WSU Extension


Common Insects & Mites : Skeletonizers
(revision date: 4/30/2013)

Of the many species of skeletonizers, most are caterpillar types. Skeletonizers devour leaf tissue, leaving only leaf veins or "skeletons" behind when they feed. These pests frequently create webbing where they feed and sometimes tie leaves together with silk.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Hand-pick and destroy caterpillars when practical.
  • Naturally-occurring enemies help control populations of apple-and-thorn skeletonizers. Avoid use of broad-spectrum insecticides which kill beneficial insects.
  • Pinch caterpillars inside rolled leaves or prune and destroy heavily infested twigs.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

Refer to specific host fact sheets for application timing and registered pesticide products.

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Caption: Apple-and-thorn skeletonizer
Photo by: A.L. Antonelli
Caption: Pear slug and damage
Photo by: R.D. Akre