Leaf Miner Overview
Leafminer is a maggot in the larval stage of an insect family commonly found in home gardens feeding in the middle surface of the leaves. There are different kinds of leafminer; however, their appearance and damages are the same. Leafminers are undistinguished black flies that do not cause harm to the leaves instead it’s the larva. The favorite plants of this larva are beans, cabbage, spinach, beet, lettuce and various fancy flowers like lilacs, broadleaf trees and other shrubs.
Adult leafminers are 1/10 inch in length black flies with stripes of yellow and transparent wings. Their look is completely identical to small hunched bucked-house flies that lay a group of eggs underside a leaf. Their larvae are 1/3 inch long and are often light green or yellow in color.
A mature larva drops itself into the soil of its host plant to pupate. After 2-4 weeks, it will become a fly. A female leafminer can lay up to 250 eggs underside the leaf using its ovipositor. These eggs appear as an elevated spot on the surface of the leaf and will hatch within 10 days. They will pass through the mid-leaf tissue, feeding and leave squiggles visible on the leaf’s surface. When they mature after 2-3 weeks and ready to pupate, they will cut a hole in the leaf and drop to the soil. There are several generations each year.
Photo Credit Wikipedia Commons
Leafminer, as their name implies, are good at mining tunnelling through the leaves feeding while leaving yellowish wavy lines on the leaves of the crop. Their damages may also appear as spots. They can attack various plants from crops to trees, shrubs and flowers. Damage depends on the how severe the infestation is but initially, the damage can be small. However, as the leafminers increases in number, though it may not kill the plant, still it can make it look unpleasant by crippling its leaves to hardiness.
Leafminers cause the crops to lose its value and even restricts its growth leading to a poor harvest in home gardens. They are very fond of attacking spinach and if such crop is heavily infested, there is no way market the affected leaves.
How to Control
Scouting is an important part of detecting these culprits as early as possible. Examine the underside part of the leaves; look for small clusters or white eggs and examine the seedlings weekly. Early detection means early prevention.
There are several effective ways to solve the leafminer problem by using organic control methods to using natural pesticides. If controlling the leafminer is a not a thing for you, make sure to consult to your local pest control provider near your area.