What Do Sawflies Eat? (5 Food list)

what sawflies eat

The larvae of sawflies feed on native shrubs and trees, causing extensive damage to food plants.

The Steel-Blue Sawfly, a species native to south-east Australia, attack eucalypts.

Their mouths secrete an unpleasant liquid. As such, they are often avoided by predators.

Nevertheless, you can spot them on your lawn or garden with caution.

If you’re not familiar with sawfly life cycles and what they feed on, keep reading.

Sawfly Larvae feed on leaves

The larvae of sawflies feed on leaf tissue, which they ingest during their life cycle. They are especially harmful to young plants, as their feeding on the plant’s juices can severely damage it.

Sawfly infestations can also result in the loss of a farmer’s entire wheat harvest. Because of their similarity to moths and caterpillars, the larvae of sawflies can often be confused with other pests.

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The adult sawfly can be up to 2cm long, although most measure six to ten millimeters. The female lays eggs in small batches, on the undersides of leaves.

The eggs hatch into larvae and feed on leaf tissue, leaving behind the skeleton of the veins. Larvae of sawflies feed leaves, and the larvae resemble caterpillars, slugs, and worms.

The female sawfly is short-lived and uses its ovipositor to cut apart young leaves, petioles, and stems.

The female deposits her eggs singly or in groups of thirty to ninety. Female sawflies lay one egg per leaf, while males have a white spot on the underside of their wings. They can also dig tunnels. However, female sawflies are usually more numerous than males.

Adults Sawflies eat ants

Sawflies are insect predators. The female sawflies have six legs and a long abdomen. The hind wings have hooks along the leading edges that help them attach to the forewings during flight. Sawfly legs are long and are used for running and digging.

The sawfly’s midsection is attached broadly to its abdomen. Most bees, wasps, and ants have a thread-like waist, and their larvae look like caterpillars, moths, or worms.

Sawflies feed on a variety of plant materials. Adult sawflies eat the leaves and flowers of most plants.

Larvae, which resemble caterpillars, feed on plant sap, nectar, and pollen. They can live on deciduous trees and conifers. Sawflies are usually found in clusters of four or more. When disturbed, sawflies will rear up in unison.

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Leaf-cutter ants live in Central and South America. They are native to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Their colonies are on the floors of rainforests. Workers produce eggs and feed the larvae on a special fungus.

Adult sawflies are nocturnal and do not bite people. They have been introduced to some countries for control of horntail forest pests.

The leaf-cutter ants are often used in conjunction with Ibalia leucospoides, which attacks young horntail larvae.

These insects are not considered endangered or threatened and are widely distributed across Europe and North America.

Although sawflies are not harmful to people, they can pose a significant threat to landscape plants. If detected early, they can be killed before they cause any damage. Insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils and pyrethrin are effective.

You can also remove larvae by knocking them off plants and dropping them into a bucket of soapy water. By scouting early for sawfly eggs, you can eliminate the problem before the damage is done.

Adult sawflies do not hibernate. Instead, they live for about 7-9 days. Some species live longer.

The entire life cycle of a sawfly can take several months or years. During the cold winter, larvae remain within the habitat until they pupate.

Adult sawflies emerge in spring or early summer. Their larvae live underground, overwintering as eggs. If you notice sawflies in your yard, they are not harmful to humans.

Sawflies feed on Pollen

Although the adults of sawflies are harmless to humans, their larvae can be a nuisance to gardeners. These insects can eat flowers and reduce the amount of pollen available. The larvae of sawflies are very tiny, and difficult to see, but they are very annoying!

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The larvae of sawflies consume pollen and nectar. If you see these sawflies around your garden, you can eliminate them and enjoy your garden again!

Sawflies are pests of many types of plants, including trees. They may wreak havoc on a garden if they attack an area of wood. They are often called “wood wasps” or “horntails” and they feed on plant material and pollen.

