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7 messages
25/08/2013 at 13:10


I have just returned home from a two week holiday to find the top of my lovely hawthorn tree bare!  On closer inspection (well as close as I can get with a camera) I can see huge caterpillars munching through the leaves!!   They are approx 3 inches long, fat and brown/light brown in colour and hairy with black heads!

Before I went away I had noticed a bare branch but thought little of it as I couldnt see any pests.

Help!  What specials could they be and what do I do about it?  I don't have a clear picture unfortunately so I can't upload anything helpful, but if someone could put forward some suggestions I would be grateful.



25/08/2013 at 13:21

If it's 3 inches long it's liketo be one of the hawkmoths. Please don't kill them Your hawthorn will re-leaf next year if not before. The moths aren't so resilient

See if you can find yours here

or here

25/08/2013 at 13:23

If you really don't want them to stay on your hawthorn perhaps you could pick them off, gently, and move them to another hawthorn tree that isn't so precious?

25/08/2013 at 13:25

Good idea, plenty around thecountryside and in parks

25/08/2013 at 15:56

Ok, I think mystery is solved. I managed to get hold of one of the caterpillars. After much searching on line,I am fairly certain that it is a buff tip moth caterpillar.  The colour is not brown as first thought but more of a black and mustard yellow.

25/08/2013 at 16:08

3 inches?

09/07/2015 at 15:13

I realize this is an old thread but I just fell upon it when searching for 'orange caterpillars with black heads on hawthorn'.  I'm pretty sure this is the larvae of the Social Pear Sawfly Neurotoma saltuum, not the buff tip moth as their larvae are quite different.  I have the same 'caterpillars' on my hawthorn and found a useful identification on the Natural History Museum forum (  I'm sure your larvae, like mine, are the same as these.

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