When is a pine cone not a pine cone? Apparently, the answer to that question is: When it is a bagworm moth.
One Redditor posted a video featuring something weird in their pine tree. It looks just like a pine cone, but upon closer inspection, it was moving on its own and creatures were appearing from it.
“Its freaking us out!!!” they captioned the video. “… Never saw anything like it.”
Thankfully, fellow Redditors were able to figure out the mystery and provide some useful advice.
“Those are bagworms,” one user commented. “They infect arborvitae often.”
“You have to remove all the ‘bags’ or pine cone-cocoons to save your tree,” another user advised.
Despite many seemingly figuring out what the mysterious creature is, that didn’t stop users from being shocked by what they were seeing.
“Nightmare fuel is what that is!” said one Redditor.
The bagworm moth caterpillar designs a log cabin, lined with silk in which to shelter— Science girl (@gunsnrosesgirl3) June 22, 2022
These strcutures are called cases, bagworm moths are commonly known as case moths, only the male will fly free after pupation, for the female this is a “forever home” pic.twitter.com/yH9QuYcE6d
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there are around 30 species of bagworm moths in North America north of Mexico.
However, as the organization noted, a bagworm infestation has the potential to kill its host tree. As the protective bags the larvae use to grow are particularly tough, they have minimal predators, but sparrows, mice, and wasps have been known to feed on them.
Either way, it’s a good idea to get rid of the bagworm moths if you find them in your garden. According to the Home & Garden Information Center, the best way to control the growth and spread of the creatures is by picking them off your tree or shrub by hand, ideally in the fall, winter or early spring.
Next, you’ll need to dispose of them in a sealed trash bag, but burning the cocoons is also an effective way of dealing with the problem — just make sure you do so away from your pine trees.
Gardeners will want to keep an especially keen eye on their conifers for what appear to be strange-looking pine cones, as the bagworm moths might return year after year.
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