Monday, July 23, 2007

Slug-like Sawfly Larvae

Caliroa is a genus of sawfly slug caterpillars that usually feed as a skeletonizer on the lower surface of the leaf. The pear slug belongs to this group. There was a regional outbreak of these slug caterpillars on oak last year. The females have a saw-like ovipositor with which they pierce leaves to lay their eggs inside. Sawfly slug caterpillars are slimy and usually smallish caterpillars (about 0.5 inch in length). When there are large numbers, sawfly slug caterpillars may cause large portions of their host trees to “brown out.” Sawfly slug caterpillars overwinter in the soil in a small cavity that is lined with the secretions of the larva. The larvae pupate the following year and the new adults emerge to mate and lay eggs. The adult of this caterpillar is an insect that more closely resembles a fly than a wasp. If there are enough of these insects present to cause alarm, Sevin insecticide should give more than adequate control. If it is a small shrub, you could wipe them off.
From Dr. Stephen Bambara.

For more information call your local Cooperative Extension Agent.