white worm/larva ate leaves

Asked August 28, 2019, 11:32 AM EDT

Earlier this month (August) I noticed a tree in a corner of our garden that had been almost completely "de-leafed" by a chubby, white worm or larva (1st photo). When I checked on the tree a week or so later, the worms have since disappeared but it looked like they had left behind their shriveled, white outer skins. I'm not sure what kind of tree this is (pic of berries and leaves included) but if you could tell me what the worm is & the tree, that would be helpful. I have more photos of the tree, bark & leaf but will send the best three for now. If you need more photos, I have them.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hi - This is a type of dogwood shrub. It looks like Redosier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera). The white insects you see are the larval stage of dogwood sawflies. They go through several molts and shed the white outer skin as the go through their growth stages.
https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewSpecies.php?species=5080

You can wear gloves and handpick the larva off of your plant. Drop the sawflies into a container of soapy water and discard them. Or toss them aside for birds to eat. (They don't bite or sting.)

Next year, keep an eye on your plant earlier in the summer and remove the young sawflies as you see them. There is more information on sawfly management here on our website,
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/sawflies-trees-and-shrubs

Since we're nearing the end of the growing season, your plant has likely stored enough carbohydrates (food reserves) to be able to put out healthy new growth next season.

Christa