I have a pesky little critter living in my back yard…in fact there are hundreds of them….bagworms! I inherited them when I bought my home a few months ago. I knew what they were because I have lived in states further south from Nebraska and had dealt with them before. They are very interesting, but life sucking little worms. Let me tell you about them.
A bagworm looks like a small innocent part of the tree but their looks are deceptive. Inside this cone-like structure is a worm. She eats all summer and gets as fat as she can and then lays her eggs. During winter I think she must die but honestly I have never witnessed this. However, according to the Backyard Farmer program they are native to Eastern Nebraska. Here’s a link to more information on bagworms: http://byf.unl.edu/bagworm.
Mamma Bagworm is a busy little critter. She weaves her shell and blends into the tree so well that you actually think you are seeing a small pine-cone starting to grow. She sucks the life out of the tree and she reminds me of some people I have known in the past. Mama Bagworm is toxic to her tree host and there are some people in life that are toxic to our lives as well. When these people first appear into our lives they may seem like someone you really want to get to know, kind of like the deceptive Mama Bagworm looks like an innocent baby pine-cone. But over time Mama Bagworm show her true intent toward the tree. Over time toxic people show their true motives toward you as well.
How can you determine if a bagworm is going to be toxic to your tree and what can you do about them? Well, when the worm is in the larvae stage, according to the link I shared above, is the only time that you can actually spray and get rid of them. As for me I never noticed the larvae, they were not something I actually saw so I had no warning of what was to come. Doesn’t this remind you of some toxic people you have dealt with in your own life? We often never see them coming because they work really hard to blend into our world as true friends.
As summer progresses Mama Bagworm begins to grow and she has to eat a lot to grow and create her deceptive shell. If there is just one bagworm then it is simple to control them, you just pick it off the tree and smash it or burn it to death. However, when there are hundreds in the trees it is not an easy task to control the destruction a bagworm can cause. By the time August rolls around the damage is beginning to be very noticeable and the only cure is to pick them off the trees or destroy the tree when the leaves are dead. Toxic people like to destroy with stealth just as a bagworm destroys and often we don’t get much of a hint of the destruction ahead. So how can we protect ourselves and our families from toxic people?
We need to be wise, be alert, and be on the lookout for toxic people and relationships. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) says in 1 Peter 5:8:
Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
I believe that toxic people are not good people, like the bagworm they may look good on the outside, but they have a menacing spirit and destruction in mind. The Holman Christian Standard Bible in Proverbs 4:16 explain toxic people another way:
For they can’t sleep unless they have done what is evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
I have met a few of these kinds of people in my life and I can imagine that some of you have also. Mama Bagworm probably doesn’t really think she is evil but I can imagine the tree has a differing viewpoint.
So what can a person do when invaded by bagworms? Well, I can pick them off and kill them so that they don’t spread to my neighbors or I can leave them and let the wind take them wherever it wishes. My plan of action is to have the trees removed and then I will spray healthy evergreen trees next spring and hopefully this will stop the invasion in my yard.
If only we could do the same treatment for toxic people, but we can’t kill them, nor can we spray them to control them, now can we? We can, however, do the hard task of kicking them out of our lives, picking them off our minds and our hearts. We also must forgive them because it is important for our own healing. This is often easier said than done, and it is often hard work. But in order for us to become a healthy and vibrant person again after an encounter with a toxic person, we must get rid of every trace of them from our whole being. Just as the bagworm invasion in my yard will take time to conquer, so will the invasion of my soul by a toxic person take time to be rid of and heal.
If you have never encountered a bagworm count your blessings because they are destructive. If you have never encountered a toxic person, then count your blessings, because you are very fortunate. Many marriages, families, and friends are impacted by just one person’s encounter with a toxic person. And like the bagworm, such people often look innocent, but beware, and use discernment when making new friends. My advice is old advice because it comes from the Bible.
My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded, Proverbs 1:10, (HCSB).
Good people won’t try to get you to do things that you know are wrong. Good people will be uplifting and encouraging to be around. Toxic people over time will try to entice you to sin. If you want discernment then read the rest of the book of Proverbs, the wisest man wrote this for his sons and while the advice is old, it still rings true today.
Until next time………Katherine