The Q&A Archives: Insect pods are on my bush.

Questioner's Location: Smiths Grove, KY
Date: June 24, 2005

Question: On my Emerald Green Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Smaragd'), there are these small pods growing on the branches. They are made of the foliage from the shrubs. The foliage is dying around the pods. Do you know what I can do to get rid of them now and forever?

Answer: Bagworms have found your garden! Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), sold under the trade name Dipel and Thuricide, is a great weapon against bagworms. It is basically a disease you give them (and other critters like gypsy moths, tent caterpillars, webworms, tomato hornworms, and other moth larvae). It is a great organic remedy that will not harm the birds, bees, animals and other insects in the garden. Since the pests must consume it for it to be effective, wait until you see them. It's most effective when the larvae are small. BT is very popular and is widely available in mail order catalogs and most garden centers. Plants can take quite an assault and still recover so don't prune until you have the infestation under control. If new needles don't appear next spring, prune the damaged branches back.

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