How to get rid of plaster bagworms naturally.

How to Get Rid of Plaster Bagworms Naturally (Home Remedies)

So, you need to get rid of plaster bagworms in your house. Fast.

Are you seeing their bag (cases) dangling from your garage ceiling?

Are you squeamish to even think about a caterpillar pulling a big bag around (and hiding in it)?

Does the thought of a giant moth flying out of the silk bag freak you out?

Don’t worry. They’re not THAT hard to get rid of.

In this article, we’ll talk about:

  • How to identify plaster bagworms
  • Why you have them, how they spread, and when they’re most active
  • Natural ways to get rid of bagworms
  • How to keep them away from your home
  • The best sprays to kill them
  • How to get rid of bagworms on trees
  • And more

By the end of this article, you should have everything you need to know to manage, control, and eliminate these pests.

And if you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Sound good? Let’s bag up these bagworms.

What’s a plaster bagworm?

Plaster bagworm hanging from twig.
A bagworm “hanging out” outside on a twig.

Plaster bagworms are the tiny larvae you find on your walls and ceiling.

Do you see tiny, ovular cases that look like pumpkin seeds hanging from your roof?

These are the protective “bags” of bagworms, also commonly confused with casebearers.

They’re the larvae form of moths and have two distinct phases of their lifecycle. They start as a caterpillar stuck in a silk case where they’ll crawl around your home, eating old webs and debris.

Then they’ll pupate and emerge as an adult moth just to continue the cycle. There are over 1350 different species all over the world.

Bagworms aren’t exactly as pleasant as a butterfly, but they’re not too difficult to get rid of. If you don’t have a severe infestation, you may be able to get rid of them using some natural DIY home remedies.

These little buggers have some other common names:

  • Bagworm
  • Bags
  • Psychidae
  • Household casebearer (mistakenly)
  • Casebearer (mistakenly)
  • Case moths
  • Bagmoths
  • Bagworm moths

Because the household casebearer and the plaster bagworms are so alike, there’s a lot of confusion between the two species. Regardless, the techniques to get rid of them remain largely the same and are effective for both.

Plaster bagworm vs. casebearer

The plaster bagworm often is confused with the household casebearer.

Both of them are closely related species, but the casebearer and plaster bagworm are distinct species.

The casebearer (AKA casemaking clothes moth) also will make a bag for the larvae which can be found throughout the home. Both species follow a similar way of life but have different classifications.

You can tell them apart by their colors, patternings, and size. The differences are minimal and don’t really matter for clearing the infestation anyway.

For instance, this video combines the two terms and uses them synonymously:

 

Note that bagworms are moths in the family Psychidae, while household casebearers are moths in the Tineidae family.

However, the name household casebearer is now accepted under Phereoeca uterella, rather than the plaster bagworm.

The semantics don’t matter regardless.

You can get rid of household casebearers using similar home remedies to bagworms such as essential oils, manual removal, soapy water, and vacuuming.

Plaster bagworm life cycle

Plaster bagworm life cycle.
Bagworms have a two-part life cycle.

The lifecycle of a bagworm is nothing special. They start as a caterpillar (known as the larvae) and crawl around with the silk bag tied to their backs.

They crawl around and forage for food (debris, detritus, webs, wool, fabrics, furniture, etc.) until they pupate.

After this, they emerge as adult moths.

Mating

Females mate with males during the warmer months.

The females will deposit up to 200 eggs by attaching them to surfaces where the larvae are likely to have a food source.

For plaster bagworms, this is usually on ceilings, walls, and other humid areas with plenty of debris for the larvae to consume. The larvae create their silk case after hatching and will forage for food, such as organic detritus and debris found within your house.

They can also eat fungus and mold spores found on wooden structures.

Upon hatching, the entire lifecycle of the plaster bagworm can be completed in about 2-3 months. This allows them to quickly reproduce and build up to extreme numbers.

Egg

The eggs are found on crevices, cracks, and joints of doors, walls, and baseboards.

The females cement the eggs to surfaces with a mixture of debris.

Up to 200 eggs can be deposited over a single week. The eggs look like small blue ovals with a pale tint and are less than 0.5mm in length.

Eggs take about 1-2 weeks to hatch but vary depending on environmental conditions, species, and temperature.

Larvae (caterpillar)

The larvae will emerge from their case and walk around bringing the case alongside them.

They eventually abandon the case after becoming an adult.

They’re considered to be caterpillars at this point. The larvae part of their life cycle consists of walking around and foraging for food.

