ID please: small green caterpillar on gooseberry bush

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by ssi gardener, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. ssi gardener

    ssi gardener Active Member

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    Location:
    Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
    This voracious 'insect' appeared after two days of rain and in that short time is well on the way to consuming our gooseberry bush. There were quite a few of them which we removed by hand. We fear there are more to come. I'm not sure if they came from the brown egg case shown, but it was attached to a branch in close proximity to the most damage. Last year this same creature destroyed a larger gooseberry bush. It seems to be specific to the gooseberry. We thought we had it under control. Help please!
     

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  2. silver_creek

    silver_creek Active Member

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    Location:
    Bellingham, WA, usa
    Currant worm. It is the larvae of a sawfly, only feeds on currant and gooseberry foliage. Pick them off and drop into soapy water. You can use insecticides on them as well. The adult appears and lays eggs just as the flowers appear on the bushes. If you look for them early (before they start defoiliating your bushes) horticultural soap is somewhat effective. By the time the worms are the size of those in your pictures, you have to use something stronger to kill them.
     
  3. ssi gardener

    ssi gardener Active Member

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    Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
    Thank you for the identification Terry! Understanding 'habits' of pests certainly helps in the control of them. Seems we are a bit late with this one, as you have said. We'll keep hand picking and try green soap. Sooner or later we surely must run out of worms on this bush if it lasts that long now. Your advice for an ounce of prevention (or more as necessary) before the bush blossoms next year will very likely do it. Lately we've been getting a lot of 'domestic' pests we never had here before: whitefly, tomato horn worm, now these currant worms , so identification is a great help. Suspect they're arriving on plants brought by newcomers. Fun and games. Cheers, Lynetta
     
  4. Scott Loewen

    Scott Loewen Member

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    I've had this problem for 2 years now, and tried a few different things. This year I waited until the leaves began to sprout and closely watched for them, especially on the new shoots. I then just found the leaves with little chew marks on them and pulled off that whole leaf. They seem to stay on the same leaf until it's fully devoured

    I re-checked every few days, and repeated the process, this year I have a nice full plant and very few worm sightings as of yesterday. Soon they morf and move on so I won this round. And used no pestacides!
     
  5. ssi gardener

    ssi gardener Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hi Scott, It's nice to know so many people are trying not to use pesticides. Yes, Terry was right about the sawfly laying eggs just before blossom time. Picking off the worms has worked, and as well, I used green soap which irritated one more into appearing--so far no more worms. Then I went on an internet search and found that the sawfly is busy right up until September or maybe until cold weather sets in. Once a month was the suggestion, so we're going to have to be vigilant all summer from about May onward, which is about the time our bush unfurls its leaves. It seems the brown object in our photo is the breached cocoon from which the fly emerges, not an egg case. These were neatly wedged in the crooks of small twigs along the main branches and trunk. Apparently the fly lays eggs along the veins of the leaves after mating, they hatch, worms eat our gooseberry leaves and those which survive then make a cocoon for pupating to start the cycle all over again. None of the articles I found said so, but I gather the later cocoons overwinter, so look for those too. Happy hunting :-) Lynetta
     

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