Destructive Catepillar – NJ
This Catepillar took down an Arborvite in a matter of days. Their cocoons have blown all around in the wind and they are spreading fast.
Can you tell me what we are dealing with here, Southern NJ, zip 08086…
This is a Bagworm in the family Psychidae. The caterpillars of the Bagworms construct a protective covering from plant material, generally the plant material that they feed upon. In the case of your photograph, that is probably the leaves of the Arborvite. You can read more about Bagworms on BugGuide where the life cycle is briefly described as: “Larvae (bagworms) construct spindle-shaped bags covered with pieces of twigs, leaves, etc., and remain in them — enlarging the bags as they grow — until they pupate (also in the bag). Adult females remain in the bag, emitting pheromones which attract adult males to mate with them. Eggs are laid inside the bag, and when they hatch the larvae crawl away to begin construction of their own individual cases.“