They’re commonly found under webs, bedrooms, bathrooms, garages, rugs, carpets, curtains, joists, sills, foundations, subflooring, building exteriors, farm sheds, lawn furniture, farm machinery, tree trunks, and even under your home. There’s no limit to where the cases are found.

The larva builds the case before it hatches and each instar forces a larger case. It secrets silk to build a foundation at both ends and uses various debris to add to the case.

After the first case has been built, the larvae will move around and pull the case. Each molt results in a larger case. The largest cases are about 8-14mm in length with a 3-4mm width.

The caterpillar larvae rarely can be seen by people.

The larvae hide in the case and shield from predators.

A fully developed larva caterpillar spans about 7mm in length with a dark head and white body.

Three pairs of legs are visible and it can extend and contract from the case.

Bagworm pupa

The caterpillar will pupate and does this inside the case.

This is when the bag usually sits on a vertical ledge you’ll commonly see it stuck to your walls. The thing to note is that when you see it hanging upside down, it’s likely not pupating yet.

That’s because when they pupate, you’ll see BOTH ends of the case cemented to a vertical surface.

But when you only see ONE end, such as when it hangs from your ceiling, it’s not pupating yet and the caterpillar still can come out and move around.

This is important to distinguish for ridding plaster bagworms because you can tell which part of the casebearer life cycle the bug is currently in.

This pupal phase spans about 16 days on average.

Adult moth

The adult moth will merge from the case, complete with a full wingspan.

The adult plaster bagworm moths look like your typical moth.

They have two long visible antennas and a wingspan of about 12mm in length. There are visible black or gray markings on the forewings.

The hindwings are just a solid gray or dark brown color with no patterning. The legs are also visible and are gray, silver, or white.

There’s a visible tuft of hair on the head and wing edges.

Scales are also visible. Females are bigger and wider while males are smaller and thinner.

The females are usually more patterned than males. Patterns and markings will vary depending on the species and environmental conditions.

The complete life cycle of plaster bagworms contains 6-7 instars and takes about 40-50 days to complete. From egg to adult takes about 74 days on average.

Do bagworms turn into anything?

Bagworm casebearer outdoors.
The bag eventually sprouts an adult moth which emerges in the springtime.

Yes, plaster bagworms turn into moths.

The caterpillar larvae are the larvae phase of their lifecycle. After they pupate, they emerge as an adult moth.

Where are they found?

Plaster bagworms are found in coaster states where temperatures are high and humidity is prevalent.

States like Florida, California, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Louisiana, and new york with high populations of people and unkempt homes attract bagworms.

They’re also found in South America and other southern countries.

Within the household, they can be found in dark, humid areas. Though they can also be found in broad daylight. They’re mainly attracted to a stable food source with minimal disturbances.

The adult female will deposit hundreds of eggs which hatch into larvae. The larvae then build the bags you commonly see hanging on your ceiling.

What do they look like?

The bagworm has two separate phases of its life cycle that calls for distinct appearances.

The larva is a caterpillar that carries the case/bag along with it as it forages.

After it pupates into a moth, the adult moth can fly and will abandon the empty case.

So they have both a “crawling” and “flying” phase.

What does a bagworm larvae look like?

Plaster bagworms are easily identified by the silk case they carry.

The moth larva is protected from the elements through the case and can be found enclosed within the material. The case has tapered ends that are narrow with a bulging center.

You may also see adult plaster moths, which are dark gray with 3-4 patches on their front wings and lighter colored hairs on their head.

The bag will usually have a mixture of soil, felt, woolens, hair, sand, feces, fibers, and other debris they harvest from your home.

The larva has true legs and will emerge from the case to walk across surfaces, dragging the case with it like a snail. The cases are constructed during the caterpillar stage (larval) and this is when most people notice them.

The cases are thin and flat similar to a pumpkin seed. The silk lining allows orifices at both ends.

Does the winter kill bagworms?

Wintertime kills bagworms.
The cold winter kills the adult worms, but the larvae overwinter.

The winter’s cold weather kills both adult male and female plaster bagworms, but the larvae overwinter by hiding.

They’re safe from the cold temperatures by hiding inside the silk case.

They’ll emerge when temperatures pick up in the springtime, so the best time to find a bunch of them is during the winter.

You may see dozens of bags hanging on your roof during this time.

What do plaster bagworms eat?

Plaster bagworms aren’t picky about their food source and will eat any organic matter left behind.

