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Thursday, September 25, 2014
If control is a concern, summer oils and insecticidal soaps work well while larvae are feeding. Since they are not caterpillars, Btk products for caterpillar control do not affect sawflies. As larvae age chemical control is less effective and squishing them with the bottle would be more effective. My redtwig dogwoods are so vigorous and the sawfly defoliation comes so late in the season that I choose to let the sawflies feed away and I enjoy the late summer bling.
How do you tell the difference between sawfly larvae and caterpillars? You have to get up close and personal. Both have 3 sets of true legs right behind the head; however, the number of pairs of prolegs (those toward the tail end including the anal claspers) are different. Sawfly larvae have 6 or more pairs and caterpillars have 5 or less pairs. Caterpillars always have anal claspers while sawfly larvae may or may not have anal claspers. Check out this great info from Missouri Botanical Gardens. http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/ipm/orders/InsectID-caterpillar%20vs%20sawfly%20larva.pdf