Chewing pests

Young sawfly larvae skeletonize leaves initially and consume the entire leaf except for the midvein as they mature. Adults are large, robust insects that resemble bees or wasps with a dark body and long antennae. Females lay eggs on the undersides of leaves.

sawfly larvae
Sawfly larvae, which resemble caterpillars, vary in color from green, red, yellow and tan to black. Larvae tend to feed in groups during the evening.


Hand pick small numbers of sawfly larvae. Contact insecticides, applied early, are effective in controlling the young larvae. Although sawfly larvae resemble caterpillars, they are in the insect order Hymenoptera, not Lepidoptera, so they are not susceptible to the bacterial insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki, which is used to control young caterpillars.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.