They tend to congregate where there’s plenty of food to eat, high humidity, and minimal disturbances.

This tends to be areas like your garage, attic, stucco, vinyl, sidings, and basement, but they can also be found in the bedroom, kitchen, and any other room of your home or apartment.

They can also be found on the interior and exterior surfaces of your house, and a variety of materials like wood, brick, and stucco.

Some of their favorite foods include:

  • Spider webs that have been abandoned
  • Dead bugs
  • Organic detritus
  • Larvae cases of other bagworms
  • Debris
  • Human hair
  • Wool
  • Lint
  • Dust
  • Cobwebs
  • Fabrics
  • Sand
  • Soil
  • Plant material
  • Liches

They have very basic needs and will just need some food to sustain themselves.

They’re also not picky about shelter provided that their humidity needs are met. That’s it.

And that’s why they can suddenly show up in huge numbers.

Can they damage clothes?

Bagworms will eat wool, but they don’t eat other materials used in clothing like nylon, cotton, spandex, and polyester.

So if you have wool clothing or furniture, you should be careful.

But for everything else, they should be a minimal threat. You’ll rarely find them in your wardrobe or closet anyway, as they’re not known to be closet bugs due to low humidity in a drawer.

If you do find their cases stuck on your clothing or furniture, double-check for more so you can confirm it wasn’t a fluke.

Where do bagworms lay their eggs?

Adult bagworm moth.
Bagworm eggs can be found on vertical surfaces like walls and home exteriors.

Plaster bagworms breed and mate unusually compared to most other bugs you may be used to.

Female adults will keep their bags, which has her pupal case and this is where the eggs are deposited. The eggs then remain stuck inside the bag, which is then usually found on your ceiling, walls, and yard.

You may find them attached to branches, twigs, plants, and other debris outside with a small piece of silk.

Are plaster bagworms harmful to humans? Do they bite?

Plaster bagworms are not harmful to humans.

They don’t bite, sting, or transmit any dangerous diseases to people. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore them.

They can show up in huge numbers rapidly if you don’t start a pest management program.

The larvae can damage your ceiling, walls, stucco, and other materials over time, though this can be fixed for most infestations. If you have bagworms that have built up extensively, you may notice damaged structural materials or cosmetic damage to your home.

Some bagworms will eat fibers such as rugs, furniture, clothing, and other natural fibers- especially wool. Since there are many different types of bagworm species, this depends on the type you’re dealing with.

And once they hatch into their adult counterparts, they become moths and can fly throughout your home which can lead to more damage.

You also may come across additional areas of activity.

Why do I have plaster bagworms?

Plaster bagworm on wall.
A bagworm case stuck to the wall. (By Leyo – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0 ch.)

There are two main reasons why you have plaster bagworms in your home or garden:

  • They have a suitable environment to sustain themselves (humid, hot, and sheltered)
  • They have plenty of food available to eat (webs, dust, fabrics, etc.)

These pests are NOT picky and will show up suddenly out of nowhere. This is true during the period of their lifecycle when they pupate in the larvae case.

Since most infestations are just one type of bagworm species, you may see a ton of them all dangling on the ceiling within the same room.

The adults mate and deposit their eggs which over time will result in these bagworms on your walls and ceilings.

The adults mate around the same time, which means the larvae eggs are deposited simultaneously. Then, they all hatch around the same time and this is why they all appear out of nowhere- at the same time!

Does that make sense?

Even though mating, hatching, and lifecycle times vary depending on the environment, all the bagworm species in YOUR environment should have nearly the same event times during their lifecycle.

So if you have a lot of bagworms, this is why.

How do bagworms spread?

Bagworms are prolific breeders and simply spread by the adult female moth depositing her eggs all over your property.

The eggs are small and look like pale-bluish seeds that are stuck on surfaces, usually in a dark area or hidden from view.

After they hatch, the small larvae emerge and will begin to feed. This continues their lifecycle and propagation, which continues to spread bagworms throughout your property.

Over many months, you may end up with a TON of plaster bagworms, especially if you don’t keep your home maintained.

Rooms or areas that are dirty or ignored will be swarming with empty cases and live larvae.

When are bagworms active?

Bagworms active at night.
Like many moths, bagmoths are nocturnal creatures.

Most people will see bagworm activity during the warmer months such as August and September.

This is when they’re most active and also the hardest time to get rid of them because their numbers are in full force.

