Plaster Bagworms – What Are They, Identification, and Removal

Have you observed tiny, bag-like insects hanging in and around your house? If so, it is likely that you are dealing with plaster bagworms!

Plaster bagworms also known as Phereoeca Uterella are commonly found in Florida, and a few other warm states such as California. They are shaped like a pumpkin seed, and they have a rough exterior casing that looks like a lump of plaster (hence the name). The casing of a plaster bagworm is around half an inch length and features slits at both ends for the larvae to move in and out.

What Are Plaster Bagworms?:

Plaster bagworms are actually a species of moths known as Phereoeca Uterella, whose larvae form these casings to live inside during their vulnerable period of their life. They form these casings out of cloth, silk, lint, and other household materials they can get ahold of. They’re similar to Clothe Moths in their habits and they will eat clothing if they have access to it.

Plaster bagworms

Once plaster bagworms are fully grown they look similar to other moths, and are about half an inch in length with narrow wings that usually have fringed long hair.

The plaster bagworm is not considered a serious pest, but can become a nuisance when found in homes. The larvae feed on spider webs, wool, and the hair of pets. Therefore, they are most often encountered in homes where such food sources are available. Regular cleaning, including dusting and vacuuming, is typically sufficient to control bagworm populations in homes.

Where Are Plaster Bagworms Found? – Florida and More!

Plaster bagworms, or household casebearers, are found in warm, humid climates around the world. They are commonly seen in the southern states of the United States, such as Florida and Louisiana, but can also be found in other parts of the country where the conditions are suitable.

adult plaster bagworm

Plaster bagworms prefer areas with high humidity so they are found more commonly in areas with high humidity, which makes Florida one of their preferred homes

Though they are considered a household pest, they are not exclusive to indoor environments and can be found outdoors as well. Outdoors, they can be seen on buildings’ walls and other surfaces.

Inside homes, they are typically found in areas where there are cobwebs or other material on which they can feed. This includes garages, sheds, under furniture, or in closets and other less frequented areas where dust and other material they use to build their bags can accumulate.

Plaster Bagworms In Florida:

As mentioned above, plaster bagworms prefer humid environments, which makes Florida one of their favorite states to live in. Because of Florida’s unique climate, the majority of the United State’s plaster bagworm population lives in Florida.

plaster bagworms in florida

If you live in Florida, you’ll have to pay special attention to the humidity levels inside of your home. It’s recommended that you keep a humidity level of around 45%-55% for optimal comfort levels (Advanced Air), but also to plaster bagworms away from your home.

One of the best ways to keep plaster bagworms away, is to make your home an unappealing living environment for them, and humidity level is a huge part of this!

How To Get Rid of Plaster Bagworms:

  1. Regular Cleaning: The most straightforward method is to maintain a clean environment, as this reduces the food sources for the bagworms. Regularly vacuuming and dusting, especially in less frequented areas, can help control bagworm populations. Remember to empty your vacuum outside to ensure any bagworms inside do not reinfest your home.
  2. Removing Webs and Egg Cases: Manually removing spider webs, a primary food source for plaster bagworms, can help control their population. If you spot any bagworm cases, remove and dispose of them as well.
  3. Seal Off Entry Points: Cracks and crevices in walls, windows, and doors can provide entry for bagworms. Seal off these entry points to prevent them from coming in.
  4. Use Pesticides: For severe infestations, you may want to consider using a pesticide. Always ensure to use products that are safe for indoor use and follow the instructions on the label. Aerosol sprays and foggers can be effective.
  5. Professional Pest Control: If the infestation is too large or if you’re uncomfortable using pesticides yourself, it may be time to call in a professional pest control company. They will have the tools and experience to effectively handle the situation.

Remember, the best defense against plaster bagworms is prevention. By maintaining a clean home and quickly addressing any signs of bagworms, you can prevent a larger infestation from developing.

Are Plaster Bagworms Harmful To Humans?

Plaster bagworms are not directly harmful to humans. They don’t bite, sting, or carry known diseases. However, they can be considered pests when they infest homes. The larvae can feed on a variety of household materials, including fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool and silk, and can thus damage clothing, carpets, or upholstery. However, they are more commonly known to feed on spider webs and dust.

Final Thoughts On Plaster Bagworms:

Plaster bagworms can look alarming because they are so different looking compared to other pests that we’re more familiar with. Thankfully, although they are a nuisance, they aren’t directly dangerous or harmful to humans or pets, they they can be gross to look at and they can damage clothing or fabric.

That being said, most plaster bagworms can be eliminated and prevented by keeping your humidity levels down, keeping a clean and tidy home, and using basic insect pesticides if needed.

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