This study examined whether the saplings of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) exhibit associational resistance against the European pine sawfly Neodiprion sertifer (Hymenoptera, Diprionidae) when grown in a mixture with 50% silver birch (Betula pendula). The number of sawflies on pine trees in pure and mixed stands was manipulated at two experimental sites during two years. Survival of larvae and eggs was monitored, and the numbers of presumed sawfly predators were counted. A lower proportion of sawfly larvae and eggs survived on pines grown in the mixture with birch as compared with pure pine stands. Lower survival of sawfly larvae in the mixed stands was associated with the higher abundance of ants in these stands. The numbers of other sawfly predators (e.g. spiders and predatory heteropterans) differed between the study sites and were negatively associated with the presence of ants, which suggests possible interference between these groups. Although sawfly survival was lower on pines in the mixed stands, providing evidence of associational resistance, a related study shows the same trees had a higher number of ant-tended aphid colonies as compared with pines in the pure stands. Therefore, instead of considering resistance against individual herbivore species, it seems more practical to use associational resistance as a trait representing the resistance of larger systems, such as whole tree stands, against the total damage caused by herbivores in general.