Controlling pests

Bag worms on narrow leafed evergreens, such as junipers and arborvitae are a pest to keep an eye out for this time of year. Examine plants to determine if there is an infestation.

When small, the bag worm is difficult to detect, but close inspection will expose their presence. The worms will be incased in a silky-like bag to which they have attached green bits of needles cut from the host plant. The encasement bag will begin at about the size of a small kernel of wheat, and will be attached near and hanging from the terminal ends of new growth.

The end attached to the plant can be opened and closed by the small worm. When danger is suspected, the worm pulls the draw string and closes the bag, when ready to eat, it opens the end and sticks out his head to feed. As the worm continues to grow, it continues to increase the size of the bag by adding more needles to it. The worm will grow to approximately 1 ½ inch in diameter in only a few days.

Because the worm is able to protect itself efficiently, as it grows and keeps putting new needles on the bag, the cheapest, simplest and most effective way to control the pest is when it is small. Removal by hand guarantees control of the worms in bags picked, but not the entire population, especially in larger trees. This method required a good deal of time and perseverance.

Used according to manufacturer’s label instructions, the following insecticides are good bagworm control: Bacillus thruingiensis, orthene, malathion and Sevin. The larger the pests, the more damage they will inflict to the host plant and are more difficult to control. If not controlled, they can completely defoliate the host plant and possibly kill it.

Increasing temperatures cause increasing numbers of ticks to appear. Now is the time to take action against these pests. To help reduce tick populations, keep lawns mowed as low as is practical, and apply proper labeled pesticides. Due to decrease in killing action of most chemicals by weathering, more applications may need to be made over time.

Fencing or other barriers may help keep tick hosts off your property. Wildlife, rodents and neighbors’ pets can bring ticks into the lawn, increasing the possibility of re-infestation. Treating yards under these conditions every four to five weeks will help reduce the number of ticks. Remember, if ticks are in the yard, they will continue to be a problem on pets.

A local veterinarian can advise for best treatment methods for pets. Overdosing with pet treatments too frequently can be harmful to pets, as well as an unnecessary expense. Purchasing a flea and tick collar for pets will also help.

Examples of tick control products labeled for homeowner’s use include Ortho Bug-B-Gon Max, Bayer Advanced Power Force and Sevin. Homeowners should read labels carefully to determine which chemicals can be used in the home and on pets.