Help us collect samples!

Our research relies on having good sampling of sawfly species across their ranges. However, it is difficult to be in the right place at the right time. Therefore, we are always grateful for pine sawfly samples. Currently, we are especially interested in receiving live and/or ethanol-preserved samples of: Diprion similis, Neodiprion lecontei, and Neodiprion pinetum. But we welcome other samples of other species as well. We are also happy to help provide identifications for collected samples.

Below are some basic instructions for collecting live colonies for shipping or preservation. If you would like to try your hand at rearing sawflies, we are happy to provide additional instructions. If you do find samples, please email me ( or use the contact form below for more detailed shipping instructions.

How to collect live sawflies

Instructions for species that feed in clusters

Like many Neodiprion species, N. lecontei and N. pinetum are gregarious. Usually, a distinct larval colony (i.e., a distinct group of feeding larvae in one area of a tree, such as a branch tip or a couple of adjacent branch tips) represents a group of siblings. We like to keep these groups separate for both genetic work and for establishing lab lines (so we can minimize inbreeding). The easiest way to collect a colony is to clip the branch tip (or adjacent branch tips) the larvae are feeding on and toss them in a large brown paper bag (e.g., a grocery bag or something similar). If possible, please clip some additional foliage to keep the larvae happy and well fed during their travels. Staple or tape the bag shut and enclose in a second bag to prevent escape. If you see multiple distinct colonies, these can be collected in separate bags. Sometimes, if there is an outbreak, there are so many larvae that distinct colonies are hard to see. In this case, just sample a few bunches of larvae (up to 5 groups) from different areas of the tree(s) and put them in separate bags.

Instructions for solitary feeders

Unlike N. lecontei and N. pinetum, Diprion similis larvae (and a handful of other species) tend to be solitary. For these, you can simply toss all the larvae you find at a particular site and on a particular tree species in a single paper bag with foliage to feed on (see instructions above). If you find larvae feeding on more than one host species, please separate the larvae by host species. Sometimes there are subtle genetic and morphological differences between individuals that are on different tree species. Likewise, if you find larvae at more than one site, these should be kept separate.

Collection details to record

For anything you collect, please record the following details to send with your collection: collection date, host tree species (or best guess; you can include a separate pine clipping and, if available, pine cone for us to verify host species), location info (address, lat/long, nearest city, etc), and any other relevant details about the site or host or critters.

Contact us

IF you have found pine sawflies and would like to send us samples or have other questions, please drop us a line!