Red-ozier dogwood

Asked August 15, 2019, 8:49 PM EDT

Thanks you for all your recent help .My red-ozier dogwood has many small larvae seen in the picture below. I have seen a couple of small white moths (?) around the shrub as well. It also has an enormous caterpillar that I think is the larvae of the cecropia moth, picture included. Many leaves are being devoured. It is a mature shrub of about 7 years and is normally healthy. Is there an organic way to take care of the smaller larvae? What are the small larvae?

Howard County Maryland

3 Responses

Hi - You are correct that you have a cecropia moth caterpillar there. Very nice photo.

The small larvae are dogwood sawfly larvae. See the Maryland Biodiversity Project for photos for comparison.
You can wear gloves and pick them off by hand. Drop them into a container of soapy water and discard them -- or you can hose them off and let birds eat them once they drop on the ground.

Even with some chewing damage like this, shrubs should have enough carbohydrates in their root system by this time of the year to put out healthy new growth next season.

Here is more information about sawflies.

I encourage you to use physical removal of the sawflies rather than any type of spray. Give the cecropia a chance. Their numbers are on the decline.


Thank you for your really helpful information. I have asked quite a few questions that I have hunches about but your expertise and guidance has been very valuable and instructive. Last year I lost a mugo pine to saw flies and so I am a little nervous at their reappearance. I have good helpers so we'll be picking and hopefully feeding birds! I also plan to enjoy our cecropia visitor and share him with our visitors to the Enchanted Garden. Thanks,