destructive worm/caterpillar…moving fast…help!
July 26, 2009
Please help me identify this alien army that has shown up and destroyed my evergreen bush in less than three days….will they move on to my other flowers and trees??
Southeastern Massachusetts (Plymouth County)
We identified your Red Headed Pine Sawfly, Neodiprion lecontei, on BugGuide, and now that you know what it is, you should be able to find much information posted online. You do not need to worry about these larvae that are related to wasps moving to other plants in the garden.
They feed on “Preferred hosts are red, Scots and jack pines. Also attacked are shortleaf, loblolly, slash, pitch, Swiss mountain, Japanese black, mugho pines, white pine, larch, deodar cedar, and Norway spruce” according to the Forest Pests website. The Forest Pests website also indicates: “Larvae may defoliate an entire tree from the top downward (b). Young or stressed trees are preferred, and small ornamental pines may be completely defoliated and killed in heavy infestations. Trees that are growing in poor sites or under stress are attacked more readily than healthy trees. Damage can sometimes be reduced by getting rid of competing vegetation, planting in high-quality sites, and promoting early closure by close plantings. If infestations are light, manual removal of larvae may effectively control the pest.” The Discover Life website also has much valuable information and control suggestions.