Sawfly larvae are often mistaken for moth and butterfly caterpillars. Many species of these sawflies have caterpillars that defoliate a large number of trees, shrubs, and garden plants.
Its shade is due to the egg depositor that is saw-shaped; it is also known as an ovipositor.
These hungry pests are wormlike and won’t stop until they’ve chewed on your leaves. Sawflies belong to the family of wasps and bees; they leave their eggs deposited, protruding from the leaves.
These insects are also known as wood wasps, and there are more than 8000 species with different characteristics. Sawflies do not have the waist of wasps, so they are easy to distinguish.
Do you have any of these insects in your garden or yard? Below you will find all the information you need to know to eliminate them naturally.
What Are Sawfly Larvae?
Sawfly larvae can be confused with the larvae of butterflies or moths. They look like worms crawling on the stems and leaves of plants.
Sawflies belong to the Symphyta subfamily of the Hymenoptera insect order. The larvae are similar to caterpillars, although they have false legs. Adult sawflies have six legs and four wings, so they are not true flies. Its abdomen is long. Its folded wings cover that.
They can be about 1/2 inch long. The larvae eat the needles of coniferous trees, but adult sawflies prefer the older foliage. Many people say that it looks like slugs.
These sawflies feed on plants and skeletonize them, leaving only the framework of veins. They come in various colors, but the most common species of sawflies in America are black and yellow. They have two antennae, and their eyes are large and black as pearls.
The Life Cycle of Sawflies
They have a metamorphosis very similar to that of moths and butterflies. In winter, it is found in the ground inside a cocoon; in spring, the adults sprout and lay their eggs on the leaves when the trees already have left. The development of the larvae is completed in approximately one month.
The adults hatch in late July and August, and this is when they lay the eggs for the second generation of larvae. In general, this second generation is capable of doing more damage, especially in younger trees.
Signs of Sawfly Larvae
If you want to know if your plants have larval flies, it is to look for their larvae. These larvae hatch from the eggs laid by the females in the summer months between June and August. You can see them crawling on the leaves in all that time.
It depends on the species of sawfly larvae, its habits, and its plant; the signs may vary. Some larvae have stamped markings such as oak sawflies. The rose sawfly species has a more wormlike appearance, much like a loop caterpillar.
There are many different types of sawfly species, the most notable of which are:
- Grass sawfly
- Dogwood sawfly
- Pink slug sawfly
- Columbine sawfly
- Elm sawfly
- Pink slug sawfly
- Willow sawfly
- Black-headed ash sawfly
Are Sawflies Harmful To Humans?
Sawflies do not harm humans or pets; they are harmless. Adult sawflies do not have stingers, the larvae can use a kind of smelly spray on their predators, but this does not affect humans.
Although they are harmless, if you want to handle these insects, you must wear protective glasses, gloves, and other tools to contact them. These insects do not sting or bite, nor do they transmit disease. Sawflies are affective and harmful to plants.
Where Do Sawflies Lay Their Eggs?
Sawfly eggs can be seen on the leaves and stems; some sawflies lay eggs on the leaves’ edges. The eggs are white to tan in color and have an ovular shape. When the larvae are about to hatch, they become elongated and darker.
These sawflies lay their eggs in the spring in the veins, the leaves’ surface, and at the edges. They do not stray too far from host plants because they are not very active insects. The larvae feed from June to August and then fall to the ground to pupate. Sawflies can lay dozens of eggs.
Also Read: How to Get Rid of Cluster Flies Naturally
How To Get Rid of Sawfly Larvae Naturally?
If you have sawfly larvae in your home, you can use some of the options that you will see below:
Soapy water to kill sawfly larvae
With this simple mixture, you can safely kill many sawfly larvae. It is an easy, cheap, and effective technique for you to get rid of these pesky larvae. Spray the dish soap with water directly on the larvae.
It would help if you did it daily to kill the largest number of larvae. If you wish, you can remove them manually using tweezers and gloves and throw them in the container with soap and water. This option will help you eliminate sawfly larvae or worms.
Spray your plants with a garden hose.
Use a garden hose that is strong and has a pressurized nozzle so you can get rid of these larvae. A strong stream of water will allow you to reduce the number, and this procedure should be done every day.
If they don’t have a nozzle, you can use your thumb and cover the hose so that the water comes out as if it had a nozzle.
Use diatomaceous earth on your plants.
This diatomaceous powder is effective in removing DIY pests. It is a simple and natural technique to get rid of sawfly larvae. This powder is made from fossils that remain in mineral deposits and is therefore 100% natural and is not harmful to humans or pets.
Sprinkle diatom powder on the plants’ soil so that you can protect them from these sawfly larvae. You can circle the stem to prevent the larvae from returning to the plants after they drop.
Kaolin clay can be used around your plants as a natural barrier. It works as an efficient repellent for many insects.
Buy neem oil
Neem oil is effective in killing sawflies. It does not affect your plants or other beneficial insects, as is the case with bees. It is sticky oil, and therefore, its effect is long-lasting. You can buy it neatly and mix it with a little water so you can dilute it.
You can also mix this neem oil with dish soap and water and create an excellent killer of sawfly larvae and other pests.