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Insect Pests of Dogwood

Stephen Bambara, Extension Entomologist

CAUTION: This information was developed for North Carolina and may not apply to other areas.

Dogwood Borer

- Wasp-like moth ~3/4"
- Larvae feed beneath bark girdling tree
- Bark wraps and damage encourage egg laying

- Cultivated trees more susceptible
- Cream colored larvae overwinter in tunnels
- May be a pest of apple trees
- Adults emerge May-Oct; univoltine

*Pyrethroid protective trunk sprays
*Pheromone detection traps available

borer in trunk

Dogwood Twig Borer

- Slender longhorned beetle ~2/3", 3 black spots on thorax
- Leaves wilt on individual twigs
- Adult emerge early summer, girdle twig, lay egg in bark crevice.
- Pale larva tunnels along center of twig
- Overwinters as pupa in tunnel

*Prune twig below girdled spot and destroy.

borer in stem

Dogwood Clubgall Midge

- Delicate fly ~1/16", yellow-orange abdomen
- Adults emerge late spring
- Flies lay eggs in minute leaf terminals. Maggots tunnel into leaf base or petiole.
- Maggot feeding causes tissue to form gall
-Damage mostly cosmetic, but can be severe

* Swollen twigs should be pruned and destroyed while larvae are present.

gall in stem

Dogwood Sawfly

- Caterpillar up to 1 inch long.  Change color pattern after molt.  Older larvae become woolly.
- Leaves consumed leaving ribs.
- Larvae gregarious on underside of leaves.
- Larvae appear early summer.
- Adult wasps appear May-July.
-Overwinter as larvae in rotted wood.
- More common on Cornus sericea than C. florida

* Carbaryl or other caterpillar controls effective, especially when small.

sawfly larvae

Cottony Maple Leaf Scale

- Cottony white egg sacs up to 1/2".
- Yellowish crawlers first appear on underside of leaves May-June.
- Scales may appear on twigs and stems in summer and fall.
- Honeydew may produce black sooty mold fungus.
- Twig dieback may occur.

*Hyperaspis lady beetles feed on eggs.
* Hort oil or other scale insecticides.  Imidicloprid systemic should be effective.

cottony scale on leaf

Seedcorn Maggot Fly

- Greyish brown, similar to house fly.
- Yellow maggot attacks seeds of many plants.
- Not a pest of dogwood, but fungus infected flies die perched on branches causing undue concern.

*Investigate nearby seed-producing plants for possible infestation.

dead flies on stem

Other insects such as calico scale and oyster shell scale are much less common in southern dogwoods.


Recommendations for the use of chemicals are included in this publication as a convenience to the reader. The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products or services in this publication does not imply endorsement by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service nor discrimination against similar products or services not mentioned. Individuals who use chemicals are responsible for ensuring that the intended use complies with current regulations and conforms to the product label. Be sure to obtain current information about usage and examine a current product label before applying any chemical.

For assistance, contact your county North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service agent.

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Published by North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Distributed in furtherance of the Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. Employment and program opportunities are offered to all people regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. North Carolina State University at Raleigh, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.


Prepared by: S. B. Bambara, Extension Entomologists. Photos © J.R. Baker and S.Bambara, Jim Solomon, Terry Price. Permission required.
ENT/ort-136. November, 2005

Web page last reviewed January, 2011.