They mate during the peak season and the larvae will overwinter in their bags so they survive the winter. They start appearing in spring and the population increases over time until august and September.

Where do plaster bagworms come from?

Plaster bagworms came from the outdoors.

An adult female moth that has mated has found its way into your home and laid eggs on your walls.

The eggs hatched and the larvae created those infamous silk bags you see all over the place.

As long as there’s an entryway into your garage, basement, bedroom, dresser, shed, outhouse, or wherever else you see them, that’s all that’s needed for them to infest your home.

They may also have been smuggled into your house from newly purchased products, such as plants, carpet, furniture, and more.

How to get rid of plaster bagworms naturally

How to get rid of plaster bagworms.
Plaster bagworms can be controlled using various home remedies.

You can control and manage plaster bagworms in your home and garden using a variety of DIY home remedies.

Try a few of them out and see what works best for you. There’s no single foolproof technique.

Always try, assess, and adjust as needed.

Start out with what you have available in your home already (the easiest ways), then move on to the harder ones assuming that you still have plaster bagworms crawling around your house.

Remove them with a vacuum

Vacuum sucking up plaster bagworms.
A vacuum can suck up bagworms from the walls and ceiling.

Your vacuum cleaner is your best friend against plaster bagworms.

Any standard handheld vacuum cleaner will make quick work of bagworms without making a mess.

Plus, you don’t have to deal with the bug guts if you squish one yourself.

After all, they can leave behind a streak of pigment that can be a pain to clean up (and damage sensitive surfaces).

Use a standard shop vac or upright vacuum with a hose attachment and suck up any bagworms you come across.

Keep it handy for the next time you encounter one.

Although this isn’t the most efficient way of controlling and managing them, it’s a safe and quick way to bring down their numbers.

Remember each bagworm you kill means a lower chance of them mating and producing more.

Always empty your vacuum bags or dump out the canister. Leaving them in there allows them to escape.

Clean up debris

Bagworms feed on a variety of organic materials.

They don’t actually eat plaster and only get their name because they’re commonly found in plaster, walls, and hanging from the ceiling.

Plaster bagworms eat abandoned spider webs, fabric, wool, and even the larval cases of other bagworms. This is why they’re commonly found in areas that are usually unkempt, like garages, basements, or attics.

You’ll want to start your treatment plan to control them by doing a thorough cleaning of infested areas where you see them.

Get a vacuum and suck up all the webs, dust, and other debris in the area, especially on the ceiling.

Get into cracks and crevices and clean up all the organic matter wedged in there over time.

Or just seal up those cracks with caulk to prevent further pests from sheltering there.

You’ll want to focus on eliminating SPIDER WEBS because this is their favorite thing to munch on. They’ll eat old webs because of the silk fiber necessary to produce their case.

Since webs are largely transparent and invisible, you can use a flashlight and shine it around darker corners of the room to make sure you don’t miss any.

Remember that even the smallest web strand provides a complete meal for these pests, so don’t skimp on the cleaning. Webs can be found on the roof, walls, corners, baseboards, cracks, foundation, and more.

Turn off lights outdoors

Patio lights attract bugs.
Turn off or dim your patio lights.

Plaster bagworms are nothing but the larvae of moths.

This means they came from an adult female moth and will grow into a moth.

So if you can keep moths away from your property, you’ll have fewer bagworms to deal with.

Moths are attracted to light, especially at night when your outdoor lights are the only thing that lights up the evening sky.

You should turn off or reduce your patio lights where possible. Things like deck lights, patio lights, pathway markers, security lights, and any other light source that’s not necessary should be turned off.

They don’t do anything but attract flying pests, burn electricity, and attract spiders which spin webs nearby (which may be why you have a bunch of spider webs on your patio, outdoor furnishings, etc.). If you absolutely need a light to be overnight, consider replacing them with a yellow bulb.

They’re known to not attract any moths and provide a source of backyard lighting.

And don’t forget about the light that comes from inside your home.

Cover it up with a curtain or shut the shutters to prevent bringing moths to your windows, door gaps, and other areas of your home.

Keep humidity low

Plaster worms thrive when the humidity is high.

This explains why they’re commonly found in environments with already high moisture content such as Florida and other coastal states.

