Bag Worms: Hiding in Plain Sight

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There are some creepy-crawly critters that many people here in the Natural State are mistaking for leaves or even pine cones. 

This caterpillar-like insect is called a bag worm.

The insect builds a small bag around it’s body, creating it’s first layer of protection, then often uses leaves and sticks for the second layer.

Compared to most bugs, the bag worm has a very interesting life cycle, spending most of its life in a bag.

Dr. Ashley Dowling from the Entomology Department at the University of Arkansas said there are many different purposes of the bag. 

“Its shelter, camouflages helps generally protect them from predators and things that are trying to locate them,” Dowling said. “Then ultimately for the female, it’s a place to shelter the eggs as well.”

The bagworm prefers red cedar and evergreen trees, but will feed on over 100 different plants.

Most  people notice them in the fall when the leaves change colors and they begin to stand out. 

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