Tree Fruit Insect Pest - European Apple Sawfly

Since 1985, European apple sawfly (Hoplocampa testudinea) has extended its range from the northeastern portion of Pennsylvania to the Maryland border. Now this pest is common throughout Pennsylvania.
Tree Fruit Insect Pest - European Apple Sawfly - Articles

Updated: October 25, 2017

Tree Fruit Insect Pest - European Apple Sawfly

The first instar larvae tunnels just under the epidermis of the fruit, resulting in the typical ribbonlike scar (primary injury). Photo by G. Krawczyk.

Description and life cycle

European apple sawfly adults are about 5∕16 inch long and wasplike insects, but with a broad attachment of the thorax and abdomen. Sawfly larvae resemble caterpillars, but have prolegs on each abdominal segment. Sawfly overwinter as larvae in the soil and have only one generation per year. Adults emerge during late pink and early bloom. Eggs are laid on the calyx end of developing fruit.

Instars

The first instar larvae tunnels just under the epidermis of the fruit, resulting in the typical ribbonlike scar (primary injury). These apples usually remain on the tree, and the presence of the scars at harvest can reduce fruit value. The second and older instar larvae bore deeply into the seed chamber of the fruit and can penetrate additional fruit, usually causing fruit abortion. Later instar injuries on fruit with a brownish frass at the entry are called "secondary damage."

Monitoring and management

Sticky, rectanglular, nonultraviolet-reflecting, white traps should be placed at a density of one per 3 to 5 acres along the orchard periphery at the pink stage of apples on the south sides of trees at 5 to 6 feet above the ground. Insecticide treatment thresholds are 5 flies per trap by petal fall if no prebloom insecticide has been applied. An application of an effective insecticide as soon as pollination is complete is the best control tactic for orchards with a history of this sawfly.

Numerous predators and parasitoids of European apple sawfly are reported from Europe, but no native biocontrol agents are reported to be effective in North America. A partially successful classical biological control program was initiated in Canada to introduce a solitary larval endoparasitoid Lathrolestes ensator Brauns (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) for the control of this pest. Other options for biological control of European apple sawfly are the Heterohabditid and Steinernematid entomopathogenic nematodes, which are still being investigated in laboratory and semifield conditions.

Authors

Insect plant interactions Integrated pest management Biological control Tree fruit insect pests Insects rearing Laboratory and field bioassays Invasive insect pests Pesticide resistance

More by Grzegorz (Greg) Krawczyk, Ph.D.