15: Plaster Bagworms – Florida Pests That Like to Hang Around Your Home

This is the fifteenth installment of 15 Household Bugs in SW Florida That May Freak You Out which can be downloaded from our free eBook library.

If you’re at home, thinking “what is this freaky small gray bag hanging from my wall?” then you might have a plaster bagworm.

The case of the plaster bagworm is somewhat similar to a watermelon or pumpkin seed in its shape, size and flatness. It can look like an empty case or shell. Slit-like openings are located at each end. The entire thing is about half an inch long. It’s made of silk fiber, sand, lint and other miscellaneous debris. The openings at the end allow the larvae to move and to eat.

Plaster bagworms are a close relative of the clothes moth. They eat spiderwebs, wool, and the discarded larval cases of members of its own species.

The reason plaster bagworms are common Florida pests is because they like the high humidity found here. A good way to keep them away is to keep your air conditioner on and your house cool.

It’s also important to keep a clean house. Obviously getting rid of spiderwebs is a #1 priority, since that is a favorite meal of the plaster bagworm. Don’t forget to knock down and sweep up any other bagworm cases you find too. They are usually easy to spot on walls, unless your paint color matches the bug’s case!

In its larval stage, the plaster bagworm has three set of legs as well as false legs. It’s believed that the real legs help it walk on floors, while the false legs with hooks on the ends allow it to walk inside its protective case.

A mature bagworm caterpillar is about a quarter of an inch long. Its body is mostly white, but its head is brown.

In its lifecycle, the bagworm eventually becomes a moth; it’s not surprising that controlling plaster bagworms is similar to how you would conquer their cousins – the clothes moths. For severe infestations, you will need to call a Fort Myers pest control professional.

Consider Larue Pest Management for your pest control needs. We’ve served the needs of Southwest Florida since 1978, offering a complete line of services for both residential and commercial properties, including:  pest controlmosquito control, and termite protection. For more information on plaster bagworms and other Florida pests contact us online or simply call (800) 314-8813.

– Keith

Comments 14

  1. I have bagworms in my house especially bathroom
    What can i use to get rid of them. Leaving soon and will close up condo for 6 mont9

  2. So i have scorpions and I just looked in their cage to water them and noticed probably 60-70 of these things in their cage. Is this going to be a problem? I’d assume they’d probably just make good natural food for my scorps right? Never seen this happen and have no idea how they got in there. There’s a cover on the cage so really no way for anything to get in. Think its ok to just leave them in there? Other than the cages, I’ve checked the house and don’t see anymore anywhere

  3. Hi, I like in CA.and I have plaster bagworms in my bathroom! I don’t understand how this can happen, I’ve never seen or heard of the bug/worm until now. Could it have come from Florida via something I bought at a store?
    What should I do other than extra deep cleaning with Simple Green maybe?
    Please help!

  4. We have they moth like things that attach themselves to the outside walls of our home. They stick so you almost have to pressure wash them to get them off. they dont appear to move.
    Do you know what they are and what we can do to get rid of them

  5. I just found these in my detached garage today. They haven’t been there very long but there was quite a few of them. After reading the above, I am going to clean really well and get up all the spider webs as best as I can, spray really well with my pest control spray, and set off a pest control fogger in there and hope to get rid of them before they get any worse. I know I have a lot of humidity in there as I have a leaky roof that needs replaced, but in the meantime I’m going to try something my next door neighbor suggested called DampRid, to see if I can keep the humidity better controlled since I don’t have AC in there and I’m not in a position to replace the roof yet.

  6. We have been inundated with worms that crawl up the exterior of our home and onto the lanai and front porch. When swept away they curl up in a circle. We have had pest control treat but to no avail. We live in Florida adjacent to a marsh.I believe they maybe cut worms but am not sure. Any info on identifying them and treatment would be recommended. Thanks

  7. I been finding these bag worms all in my house different months an my house is sprayed monthly an I’m a clean freak so how do I get rid of them my Grandson scared of them. They have been found in all roomsof my house.what is the question that I can use to rid them an my air is on all day everyday for me plz help

  8. We started seeing all these white pumpkin seed like things hanging on our walls and on the floors and in the bathroom of our home. They are about 1/2″ long or maybe smaller and you can pick them off the wall and if you pinch them a small brown head comes out of a slit in the end of the seed like home. We have also noticed several small flying insects in the home which we have decided are coming from these white things. What is the safest home killer of these bagworms. We identified them from the computer pictures and descriptions from your site. HELP! We will be leaving on a trip in about a week and we would like them gone before we leave. Thank you! The picture identified them as plaster bagworms because they also say they like the humidity in Florida very much and are often found here.

    1. Post

      The plaster bagworm is not a big threat to fabrics except in large numbers, mainly in clothing closets. It sounds like they are in several rooms in the house. The best weapon to eliminate them is to use a vacuum cleaner with a disposable bag and great suction. Also, a crack & crevice attachment would be handy. Thoroughly vacuuming walls, floors, baseboards/cracks/crevices, windowsills etc., is a prerequisite to applying any insecticide. Exclusion of the moths, which initially come in from outdoors, is very important. The adults (moths) are attracted to light so make sure windows and doors stay closed and are sealed as tight as possible. They commonly infest garages as these are sometimes left open inadvertently in the evening and usually have a lot of spiderwebs present, a favorite food for the larvae. Certainly a thorough cleaning and vacuuming of the garage is essential. This could be the original staging area for their invasion of the interior. A local pest management licensed professional should be called upon to apply a residual insecticide treatment after the cleanup is completed. As far as a homeowner treating the home, make sure it is a proper residual product with an applicator tip for crack and crevice application. As a follow-up, vacuum frequently in the above mentioned places. I hope this helps and thank you for your inquiry!

      Larry Ruebeling
      Founder and Technical Consultant

  9. I have these plaster bag worms on my palm trees and on my house. Will they damage any of my trees. Thanks, Jim Mills

    1. Post

      Hi Jim, thanks so much for contacting us! This is the time of year when lot of people are finding plaster bagworms hanging around their home. Generally these little moths won’t cause much damage, but we don’t usually find them hanging from palm trees, so if you’re concerned, please post a close up photo of what’s on your palm trees to our Facebook page and we’ll just make sure that there’s nothing more serious happening to them. Thanks again and have a Happy New Year!

  10. Hi I found a small insect that kind of looks like a bagworm, but I am not sure if it is one or notHi I found a small insect that kind of looks like a bagworm, but I am not sure if it is one or not.

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