Webworms are getting bigger, but should be gone in Sept.

I missed the write-up about the bagworms overtaking the valley landscape. What's the update on this issue? Any new info?

— Jena S., via Facebook

There's good news and bad about those fall webworms, Jena.

First, the bad news. The caterpillars have grown to about an inch in length and have laid waste to plenty of leaves and branches throughout the Rogue Valley.

The good news is that come September they will begin to pupate and disappear into their cocoons, said Rick Hilton, an entomologist with the Oregon State University Extension Service on Hanley Road.

"The webs are getting larger as the caterpillars are getting larger and obviously becoming more noticeable," Hilton said. "I've seen shoots 2 or 3 feet long engulfed. No one can remember having seen anything like this on the valley floor."

The best news might be in the webworm's own cycle.

"Population peaks last one or two years, and then it goes back to the way it was," Hilton said. "It's boom or bust. It certainly has been increasing in the last two years. I guess we'll see whether there will be more next year; hopefully, the population will decline."

The easiest way to be rid of the pest is to cut the limbs they're on and dispose of them. Local garden stores also carry sprays that are effective, but many report difficulty in keeping a supply on hand, due to high demand.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com.

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