Can you identify this insect and tell me how to prevent its impact on my mugo pine?

Asked March 1, 2015, 11:33 AM EST

The insect in the attached photo was found on my mugo pine in August. Many needles on a branch of the pine appear to have been eaten by this insect. Can you tell me what it is and what I can do to prevent this insect's impact on my mugo pine this year?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

Your description of the damage matches that of the redheaded pine sawfly, a very common insect pest of Mugo pines. Here is the information from our website: Redheaded Pine Sawfly - Trees and Shrubs.

Your photo does not look like a typical sawfly larva, which looks like a caterpillar. It may have been parasitized by an insect or infected with a disease. Sawfly larvae feed in groups, and are easily seen. If this is the only one you saw, we suspect that the others had all finished feeding and moved on to the next life stage, whereas the one you photographed was left because it was dead.

Read over the information on our website and keep a lookout for this pest each year. Again, it is a very common pest. And if you spot an infestation, it is easily handled by simply knocking them or pulling them with gloved hands into a bucket of soapy water.