You can reduce the humidity in rooms where you see them dangling from the roof by doing the following:

  • Wipe up all spills immediately
  • Clean up water spillages from using the sink, shower, etc.
  • Never leave drinks uncapped or opened throughout the day
  • Use a dehumidifier
  • Keep windows open to circulate air
  • Use your AC to keep moisture content controlled
  • Turn off humidifiers
  • Keep your home cool and dry

Set up box fans or air circulators to keep moisture moving (point them at windows and doors facing OUT of the room that has high humidity)

Lowering the relative humidity makes the environment less favorable to bagworms. This may help bring down their numbers and keep them out of your home.

Keep spiders away

A spider in a bedroom.
Spiders will have no problem hiding in your bedroom.

Abandoned webs are one of the prime food sources of bagworms.

Reduce the number of total spiders in your home and you’ll have fewer webs to deal with. Spiders are considered to be a beneficial insect because they help catch and kill various pests like flies, beetles, flying pests, earwigs, roly-polys, etc..

But they don’t clean up after themselves and their web will just hang around until it’s cleaned up.

The resilient fibers of a spider web make them extremely durable to the elements (they’re resistant to rain, wind, and sunlight) and this provides a longstanding food for bagworms.

Consider keeping spiders out of your property by using a variety of home control remedies:

  • Spraying essential oils around cracks and crevices (peppermint, basil, neem, lavender, onion, garlic, citrus, etc.) by finding a recipe online
  • Plant spider repelling foliage
  • Keeping other bugs to a minimum
  • Maintaining your yard
  • Eliminating crawl spaces, cracks, and other points of entry
  • Sealing up foundational or structural damage
  • Reducing outdoor lighting
  • Sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your property
  • Using talcum powder, baby powder, or boric acid in common areas of spider infestation
  • Attract natural predators of spiders (such as lizards, birds, and more)

The best way to prevent spiders is to keep your home free of pests. If spiders have nothing to eat, then they won’t spin a web. If no web is spun, then bagworms have nothing to eat. It’s a chain reaction, but a catch-22 at the same time.

You’re getting rid of plaster bagworms by getting rid of OTHER pests first.

Also, read all warnings and labels on any kind of application you use as a home remedy on your property.

Some people and pets may be sensitive to essential oils, talcum powder, diatomaceous earth, boric acid, etc.

Will dish soap kill bagworms?

DIY dish soap plaster bagworm killer.
Dish soap can kill plaster bagworms upon contact.

Dish soap does indeed kill plaster bagworms and can be used as a home remedy for a pesticide.

This is one of the easiest ways to kill bagworms without using any dangerous chemicals.

Plus, it’s a lot safer compared to chemical compounds which often leave behind nasty and dangerous residues.

You can make your DIY bagworm killer at home using the following recipe:

  • 2 tablespoon dish detergent liquid
  • 3-4 liters of water

Mix them gently, but avoid excessive foaming of the dish soap. Pour some into a spray bottle or garden sprayer and then prime it up.

Here’s the thing you need to know: Bagworms have a protective casing around them when they dangle from the ceiling.

This is like an impermeable layer of protection from the elements- including liquids. So the dish soap actually will slip right off and won’t kill the bagworm if you spray it directly.

You’ll need to get a lengthy object with a pointed end to make punctures. I find that simply using a pen taped to rod or pole is enough.

Use a longer pole so you can avoid getting on a ladder. And of course, be safe with anything that can puncture.

Next, use the sharp end and puncture the bagworm case while it’s stationary on the ceiling. It probably won’t move anywhere, but may nudge or flinch.

You don’t need to make a huge hole in it. Just a small perforation is enough for the dish soap to kill the bagworm.

Then spray the bagworm and the dish detergent will enter the bag. This kills the plaster bagworm instantly. Remove the dead bagworm safely.

Remove bagworms by hand

Put on a pair of garden gloves, goggles, and long sleeves because we’re going to get dirty!

Go ahead and mix a bucket full of water and a few drops of dish soap. Then place it on the floor and grab a ladder. Climb up there safely, and start picking them off your ceiling.

Toss them right into the mixture, which will kill them upon contact, and repeat until you see no more bags on your roof!

You can also use a long pole to scrape them off, but this could result in your crushing them which can damage your ceiling.

You also may scrape your paint finish, so get in there by hand. This isn’t the most efficient home remedy to get rid of plaster bagworms, but you can clean up an infestation quickly without using any chemicals.

No method is as simple, free, and convenient as removing them by hand. And it’s natural.

Use sticky tape to catch larvae

Sticky tape can be useful to stop them from climbing up your walls and getting onto your ceiling.

Apply a layer of adhesive sticky tape around the baseboards of any area that has bags. Pests that try to climb up will be stuck on the tape and can’t get across.