The larvae of sawflies are almost identical to caterpillars, except that they have 6 pairs of prolegs and no terminal hooks.

If you’ve ever been outside in North Carolina during the spring or summer, you’ve probably noticed the yellow glaze on trees and other plants. This is due to the pollen. Pine catkin sawflies, or “honeybees,” are worm-like insects that feed on pollen.

They’re a major problem for many people, so they take allergy medication religiously. But did you know that honeybees, butterflies, and moths are also major pollinators? Not only do they feed on flowers, but they also pollinate them.

Sawflies feed on Nectar

Sawflies are insects with wing-like mouth parts that resemble a knife. The females use this mouthpart to saw open the plant tissue and deposit the eggs.

Sawflies are closely related to bees and ants and have existed on Earth since the Triassic period, about 250 million years ago. There are approximately eight thousand species of sawflies worldwide.

In addition to their pest-control abilities, sawflies also serve as pollinators.

Sawfly larvae are free-living, caterpillar-like insects with more than five pairs of prolegs on the thorax.

Their thorax is equipped with three pairs of hardened true legs. Like moths, they feed on plants’ leaves and stems. Adult sawflies are carnivorous, but they are non-venomous. They also release a noxious liquid at persistent predators.

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Some species of sawflies are known for their preference for ferns. I recently saw larvae of one species of Strongylogaster at Riveredge Nature Center, ovipositing on Royal ferns.

These insects flew nonstop, perched on their wings, and then moved to Cinnamon ferns when the fecund stalks appeared. Other Western species include Strongylogaster tacita and bracken ferns.

Sawflies feed on young plants

Sawflies are tiny insect pests that feed on young plants. Their larvae are small, and resemble worms, chewing away leaves to leave a veiny skeleton behind.

They lay their eggs inside the leaves with a saw-shaped egg “depositor,” and they’re often mistaken for moths and caterpillars. But they’re not the only insects that can harm your plants.

The larvae of sawflies are about half an inch long and resemble hairless caterpillars with legs under their bodies.

Female sawflies lay eggs singly or in groups of 30 to 90. Leaf-mining sawflies lay one egg per leaf, which is glued to the surface and resembles a small olive-green slug. Despite their look, sawflies don’t sting.

If you notice adult sawflies in your garden, they’re most likely larvae. Fortunately, you can spot them early and prevent them from doing any damage to your plants. A homemade spray made of water and soap works well.

The soap suffocates the larvae, and water will also give your plants a drink. A good spray will help eliminate sawfly larvae before they cause significant damage.

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Plants that Sawflies attack

The adult sawfly is about 1/2 inch long. Like wasps, they feed on plants and pollen, but their wings are much thicker than their abdomens.

Although they are similar in appearance to bees, they are not related to them, except for the fact that they do not sting humans. Sawflies also do not sting and instead feed on pollen and nectar. Read on to learn more about sawflies, as well as how to control their population.

Most sawflies are nocturnal, emerging in spring or summer from the soil. Adult sawflies do not live long and only spend a few days flying around to lay their eggs.

Larvae, however, love to feed on plants, causing damage to the leaves and skeletal leaves.

Often, sawfly larvae chew through fruits and even skeletonize whole leaves. This is an unwelcome sight and is a sure sign that sawfly larvae are lurking in the soil.

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Unveil the dietary habits of sawflies in our comprehensive exploration. From their favored foliage to intriguing feeding behaviors, delve into the world of sawfly cuisine. Gain insights into protecting your plants from these voracious eaters and maintaining a thriving garden ecosystem.


Adult sawflies are extremely difficult to kill, as they only live for a week or two, or long enough to lay eggs. They don’t fly much, preferring to fly short distances during sunny weather.

During the daytime, they generally remain on the surface of plants, but in the shade, they tend to swarm and lay their eggs in small pods.

The larvae develop and hatch within a week, and the adults emerge during the month of July or August.

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