European Pine Sawfly

Neodiprion sertifer

European pine sawfly, Neodiprion sertifer, is an introduced pest that was first found in New Jersey in 1925. It affects a variety of pine species by feeding on old needles in early spring. The larvae leave the newly developed needles untouched, so an infestation is rarely fatal but does cause a “bottle brush” appearance which can affect the aesthetic value of trees.

Download European Pine Sawfly Fact Sheet

Treatment Strategy

Although rarely fatal, treatment of European pine sawfly is often warranted to prevent unsightly growth patterns caused by their feeding practices. Historically, control of sawfly larvae required a sprayed application of Carbaryl in mid-May with a second application in June. However, with technology advances, soil-applied systemic insecticides can provide the same level of control with less risk of wind drift and contact with non-target insects. Two soil-applied systemic products, Xytect and Transtect, move through the tree and into the leaves, where larvae feed. Both will provide control for the entire season; Xytect™ will last one full year.

Purchase European Pine Sawfly Treatments Now!

European Pine Sawfly Treatment Option 1

Xytect™ applications are best done in the fall as it can take up to a month for it to reach the leaves.

Application Method – Soil drench

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Xytect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

European Pine Sawfly Treatment Option 2

Transtect™ works very quickly, as little as one week, so applications can be made in May to control emerging larvae throughout the summer.

Application Method – Soil drench

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Transtect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

European Pine Sawfly Treatment Option 3

Carbaryl can be applied in mid-May, with a second application in June for great control with a foliar spray.

Application Method – Foliar spray

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Carbaryl

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Gloves

• Safety glasses

European Pine Sawfly DIY Kit

Option 1

Application Method – Soil drench

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Xytect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

Option 2

Application Method – Soil drench

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Transtect

• Soil drench kit

• Measuring or diameter tape

• Bucket or watering can

• Gloves

Option 3

Application Method – Foliar spray

DIY Equipment/Product Needed:

• Carbaryl

• Hand pump sprayer with wand

• Gloves

• Safety glasses

How Is It Spread?

European pine sawfly has one to two generations each year. Eggs hatch in late April to mid-May and larvae begin feeding until mid-June when they drop to the ground and spin brown cocoons. Pupation occurs in mid-august, and adults emerge through October. Females create slits on the needles to lay eggs which overwinter there.

Susceptible Trees

Pines including mugo pine, Scotch pine, red pine, jack pine and Japanese red pine are most often affected. Less commonly affected pines are Austrian pine, ponderosa, shortleaf, and pitch pine.

Symptoms

• Shoot death or deformation.

• Old foliage is consumed, but new needles develop normally leaving a “bottle brush” appearance.

• Stunted tree growth

• Young larvae are often visible, appearing as a caterpillar in large groups.

• When a branch is disturbed, larvae will turn their heads up, into an “L” shape.

Lookalikes

None

Related/Similar Problems

None

Timing

Spring or Fall

Urgency

Moderate

Risk of Spreading

Moderate

Back to Top