Ask Better Homes & Gardens

Experts and BHG readers answer.

Pine sawflies

Something is eating the needles off my mugo and Scotch pines this spring. I see something that looks like caterpillars on the needles. What are they?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

European pine sawflies attack mugo (Pinus mugo), Scotch (P. sylvestris), red (P. resinosa), and Austrian pine (P. nigra) in early spring. The adults look like flies, but the larvae resemble caterpillars. Larvae feed on needles and can strip 1-year-old needles right down to the branch. The grayish-green larvae feed in a group, and freeze into position when disturbed.  Because these are not true caterpillars, Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) will not control them. However, you can handpick them off plants and drop them in soapy water to kill them. Or spray with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or an insecticide labeled for use on trees.

Community Answers


Answer this Question

Enter an Answer to this Question

500 characters left