Bagworm Invasion! Edmond neighborhood plagued with plant-killing insects

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EDMOND, Okla. - Right now, there could be a plant-killer hanging from your trees.

We're talking about bagworms, insects that live in little bags and work their way across every branch of your landscape.

Now, they're causing major headaches and putting a dent in the pocketbooks of a lot of Oklahomans.

"It is just everywhere," said Sreemathi Logan.

Logan says her trees fell victim to bagworms and she didn't even know it until she looked at her neighborhood Facebook page and saw others discussing the problem.

"So then I went and inspected all of our trees and, of course, we found two of them that had been severely infected," Logan said.

A couple of blocks away, the same problem has been plaguing one family for years.

Brooke Blake says the first time it happened was three years ago.

"I thought they were like little pine cones because I had never had one of these trees before," Blake said,

One stormy day, Blake realized they were something far more serious.

"I could see when the wind would blow, the root ball would kind of lift up off the ground and I'm like, 'That thing's dead,'" Blake recalled.

Julia Laughlin, with the Oklahoma County OSU Extension Center, says bagworms typically show up this time of year and hatch out to start feeding, primarily on evergreens.

"Sometimes we have bad years, sometimes we barely see them but apparently we're seeing them this year," Laughlin said.

Laughlin says you can spray - but if you do, spray where they are feeding so they will ingest the insecticide. That's typically anything green on your tree.

If you'd like an organic product, there's an option called BT.

There is another option, but it doesn't always work well.

"You could pull them off, they won't hurt you, but it doesn't do much good to pull them off," said Laughlin. "There's too many of them generally."

If you do pull them off, you should do it in the fall before their eggs hatch. Laughlin says you should put them in a bag and carry them away or throw them away because they can spread to other plants. That's what Blake did during one of her bagworm invasions.

"It all started moving and they were all crawling all over each other and it was the nastiest thing I had ever seen. It was so gross," she said.

If you have bagworms, warn your neighbors because they can be carried by the wind or crawl from plant to plant.

A bagworm infestation is not always a death sentence but it can be lethal for your plants.

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