This stops the bags from getting up your walls.

You’ll have to reapply the tape when it loses its stickiness. Also, there are many different types of sticky tapes and sticky traps you can use.

Find one that doesn’t damage your paint and try it out. It’s a passive way to repel them and stop plaster bagworms without having to do any work.

Of course, monitor your tape and traps to check the progress. If you see a lot of worms caught, that’s a sign that you have plenty of bags around and you should add other methods to get rid of them.

There are many types and brands of sticky tape and traps. Read some reviews. Do some research. Use as directed. Preferably one that doesn’t damage your paint finish.

Spray moths with a hose

Hose spray can remove bagworms from the roof.
You can use a hose to spray them off ceilings that you can’t reach.

You can quickly remove a ton of bags hanging on your ceiling by using a garden hose with a spray nozzle.

Blast them off and clean them up. Any bags that are still alive can be killed by dunking them into a bucket of soapy water.

Manual removal takes time, but this is one way to clear out a room full of bags. If you don’t suspect that you have a severe bagworm problem and that they’re just concentrated in one area, try manual removal.

Try moth-repelling plants

Some plants naturally repel moths.

The key is to only plant what’s in season and grows in your hardiness zone. Check the USDA map to see what zone you’re in if you have no idea.

And then utilize these plants to keep the bagworms away:

  • Cloves
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Lavender
  • Peppercorn
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Parsley
  • Marigold
  • Dill
  • Chives
  • Fennel
  • Mugwort
  • Citronella
  • Lemongrass
  • Catnip
  • Chrysanthemum

Whatever zone you live in, you should be able to find a few plants.

Buy them potted or grow from seed (though that takes a long time and spending the extra money is more efficient). Then place them around your yard to keep the bagworms away.

This is a cost-effective approach to repelling bagworms and completely natural so you don’t need to worry about pesticides and poisons.

Also, unsuspecting guests won’t even know the real reason for those plants and will never even hint that you have a bagworm infestation in your home!

Use mint leaves to keep bagworms away

Mint repels plaster bagmoths.
Mint can be a powerful repellent to plaster bagworms.

Mint leaves have been known to repel moths and you can utilize this to your advantage by placing them around your home and garden.

To keep the leaves from blowing away in the wind, put a bunch of them into a nylon sock and tape the sock to the walls around your home.

This will help deter and repel bagworms naturally.

Set up moth traps to catch them

Moth traps can help catch the adult bagworm moths and reduce the number of progeny in the future.

These are basic sticky traps with a scented bait that you can find at any hardware store.

Read some reviews and buy one, then use it as directed.

You can also make your own moth trap at home. It’s very easy to make and you probably already have the necessary materials lying around your home!

What you’ll need:

  • A small bowl or container
  • Desktop lamp
  • Some water to fill up the bowl
  • Dish soap

How to make it:

  • Add the water and dish soap to the container.
  • Gently stir until you see the suds appear. Don’t overdo it- just as long as the mixture is even should be good enough.
  • Take the container and put it somewhere that you commonly see bagworm moths- this can be outdoors or indoors like your garage, basement, bedroom, etc.
  • Position the desktop lamp above the container and direct the light right into the liquid.
  • Leave the lamp on overnight. There’s no need to use it during the daytime because moths are nocturnal (active at night).

How it works:

  • Moths will be attracted to the lamp and gravitate towards it.
  • They’ll fall into the dish soap mixture and drown because of the soap.
  • The soap adds a high surface tension to the water, which makes it very difficult for them to escape once they land in it.
  • Replace the soap mixture as needed.

Be careful about leaving the lamp on overnight.

You’ll want to make it’s secure and won’t fall into the mixture and nothing can knock it over. You’ll also want to make sure that you use a desktop lamp that’s rated for hours of continuous usage.

Use a bug zapper to kill adult bagworm moths

A bug zapper can also be effective for controlling nighttime moths.

You can buy one at a hardware store or online and position it somewhere where you always see moth activity.

The adult bagworms will fly into the zapper and get fried.

Follow the directions from the manufacturer and see if it helps get rid of the plaster bagworms.

Use biological control (Btk)

If you’re finding bagworms in your trees, bushes, or plants outside, they may not be plaster bagworms. They’re likely a different species altogether, but here’s a tip.

You can use Bacillus thuringiensis (variant kurstaki – Btk), which is a microbe bacteria that are extremely effective at eliminating bagworms but only when used at the right period of their lifecycle. Their eggs hatch when temperatures pick up after the winter.

