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European Pine Sawfly

Protect pine trees from the voracious European pine sawfly with some environmentally friendly controls.

This worm-like insect has a black head and gray body with darker stripes. The adult is a fly-like insect that lays eggs in the pine needles in fall.

The eggs hatch and larvae begin feeding about the same time the Amelanchiers are in full bloom and the redbuds are just beginning to flower.

The larvae feed in large groups and rear their heads when disturbed. Their initial feeding turns the previous season’s growth light brown. Once mature, the larvae devour the needles completely.

Try dislodging the larvae with a strong blast of water. Or prune out the insect-infested branch if it won’t ruin the plant’s appearance.

Organic insecticidal soap and Summit Year-Round Spray Oil can be used. These are most effective when treating young larvae.

A bit more information: Another control option is to don a leather glove, run it along the stem to dislodge and smash the European pine sawfly larvae. DO NOT use Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) as it only kills true caterpillars not sawfly larvae.

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