The small caterpillars of the Gooseberry Sawfly can soon ruin a plant if not spotted and treated in good time. Small, black-spotted green caterpillars - up to 2.5cm long get to work and can strip a Gooseberry bush of leaves in just a few days. it can also attack currants with the same devastating effect.
With around three generations in a year, the sawfly is a serious pest, and unless close watch is kept, can be a very serious problem. The common name is the very descriptive, Spotted Gooseberry Sawfly caterpillars.
As soon as the foliage breaks in early April, do regular checks for this pest. If just a few are noticed, then they can be picked off by hand. However, Provado is a good systemic insecticide to use, or Bifenthrin can be used as a contact spray.
Sawflies can have up to three generations each year and are normally prevalent from Mid April through to Mid september.
Typical sawfly damage - here seen on an azalea. The gooseberry sawfly caterpillars do similar damage to gooseberries.
Sawfly caterpillars also cause damage on several other garden plants such as the fruiting currants - black currant and redcurrant plants.
Plants damages to the extent seen in the image
will be weakened for the current crop, and also be affected the
following year because of the rollover effect of the damage. Needless to
say - after an infestationyou should be extra viggilant at the start of
the life cycle season (April) the following year.