Common gooseberry sawfly

The common gooseberry sawfly is approximately 6 mm in size. This sawfly lays its eggs in the lower part of the shrub.

Also known as:
Imported currantworm (us)

Similar:
Pale-spotted gooseberry sawfly
Small gooseberry sawfly

recognize the common gooseberry sawfly
common gooseberry sawfly, photo: Notafly – CC BY-SA 3.0
recognize caterpillars on gooseberries and currants
Caterpillars of the common gooseberry sawfly, photo: Bragi H – Public Domain

Common gooseberry sawfly (Nematus ribesii). This sawfly is about 6 mm in size. The sawfly lays its eggs in the lower part of the shrub. The false caterpillars eat holes in the leaf, they start at the bottom of the bush and in a short time the many caterpillars cover the entire shrub. They eat the mesophyll; they leave the leaf veins intact.

The Common gooseberry sawfly has two generations per year; three during hot summers. The larvae overwinter in a cocoon underground. In the spring, the larvae pupate and the sawflies emerge. The female sawfly lays a whole string of eggs (50 to 100) on the underside of the leaf. After about a week and a half, the caterpillars hatch and feast on the leaves.

Gooseberries are the most susceptible to the Common gooseberry sawfly, followed by red and white currants. On black currants, the sawflies are hardly spotted.

Similar to the Common gooseberry sawfly are the Pale-spotted gooseberry sawfly (Nematus leucotrochus) and the Small gooseberry sawfly (Pristiphora appendiculata); however, these sawflies have a pronounced preference for gooseberries. Unlike the Common gooseberry sawfly, the Pale-spotted gooseberry sawfly has a single brood. Adults of the latter appear in early May and larvae in May and June. The Small gooseberry sawfly can produce up to four generations of larvae per season – the first generation appears at the end of April.

Where to find

  • Gooseberry
  • Red and white currant

Remedy

Be alert for eggs on the underside of the leaf. Cut away the leaves with eggs – whatever caterpillars come later can be removed by hand.

In professional horticulture, crop protection products are applied when the larvae have just hatched from the eggs.

Prevention

Prevent the larvae from overwintering in the soil by covering the soil around the shrub with anti-root cloth.

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