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Black Worms on the Leaves of a Cherry Tree

Updated July 20, 2017

Cherry slugs, or pear slugs, are small black worms that belong to the sawfly family of insects. They eat the leaves of cherry trees from mid- to late summer and eventually become non-stinging wasps.

Identification

Cherry slugs are small dark green to black worms that chew through cherry tree leaves. A mature cherry slug can reach up to 1/2 inch long, and its head is a bulge on one end. Younger cherry slugs are much darker in colour.

Function

Cherry slugs eat cherry leaves for a living. They do not often chew through the leaf. Rather, they eat the upper leaf surface and leave behind a trail of brown spots. If the leaf is heavily damaged, it will fall off.

Prevention/Solution

Tree owners can get rid of cherry slugs by blasting a strong jet of water to knock them off the leaf. Pesticides that contain carbaryl or malathion are also effective.

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About the Author

Hayley Smith is a freelance documentary filmmaker and writer with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Middle Eastern studies. She has contributed written work to various websites, specializing in topics on the outdoors and Utah skiing.