might be wondering if a few Bagworms cannot be the reason for a dead tree but two or three thousand Bagworms will become the perfect reason. At a single time, a female bagworm can lay up to 1500 legs which is an alarming number for a tree. 

The best time to spray is early June, when the eggs are ready to hatch. During this time, the young bagworms do not have good resistance to insecticides and will easily die. Applying the same insecticides any time around the year won’t be effective at all.

To remove those bagworms, you will require a strong pesticide. If you are unaware, applying pesticides throughout the year can be an expensive method of getting rid of bagworms. Another time to apply insecticides is during winter, when the number of bagworms is few. It is not advised to use sprays when the number of bagworms is less because insecticides can harm your plant and other animals like dogs, birds, and other peaceful insects.

 During winter, most of the Bagworms die because of low temperatures, and only a few female bagworms can be found on the trees. You can hand pluck them and make sure to throw them in a bucket of a mixture of soap and water or drown them.

It will ensure that the bagworms are dead, and you can put them in a sealed plastic bag and throw them in a bin. 

What is the best way to get rid of bagworms?

Among many ways of getting rid of bagworms, the best possible way to get rid of bagworms is by hand plucking them. You can apply this method when you notice that your tree has brown-colored sacks hanging from it.

During this time, the number of bagworms is few since they have started to live in that particular tree. Instead of using pesticides that are harmful to your environment and surroundings, you can hand pluck them but make sure to wear protective gloves. Prepare a mixture of dishwashing liquid and warm water in a bucket.

Now you can pluck the bagworms and put them in the bucket full of a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid. It will maximize the effectiveness of killing bagworms. 

If the number of bagworms is uncountable since bagworms can multiply fast, you can use strong pesticides to kill the bagworms. Spray the insecticides twice a day. Consider spraying during the morning and evening when bagworms are actively feeding on your trees.

Clean the surrounding area of your tree and drown the bagworms in warm water to ensure they are completely dead. If things get out of hand, you can always seek professional advice. They are experts and will look thoroughly at the root of the problem, and by judging the damage that has already been done to your plant, they will proceed to action. 

Even if your tree has taken a lot of damage, restoring your dying plant remains possible. You can cut the damaged branches, and they will grow again.

Even if you have to cut off an unusual part of the branch which can affect the looks of your tree, don’t hesitate to make the right decision because over time your tree will grow and make it somewhat even to look at. 

How long do bagworms Stay in cocoons?

A male bagworm will stay inside the cocoons for 3-4 weeks before turning into a moth. The reason which can affect the process of growth is temperature. In high temperatures, the cocoons will hatch faster and slower in low temperatures.

It is hard to see a female form a cocoon because the lifespan of a female bagworm is short. After the male bagworms come out of their cocoons, they seek to mate with a female bagworm. After mating, the male dies; shortly after that, the female bagworm dies after laying eggs. 


Bagworms can be disastrous when they are out of control, and considering the benefits they provide to the environment, which is none besides a food source for a few animals, it is more alarming to keep them alive.

It is worse when the plant you planted is about to die because of some unwanted insects, and you must take action immediately. There is no good reason to support bagworms, considering the destruction they leave behind. What would be your opinion about bagworms? Let me know in the comment section below. 

You can read our recant article about bagworms by clicking the link below:

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