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There are several Sawfly species that can attack plants but the most common pest for gardeners is the Gooseberry Sawfly (Nematus ribesii) which targets Gooseberries and currants. There are three Gooseberry Sawflies; the common Gooseberry Sawfly, the Small Gooseberry Sawfly, and the Pale Gooseberry Sawfly. The Sawflies are often mistaken for caterpillars, as they are very similar in appearance, but are actually part of the Hymenoptera family of insects.
The larvae of Gooseberry Sawflies will feed on plants and can strip Gooseberry plants of all their leaves, which often leads to a poor crop. The common Gooseberry Sawfly larvae can be found from April to June but further generations from July to September may appear. Once the Sawfly larvae are fully developed they will stop feeding and drop into the soil to pupate.
Try disturbing the soil around your Gooseberry bushes to allow birds to feed on the Sawfly pupae, and look out for Sawfly larvae on plants from April. Remove the first few larvae identified by hand or start spraying the larvae with our Gooseberry Sawfly Killer Nematodes. This provides a safe, natural, and chemical free method of controlling the Sawfly.