European Pine Sawflies

This worm is destroying my evergreen shrub
Hi Bugman!
My son found these tiny inchworm-like things on our evergreen shrub today (We live in Michigan). They were in a tight cluster of about 100 worms, each about an inch long. They have tiny, shiny black ball-like heads. In the photo they look hairy, but they aren’t. They are smooth and green all over, with no other markings at all. Upon further inspection, we found several branches of the shrub covered with these things. Several areas of the shrub have been stripped clean of needles, and there are several dying branches as well. At regular intervals (about every 10 seconds) EVERY SINGLE worm on the branch bends straight up, very quickly and in UNISON. It’s quite bizarre to watch. I did check out all of the caterpillar photos on your site, and as a result I ended up looking at Giant Gypsy Moths, Army Worms and Eastern Tent Worms, but none of those look quite like these. I’d say they look most like the Eastern Tent Worm, but there is absolutely no evidence of any tenting or any other type of shelter being formed. Perhaps I just caught them at a very early stage, prior to tent construction? Sorry, these were the best photos I could get. What do I do? They are making short work of my large shrub, and I fear that they will move onto the flowers and vegetables next… Many thanks,

I think I found it! I believe them to be European Pine Sawflies. Now how to get them away from my pine…?

hi Terri,
Once we darkened and sharpened your image, we believe you are correct in your identification of the European Pine Sawfly, Neodiprion sertifer. Your excellent verbal description of their behavior supports the identification. There is an excellent image on BugGuide. There is no danger of them moving to your other plants as most insects are somewhat host specific. You can try hand picking the culprits.

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