Gooseberry sawfly larvae

The tell tale signs of gooseberry sawfly larvae at work – all but the toughest ribs of the leaves completely eaten away.
The culprit – a gooseberry sawfly larva
And another (usually there would be more than two on a bush, but I had spotted the siblings of these two a few days ago and nipped out that part of the bush while the larvae were still tiny – these are the lucky two that got away)

I have seen sawflies on commercial fruit plots strip dozens of bushes completely bare, seemingly overnight. Some people try to control them with sprays; others just accept them. Some say that because the sawflies usually affect the bushes quite late in the season they don’t affect the fruit yield. I tend to nip them off if I spot them, and leave them for the birds to eat (and wonder why the birds aren’t eating them anyway…).

One thought on “Gooseberry sawfly larvae”

  1. The notorious sawfly larvae! This is the first season in many years that for some reason we haven’t had sawfly larvae on our red currants and gooseberries. We have had years where our 5 foot tall plants have been entirely stripped. We don’t like to use sprays and insecticides so I use the good old manual method of hand picking the critters and dumping them into a bucket of soapy water. One year I got nearly 2.5 gallons of larvae off one bush which eventually recovered from the attack.

    I notice that the sawfly seems to lay her eggs fairly close to the ground. The larvae start out very small but increase in size as they ascend the plant. A tip off of an infestation (besides chewed leaves) is larvae droppings on the leaves.

    They mustn’t taste very good because our chickens won’t have anything to do with them.

    Good luck with your bushes and check them daily!

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