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European Pine Sawfly and 4-lined plant bugs

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As we see signs of growth on our newly planted plants, we’re also seeing plenty of insect action.  If you have pine trees, keep an eye out for the European Pine Sawfly.  The name makes it sound like you’ll be looking for a bug that looks like a fly.  That’s not the case.

European Pine Sawfly

European Pine Sawfly

What you’ll see is the larva that feeds on your pine trees needles.  It lays eggs on the branches of your pine trees the previous summer, winters over and then hatches into the larva that munch on your pine needs, in particular mugo pines.  They grow about ¾ of an inch long, have a dark head and a dark green body with grayish green stripes.

European Pine Sawfly pupal cases

European Pine Sawfly pupal cases

Their color blends in and they hang in non-social groups to feed on old wood making them tough to see until you notice missing needles or partially eaten ones.  Defoliation can vary.  In minor cases, don’t worry about it.  If you see lots of damage, they still won’t kill your tree but will certainly make it look less than fabulous.  Those needles won’t grow back.

European Pine Sawfly defoliation

European Pine Sawfly defoliation

If you see them, grab some gloves and pick the buggers off.  If that’s not your thing, then try insecticidal soap for low impact.  Still not satisfied?  You can use permethrin.  But, please, if you use any chemicals read the label and follow directions carefully.  Make sure it mentions European Pine Sawfly and that you’re sure he’s the culprit.

Another little nasty is the 4-lined plant bug!  It’s appearance is not welcome.

4-lined plant bug

4-lined plant bug

The newly emerged nymphs are about a 1/16 of an inch and bright red.  As they mature you’ll start to see the lines form.  They grow to a quarter to a third of an inch long and have 4 black lines with a reddish orange head.  This pest sucks the sap out of a number of native and cultivated plants.   The adults are yellowish green with 4 black lines across their backs.

4-lined plant bug overview

 

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