Apple leaf sawfly

Apple leaf sawfly, an insect from the sawfly family.

Do not confuse with:
Apple sawfly (Hoplocampa testudinea)

recognize aplle leaf sawfly
Apple leaf sawfly, photo: atlas insects from the Moscow region
recognize larvae aplle leaf sawfly
Caterpillar-like larvae apple leaf sawfly, photo: Vitaly Gumenjuk

Apple leaf sawfly (Pristiphora maesta) is an insect of the sawfly family (Tenthredinidae). Sawflies do not have a wasp waist like the ‘regular’ wasps and they do not sting.
The apple leaf sawfly occurs throughout Northern Europe, but is rarely a pest. However, if a few sawflies colonize an apple tree, the damage to the leaf is extensive.
The apple leaf sawfly is black and measures 5 to 7 mm. Adult caterpillar-like larvae are 10 mm long, are light greenish yellow with a row of black shiny dots on each side. The head is orange-yellow.
Apple leaf sawflies fly in April and May. Female wasps lay eggs in rows on the leaf margins of apple trees, the host plant of this sawfly. The caterpillar-like larvae that appear in mid-May eat the edges of the leaves. In mid-July, the now adult larvae drop to the ground, burrow a few cm underground and spin a cocoon in which they overwinter.
Parasitic wasps and birds are the natural enemies of the apple leaf sawfly and larvae.

Affected plants


An infestation of the caterpillar-like larvae of the apple leaf sawfly is uncommon. However, in the case of a pest, treatment with nematodes (roundworms) is effective.


Provide a bird-friendly environment: birds eat, among other things, the larvae of the apple leaf sawfly.

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