Pine needle eating caterpillars (Sawfly?)

severnsideAugust 14, 2014

Today found a branch being defoliated on my P.mugo 'Ophir', the first attack I've seen in my garden. I summarily killed all the cats which were not on any other branches or plants. The needles were chewed off to the base or just brown dead. I cut the branch off. I'll be keeping a regular lookout now.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

. I cut the branch off

==>>> really ... i wouldnt have expected such a rash reaction from you ...

PSL eat LAST YEARS needles... and do nothing to the buds ... at least my version does ....

frankly.. your pix are brilliant.. unfortunately ... i never looked THAT CLOSE to them .. lol ...

i am not sure they match .... i hope rhiz pops in to this forum.. if no one else can ID ...

compare at the link ...


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 4:51PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Don't know if its in the UK but that may be the Red-headed pine sawfly (Neodiprion lecontei) which feed in summer. Insecticidal soap will dispatch them if found when they are small.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Thanks Ken, the branch removed was only a cluster which didn't make any disfigurement, plenty of others below will take up the space. Sorry to give you visions of panic limbing.

Tj, the Redheaded Sawfly caterpillars are a dead ringer so I'll check if it's in the UK. Thanks. I simply took them all off and popped them between finger and thumb. We've had the hottest and most prolonged summer since I came here so maybe that encouraged the adults. I'll be vigilant.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:33PM
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It's bad enough that we have to go on "patrol" twice a week in spring to rid of sawfly,,,but if as tj says these emerge in summer,,,,,ouch

glad to see you also got rid of the cats(wish I could get rid of ours),,,,,now you have to do something about the badgers.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 8:41PM
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A week ago I noticed some caterpillars eating the needles on my Pinus banksiana 'Banská Stiavnica'.

They were hiding in tunnels of excrement... nasty!
I took all of them out and now I'm keeping a close eye to it.

After searching a bit I found out they were propbably Acantholyda hieroglyphica larvae.
Considering your geographical location (I'm from Belgium) and same time of their activity yours may be the same species? I didn't take a picture of the caterpillars that were on my pine (well, they are in the picture underneath but covered); but yours look similarly if I recall correctly.

Did they also hide in tunnels of dark-yellow excrement?

Never mind, they are probably different; I don't think mine had those black dots on their side.

This post was edited by liopleurodon on Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 8:44

    Bookmark   August 15, 2014 at 8:38AM
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