Outbreaks of lesser spruce sawfly, Pristiphora abietina (Christ) (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae), on conifers regularly occur in Turkey and other European countries. Chemical pesticides have been used to contain outbreaks, but those may damage the forest and disturb natural enemies. To minimize the use of chemical pesticides in the management of this forest pest, we identified the entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) that naturally occur on P. abietina and tested their efficacy against the pest under laboratory and semi-field conditions. Using morphological and molecular techniques, 13 EPF isolates were obtained from the pest and identified as Beauveria bassiana (Bals.-Criv.) Vuill., Beauveria pseudobassiana S.A. Rehner & Humber, and Lecanicillium muscarium (Petch.) Zare & W. Gams. A laboratory screening test at 10(6) conidia ml(-1) showed that all isolates caused 59-100% mortality after 14 days. Further experiments were performed with the three most effective isolates, all belonging to B. bassiana. For these isolates, an increase in conidia dose increased pest mortality. Also, the ability of horizontal transmission in the pest population was shown. All three isolates were effective in killing P. abietina on spruce under semi-field conditions. These data will contribute to the development of an integrated pest management program for P. abietina based on microbial biological control.