What Insecticides Kills Sawfly Larvae
Hibiscus are tropical/sub-tropical plants that produce an abundance of flowers that come in an array of colors, these perennials will enhance your garden with their many colorful blooms that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The hibiscus plant belongs to a mallow family Malvaceae and comprises some 679 species.
Besides their beautiful flower blooms, hibiscus are hardy plants that can withstand harsh conditions but like other garden plants hibiscus also have their share of garden pests issues that can reduce a beautiful hibiscus to a nightmare. Some of these pests are mealybugs, the pink hibiscus mealybugs, thrips, aphids, scales, whiteflies, leafhoppers, fungus gnats, and the hibiscus sawfly. We will be discussing however the hibiscus sawfly and how we can bring control.
Hibiscus sawfly biology
The hibiscus sawfly is a fly-like insect that belongs to the family Argidae, the adult fly is black (3⁄16 inch) small, the top of the thorax is reddish. The larvae are 3/8-inch long spiny and green with dark or blackheads. There are several generations of this pest every year that are active during the warmer months
Signs of the hibiscus sawfly
The adult sawfly lays its eggs on the leaf’s underside, once the eggs hatch the larvae emerge and begin feeding on the undersides of the plant’s leaves, moving to the leaves uppersides as they become larger. Because of their huge appetite, they will consume the whole leaf except for the veins. The leaves and the flowers because of the mass feeding takes on a lace appearance. The life cycle of the hibiscus sawfly starts all over again as they pupate in debris around the base of the plants.
How to control the Hibiscus sawfly
There are several methods in which to control these sawflies, below we will be looking at some of these methods.
1. One method of control is by handpicking and throwing them into a container of soapy water. This method may require a bit of work but the end result is that you would have eliminated them.
2. Insecticidal soap has also proven to be effective, before applying insecticidal soap however read and follow the manufacture’s direction for the best results.
3. Soldier beetles are natural predators to sawflies, although the soldier beetle varies in color depending on their zone, one way to identify some of them are color spots that are black and large on each wing, the beetle also has a tan or yellowish color.
The larva hatch in the fall and begin feeding on soft-bodied insects along with the eggs of garden insect pests. During the colder months, they overwinter or hibernate in the fallen leaves or soil until spring arrives where they pupate or enter adulthood as a beetle. Soldier beetles are said to be among insects that pollinate plants as they can be seen flying among flowering plants such as zinnias, marigolds, hydrangeas, catnip, milkweed, goldenrod, etc… having these beetles in your garden is a win for you so installing some of these plants along with letting some of your herbs flowers will attract them to your garden.
4. Parasitic wasp is another means of biological control to control sawflies, the female wasp will deposit her eggs on the inside of garden pests. Once the eggs hatch the larva of the wasp will feed on the internal organs of garden insect pests causing them to die. After a while, the wasp will emerge from the dead body of the host insect.
These wasps can control many garden insect pests some of which include leaf miners, whiteflies, scale, caterpillars, cabbage worms, aphids, ants, cabbage loppers, European corn borers, codling moths, and tomato hornworms.
Some of these wasps are so small that they are difficult to spot except for the signs that they are present (dead garden insect pests). These wasps can be purchased from your nursery or garden center or you can attract them to your garden by installing plants that produce nectar and pollen. some of these plants include dill, fennel, cilantro, Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow, zinnias, Anise Hyssop, cosmos, etc…
5. Soapy water is also an inexpensive way to get rid of sawflies, just add this solution to a spray bottle and make contact by getting total coverage of the leaves. It’s also good to rinse the leaves with fresh water after an hour or so.
6. It’s also been recommended that a strong spray of water from your garden hose can also knock the larva of plants causing elimination.
7. The use of neem oil has proven to be effective against sawfly, read and follow the manufacture’s direction for the best results.
8. Diatomaceous earth is a favorite of many home gardeners that works well in the elimination of garden pests. Read and follow the manufactures direction for the best results.
9. A portable hand vacuum is said to be effective in manually removing the larva from garden plants.
11. Cultivate around shrubs and trees in the early spring and again in the fall to reduce overwintering populations.
12. Horticultural oils will bring elimination to the sawfly larva, before applying oil read and follow the manufacturer’s direction for the best results.
The final word on hibiscus sawfly control
Hibiscus are beautiful flowering plants that will give that color pop and the feel of the tropics, these garden beauties are widely used in many home gardens. I have worked with hibiscus on many garden projects and have never been disappointed, these flowering plants will go to work for you sprucing up your summer garden giving you flower bloom almost year-round. Don’t let the sawfly turn your dream hibiscus into a nightmare. Following this guide will help you to win the war on the hibiscus sawfly so your hibiscus can go to work for you by providing beautiful colorful flower blooms.