Leaf minor…its miner.

Howdy Friends,
I have a leaf minor problem. I don’t have a photo to go with this post so instead you can take a look at these beauties!!
These are beets that I harvested just a few days ago they were yummy!
I wrote Dirty Di about my leaf minor problem. Then when Raven came by to take a look at my Garden (she is the plant whisperer)
Raven said  “You know what I think of leaf miner.”
“What” I repsonded
“It’s minor”
I love that, it is so zen. No need to get worked up it is minor or miner or minor…no miner…wait minor. Any way you get it.
Emily asks:  Some of the leaves on my tomato plant have a light colored twisty trail on them.  What should I do? 
 
Tropical Gardener Answer:  It sounds like you have leaf miner.on your tomato. The twisty trails are the result of the feeding of the larva of a small fly Liriomyza munda.  The larvae also attack the leaves of some peas and beans as well as squash, cucumber and other curcubits. 
 
The adult lays her eggs on the leaves of the host plant.  When the young larva emerges it feeds on the tissue between the upper and lower surfaces of the leaves causing the trails that you see. Damage is usually minimal but in some cases can cover the leaf so it cannot photosynthesize.  If many leaves are affected the plant could suffer.  Plants rarely die from leaf miner damage.
 
Even though the damage is mostly cosmetic it can and should be controlled in one of several ways. Removing the affected leaves gets rid of the existing miners before they pupate into adults that will lay more eggs.  Mature larvae leave the ‘mines’ they have created on the leaves and drop to the ground to pupate. Placing plastic trays under affected plants to collect and destroy the pupae is another way to arrest the leaf miner life cycle. 
 
Planting ‘trap plants’ can help.  You might choose some of their favorites like lambsquarter and columbine to distract  the leaf miners from your tomatoes.
 
Very few insecticides are effective against this pest and systemic insecticides are not usually recommended for tomatoes or other food crops.  Since you’ll want to encourage the predator, a small parasidc wasp, to come feed,  it is best not to apply any insecticide.  Spraying a contact insecticide on the surface of the leaf once the miners are in place will be ineffective, anyway, as they are in the tissue of the plant.  . 
 
If damage is severe you may be able to prevent the adults from laying eggs by spraying a low toxic insecticide like one containing neem to kill the adult fly. 
The leaf miner life cycle takes about 2 weeks allowing for many generations to occur in a year. They will also move from one host to another as new host plants become available.
Good Luck,
Dirty Diana
Whoops how did that picture of my Moki Boi get in there!?!

2 thoughts on “Leaf minor…its miner.

  1. That was so informative, thanks Em!!
    Also, lovely imagery!! I love the angles of the photos. I’ve never seen a beet growing before.

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