Dogwood sawfly survival

Asked August 13, 2018, 9:58 PM EDT

Hello again, Dogwood sawfly larvae are eating the crap out of our red twig bushes. I gather this isn't really a big concern for the health of the plants, okay. The larvae are supposed to move to wood to establish their winter digs, so the question is: How far can they travel? The bushes are 10-20ft from the nearest rotting logs (and the house has no wood nearby). I'm trying to figure out if they are likely to survive and become adults in the spring, or if this generation is a dead end because the wood is too far away. Any idea, or is this an entomology question? Thank you! By the way, is it possible to search the public answers to these questions? Are they just under "articles" on the website? I'd be happy to look there first before sending in a question!

Montgomery County Maryland

2 Responses

Here is our sawfly page: Since we don't have research on exactly how far a sawfly larvae will crawl (10 feet is certainly possible), we'd recommend that you either kill the larvae by hand (pinching works) or spray nearby plants with horticultural oil.(Read label carefully for air temperature limits.) You will likely see some of the larvae there. Here's more specific information:

To search Extension nationally, you can go to :
To see only questions, put 'ask extension' in the search box there.


Ah, yes, I looked at those links before I wrote (and a bunch of others I googled up). Nobody says how far the larvae will go. I know Monarch caterpillars sometimes go as far as 30ft, so maybe these do too. Guess we'll have to check around the area and see what's going on.

And thanks for the tip on searching!

-- Eric