Ella Fitzgerald sang it best. "Summertime...and the livin' is eeeasssyyyy...." I love summertime. And I love the music of Ella Fitzgerald.
What I don't love is what we call summertime "bag worms" or "web worms". These little nasties show up about June and begin spinning their thick silky web worm webs in our trees. If you don't remove them, they can strip a tree of all of its' leaves quickly.
Here is a young web worm nest that we found in our River Birch tree the other day. You can see that they have already begun to kill the leaves.
You can't really see the little buggers in the picture, but you can see the damage that web worms can do. Here's a close up of these pests when they are full grown.
If you want to get rid of web worms (and who doesn't!?), there are several different kinds of chemical applications you can use. But Diane and I go green when it comes to doing battle with these guys. We heard a couple of years ago that all you have to do is to spray them down with...
Yes, that's Dawn dish washing soap. Apparently, it suffocates the web worms and eradicates them effectively. Further, it is green friendly in that spraying it on the tree does no damage to the environment. That's good!
The thing to remember when going into battle against web worms is that you must spray them heavily. I always put my sprayer on the 8 ounce setting. Once the soap begins flowing (so that you can see soap bubbles on the healthy leaves of the tree) I spray the webbed area all around. You need to be sure to get under the web also.
Usually, if you wait a day or two, you'll be able to see if you need a second application. Once the web worms are dead, you can cut the branch out of the tree, if you wish. They'll do no further damage. I usually leave the branch and allow the winter winds to destroy and remove it for me.
Keeping web worms at bay in the summertime isn't hard if you get proactive quickly. And fighting them isn't expensive or harmful to the environment either. And once they're gone, you can get back to Ella..."Summertime, and the livin' is easy!"
Web worm picture from Flickr Creative Commons: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taubuch/2533312218/