John Obermeyer

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Small, caterpillar-like larvae, often confused with armyworm, can occasionally be found in wheat and some other grassy cover crops. These are not caterpillars at all, but are sawfly larvae, likely grass sawfly (Pachynematus sp.). Adult sawflies are insects with four wings that are distant relatives of the honeybee. They can be thought of as primitive wasps, but they do not have a stinger. The larvae are usually plant feeders and a few are pests of home gardens (rose sawfly or the confusingly named pear slug, for example). The sighting of foliage feeding sawfly larvae in wheat fields is infrequent in the Midwest. And although this species feeds on the leaves, it is minor pest. This is more of a curiosity than anything else, and an opportunity to learn the differences between different insect larval types – always fun! Full size larvae, about 1.25 inches, may feed on stems causing head[Read More…]