So most species of bagworms will hatch in the springtime.

Apply the Bt as directed by the package directions. This may help prevent the future generation of bagworms from developing because the Bt eats up the larvae and prevents them from spawning. Spray when the bags are smaller than 0.5” and are visibly feeding.

Btk has known adverse effects to humans, so make you use the proper PPE when handling and applying it. Follow the directions on the package at all times.

Spray spinosad to kill bagworms

Another microbe you can easily wipe out bagworms is spinosad. It’s bred from bacteria found in the soil and can kill bagworms very quickly.

When used properly, you can kill bagworms in just 48 hours after spraying. This is best used for bagworms found in plants and trees. Use as directed.

Note that spinosad is dangerous to bees and will kill them quickly.

You don’t want to harm them as they’re a beneficial insect.

Spray early in the morning or late at night to avoid the active daytime hours of bees. It can also be harmful to humans, so use proper PPE and follow manufacturer directions.

Do bagworms have a natural predator?

Sparrow eating bagworm.
Sparrows are one the main predators of bagworms.

Plaster bagworms have a few natural enemies that eat them.

Namely, vespid wasps, woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and other predatory flying insects will eat them up without hesitation. If you have ichneumonid wasps, you can attract them to your yard by planting flowers that attract wasps and avoiding ones that don’t.

Wasps are one of the main predators of bagworms, so you should focus on getting more of them to your yard to help clean up the infestation.

Crawling insects are not effective because they rarely go upside down on your ceiling and have the ability to puncture the casing of the larvae bagworm.

Of course, wasps themselves aren’t friendly and you definitely don’t want them hanging around for too long. This makes it difficult to do for a typical homeowner and should only be used if you know what you’re doing.

Consider hiring a professional exterminator if you have specific questions on using natural predators to handle plaster bagworms.

  • Braconid wasps are effective at killing the larvae and will stop them from pupating.
  • Birds are also an effective means of managing bagworm populations.
  • Consider attracting sparrows, woodpeckers, sapsuckers, and other common garden avian species to your yard.

You can make your home more favorable for birds by providing birdbaths, using bird feeders, and placing birdhouses around the area.

Be sure to use the right food for the right bird species.

Here’s a resource you can check out to find out what foods to feed.

Also, don’t try to attract some bird species that are not native to your area. That’s just a waste of time, and probably impossible.

Work with the birds that are already in your neighborhood and find out how to get more for them to your garden.

Sparrows are commonly chosen because they’re easy to attract and have a wide dispersion across the US.

Consult a professional exterminator

When you’re out of ideas, consult a professional (licensed) pest control company.

They often do free home inspections and can answer your questions about bagworm control.

Some heavy infestations will require commercial pesticides to handle. And there’s no shame in doing this if the service is good and the price is fair.

The only thing I’d be wary about is to study the pesticides they use and check out the MSDS on them.

After all, the last thing you need is harmful toxic residues floating around your home just to keep some bagworms out.

A lot of leading companies have “green” or natural approaches, so find one that has alternative pest control treatments and ask about them.

Do some research. Read some reviews. Get some quotes.

What is the best chemical to kill bagworms?

Malathion is one of the best sprays to kill bagworms.
Bagworms can be killed by using chemicals, but should be avoided when possible.

If you need to resort to chemical pesticides to kill plaster bagworms, here’s what you’ll want to look for.

Find an insecticide with any of these active ingredients:

  • Diazinon
  • Carbaryl
  • Malathion

You can also use any commercial moth killer.

What time of year do you spray for bagworms?

These compounds are effective at making quick work of bagworms and preventing future infestations.

Use as directed by the product label.

The best time to spray for bagworms is in late spring, which is when most of the bagworm larvae have completed incubation and hatched from their eggs.

They’ll be actively feeding on various debris around the home and you can capture and kill most of them when you spray during this time.

But follow the manufacturer’s directions. They may have other suggestions for the best time to spray.

How do you get rid of moth eggs on the wall?

Plaster bagworm eggs.
Plaster bagworms will lay eggs on vertical surfaces like walls and twigs.

Moth eggs on your walls can be ridden by using a wet sponge dipped in soapy water.

Make a soap water mixture and then grab an old sponge that you’re about to throw out.

Then scrub your walls with the wet sponge. The dish soap easily removes the moth eggs stuck on your wall, but for stubborn eggs, you may have to use a peeler.

