Birch (Betula)-Sawfly

Birch sawfly (Arge pectoralis)

Dusky birch sawfly (Craesus latitarsus)

Pest description and damage Mature birch sawfly larvae are yellowish with rows of black spots along the abdomen and 0.75 inch long. The head is reddish yellow with black eyespots. Adults have 3-segmented antennae and lay eggs in rows in the edges of leaves. Larvae feed on birch, alder and willow. Usually, damage is localized and rarely does larval feeding cause significant defoliation. The larva of the dusky birch sawfly is a darker yellowish-green with three dark spots on each segment. They also feed on birch, but usually cause only localized damage. Larvae feed gregariously along the leaf edge holding with their abdomen flipped upside down over their back. There are two generations of dusky birch sawfly; spring and fall. However, they overwinter in the soil as pupae with adults emerging in spring.

Management-cultural control

Watch for small larvae along the leaf edge in spring. Prune out leaf or area with larvae.

Management-biological control

Stink bugs and other predator bugs have been known to prey upon the larvae.

Management-chemical control

See Table 2 in:

For more information

See "Sawfly" in:

Furniss, R.L. and V.M. Carolyn. 1980. Western Forest Insects. USDA Forest Service, Misc. Pub 1339.