This morning we did a pest monitoring visit for a good client, a 250unit townhouse complex. Historically the worst pest here (invertebrate that is) has been the bagworm, because of the preponderance of arborvitae and juniper in the landscape.
A big problem with bagworms is that to the untrained eye they are not easily seen, so they’re often not noticed until late summer when they are no longer easy, or possible, to control, and the tree has been killed or severely damaged.
But early instar (young) larvae are EASILY controlled, you just need to know when and how to spot them.
But what we DID find was lots of assassin bugs! That’s a good thing! They’re a predatory insect – one of the few predators of bagworm.
So natural predators control almost all the pests for this client. The bagworms rarely get out of hand anymore. There are never any mite problems on the spruces or arborvitae or junipers. This job is really easy if you know what you’re doing.
More insect eaters we saw today:Unfortunately a lot of companies still manage pests with regular sprays, whether needed or not. This is stupid. It’s like bombing the hell out of an entire country just to try to get one terrorist bad guy when you don’t even know if he’s there or not! It’s a huge waste of money and ammunition, there’s loads of unnecessary collateral damage, and a lot of the casualties turn out to have been your allies!
The lesson : diagnose before you treat. (treatment without diagnosis is malpractice) Monitoring plants is the first and most important step. It is the key element in an IPM (integrated pest management) or PHC (plant health care) program.