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pear under attack
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quokka
Corvallis
148 Posts
(Offline)
1
May 8, 2020 - 5:49 pm

After years of being untouched by pests, one of my pears is having its leaves stripped by a small green caterpillar looking creature. Strangely they are barely touching the pear next to it (both of the same variety), and are not touching another pear tree at all. Hope all your pears are devoid of such creatures.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
2
May 8, 2020 - 9:06 pm

Quokka,

Are you able to take a photo of the little critters, Or could you describe what you mean by "stripped"?  Each year over the last few, I've had these little caterpillars the exact same color as the pear leaves that make holes in them, basically starting at some place away from the leaf-edge but continuously eating along the margin of the hole that they've made... kinda like a little kid's toy train set circulating round and round on the track as the hole gets larger and the little caterpillar keeps growing.  I still haven't figured-out what kind of caterpillar they are, because when I see the holes forming I kill the caterpillars (--not with insecticide, but with the thumb and forefinger that I was born with).  [Actually, I have two thumbs and two forefingers, which I only mention here for the sake of clarity of communication.]

Reinettes

(...suddenly counting his fingers to make sure that he didn't mis-speak....)

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quokka
Corvallis
148 Posts
(Offline)
3
May 10, 2020 - 1:30 pm

Sorry Reinettes, it is unlikely I will be able to get a photo of the little greenies. But yes, about the same color as the leaf, and you've described the eating pattern. By stripped I mean that leaves are eaten entirely except for the center rib. There are some leaf clusters which now look like miniature misshapen green hands.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
(Offline)
4
May 12, 2020 - 4:33 pm

I don't know about that one, but now you've got me worried. I grow a lot of pears.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
5
May 12, 2020 - 5:46 pm

At some point I'm going to have to try and identify what these little buggers are.  

Up until now I've relied on spotting and squishing them, and on the sometimes efficient various wasps and beloved jumping spiders (Salticidae) who patrol my trees.  Wasps will often paralyze caterpillars and use them to feed their larvae, but sometimes I think that some of my wasps wait until the caterpillars are large enough to make it worth their time.  Picky, picky.

Reinettes

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Larry_G
151 Posts
(Offline)
6
May 12, 2020 - 7:00 pm

Moth caterpillars have a variable number of leg pairs, but one or more body segments are always lacking legs.

Sawfly larva  have a pair of legs on every body segment.

Examine the legs prior to squishing!

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
7
May 12, 2020 - 8:50 pm

Larry_G,

Thank you for your note.  I must admit that I don't like killing the larvae of moths or sawflies.  It's the whole quandary of human desire vs. insect desire.  I certainly love most insects and want them to get-on with life, just as I too want to get on with life and avoid external perturbation; but if the cute little larvae -- whether moth or sawfly -- are going to potentially defoliate my pear tree which has already set a fruit that I hope to eat some day, chances are I'm going to make a decision in my own favor.  Sad, isn't it?  From the time that naked apes emerged from the shadows and started trying to influence the landscape and plants and insects and other animals around them... things have rather gone askew.

I heard on the radio today that the global population of naked apes is now about 8 million.  [Mind-numbingly depressing.]  The carrying capacity of our planet for this uppity species was probably closer to, perhaps, 10 million at best.  

What's a poor naked ape to do in a world where everything is now thoroughly out-of-whack because of the very species that he belongs to?  Well, try to live lightly on our poor earth, and most importantly, develop a sense of humor based on the absurd.

Reinettes.

[A toast:  to all those naked apes who are trying to bring the planet back from the brink, by knowledge, empathy, and a genuine concern for our sole planet!]

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
8
May 12, 2020 - 8:58 pm

...Er,... make that 8 BILLION!

Boy.  Where's my proofreader when I need her.  (Oh, she's in the living room eating chocolate.) Smile

Tim.

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
375 Posts
(Offline)
9
May 12, 2020 - 9:25 pm

...Umm,... Hello?  Hello?  Is this thing on?....

My wife, who was only mildly amused by the previous post, said that the little critter may be the "California pear sawfly" (Pristophora abbreviata).  After checking some reference books, it certainly looks to me like she's correct.  Of course I had to gripe about the fact that the "common name" said "California" when we clearly are not there, but I've been ranting about the inaccuracy of "common names" for at least 4 decades now.  [Hence, I try to give the Latin binomials where possible.]  Family:  Tenthredinidae.

Regrettably, I'll probably still have to eliminate those that look like they're too darn voracious to leave some semblance of leaf behind.

Alas and alack.

Reinettes

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