Be careful not to scrub too hard as some paint finishes are sensitive to soap.

And the trick isn’t to smear them because that’ll just break the egg. Even though it’ll kill the baby bagworm, you’ll be left with a bunch of egg debris and bagworm guts all over your walls.

The key is to push down firmly on the sponge and go downward in a single motion.

Don’t scrub up and down. And don’t release pressure at any point.

Once you lift the sponge from the surface, it allows eggs to get caught UNDER it which will smear them.

You only want to pass the sponge edges over the eggs and “push” them off- don’t CRUSH them. Bagworms eggs look like pale blue seeds and are usually cemented onto walls with debris or silk.

How do you keep bagworms away?

You can keep bagworms away by using a combination of home remedies.

There’s no single method that always works. I find that using a combo of various repellents, bagworm removal methods, sticky traps, and natural deterrents work best.

This puts the power of all of them into one powerful treatment plan.

Here’s a sample of what you can do:

First, manually remove all the bagworm larvae you can see in your home.

Use a vacuum cleaner or dish soap to dislodge them and get rid of them.

After that, set up sticky traps in that area to catch any larvae that crawl across them. You can also set up moth traps to catch any adults that attempt to lay eggs to stop future pest problems.

Then, hang nylon socks with moth repellents like herbs and spices and tape them to the areas with heavy infestations.

You can also spray dish soap, vinegar, or essential oils for a residual effect.

If you’re doing this outdoors, you’ll have to reapply often because of the elements.

You can protect your garden from bagworms by using moth-repellent plants like lavender, marigold, and mugworts (see the list above).

Also, apply sticky traps outdoors to catch any adult moths.

Swap your outdoor lighting to yellow bulbs or just don’t turn on your lights at night.

Lastly, you can also attract natural predators to help eat up moths and larvae like predatory wasps (which can also help control cicadas, sawflies, asparagus beetles, and fig beetles) or beneficial lizards.

See how there are multiple layers of defense to keep the plaster bagworms out of your home? You can make your own plan.

Everything I mentioned is listed above in this guide. Do what works best for you.

How to get rid of bagworms on trees

Bagworms eating a spruce tree.
Bagworms are known to be destructive pests for a variety of deciduous trees.

If you have bagworm infestations in your trees, this is likely a different type of species- not a plaster bagworm.

There are known species that will feed on a variety of trees, such as:

  • Blue spruce trees
  • Evergreen trees
  • Pecan trees
  • Cedar trees
  • Pine trees
  • Juniper trees
  • Arborvitae trees
  • Other deciduous trees

You’ll often find them eating or hanging on the twist, branches, and leaves and may appear in huge numbers. They can be damaging and destroy significant parts of the tree which results in damaged foliage.

You’ll often find 1-2” spindle bags hanging from the twigs. And they may also attack shrubs.

The silk they use can be wrapped around the twigs which can kill the tree in the future, especially if it’s not established.

Most trees will recover, but sick or younger trees may be destroyed by bagworms.

You can use a variety of treatments such as sticky traps, essential oils, manual removal, natural predators, vinegar or dish soapy sprays, and natural herbal remedies.

Keep in mind that severe bagworm infestations on your trees may require the help of a professional, especially for taller trees that you can’t reach the upper branches or twigs.

Further reading

Here are some additional references you may find helpful:

Did you get rid of the plaster bagworms?

Casebearer moth eating leaf.
They’re not that hard to get rid of with some patience and persistence.

You should now have a solid foundation of knowledge to go ahead manage, control, and eradicate plaster bagworms from your property.

These little buggers are truly an interesting pest with their distinct life phase and a big old case they lug around behind them.

Regardless, they’re not something most homeowners will welcome with an embracing hug into their homes, so take measures to get rid of them.

Start by using the techniques listed here that you can do right away.

Stand back and assess. See if it’s working or not. If not, move up the ladder and try the more extensive remedies to get rid of them.

And if all else fails, consult a professional exterminator.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Additionally, if you have any tips on eliminating plaster bagworms, drop them below to help out someone else!

And if you found this page helpful, consider telling a friend or just letting me know. Your feedback is how I write more improved and detailed pest guides.

Thanks for reading!

1 thought on “How to Get Rid of Plaster Bagworms Naturally (Home Remedies)”

  1. Joanne M DeSanto

    You mention how to get rid of these pests, but you don’t say how to keep them from coming back into your house?

    Thank you

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