If you have pine trees on your property, watch out for the European pine sawfly! This destructive pest is notorious for attacking pines in yards, ornamental nurseries, and Christmas tree plantations.
Don’t panic; it won’t kill your plants. However, the effects of the infestation can be aesthetically uninspiring and cause stunted growth.
Let’s dive in for more information regarding this pest and its possible remedies like soil injection and chopping of infested branches.
What You Need to Know About European Pine Sawfly
This pest completes a single life cycle per year. It lives through the winter as an egg in slits along the needle edges. From April to mid-May, the eggs hatch into grayish-green, caterpillar-like larvae.
The sawfly larvae have two light stripes and a dark green one on each side of their bodies. Their heads and legs are glossy black. A fully grown larva is roughly one inch long.
The larvae are highly sociable and stay in clusters as they feed on the old needles from shrubs, Scots, mugho, and red pine trees. Mature larvae fall to the ground, where they spin hard, brown cocoons in the duff.
Some larvae may turn into pupa while still on the tree. Between August and September, adult European pine sawflies come out to mate and lay eggs. A female sawfly can lay up to eight eggs on one needle, and they use 10-12 needles.
Since these pests only feed on old needles and not new growth, they often don’t kill the defoliated trees.
How to Combat European Pine Sawfly
Got a European pine sawfly infestation? Here are a few easy-to-follow solutions to tackle them:
You can introduce various parasites on your property to control this pesky pest. While rodents feed on the pupae in the soil, native birds often eat the larvae. Unfortunately, this approach may not be effective if you’re in an urban setting.
Can you spot needles with overwintered eggs before hatching? Simply remove them from the tree and destroy them. Be sure not to throw the needles on the ground, as the eggs can still hatch!
Also, you can easily remove larvae clusters by chopping off the infested branches. Put the branches in a plastic bag and destroy them.
You can use this method for a few colonies, but general spraying would be most effective for large infestations that affect at least 25% of your trees.
Not sure about the right sprays to use? Ask your local arborist for pesticide recommendations.
Biorational Insecticide Sprays
Insecticidal soap can be effective on small sawfly larvae, and you can achieve a thorough coverage of the colony.
Contact Your Local Tree Experts for Assistance
Need professional assistance to deal with European pine sawfly infestation? Rick’s Plant Health Care is your trusted source for quality tree care services in West Chester, PA.
Need a free quote or information about aphids? Give us a call at 610-840-2655, and we’ll be happy to be of your service!
Comments are closed.