Dealing with Leaf Miners – Easy Growing Episode #4

01.29.17

Dealing with Leaf Miners

Leaf Miners are a fairly common garden pest that feed on the inside of plant leaf tissue. You will often notice them in your garden by the white looking designs they leave on your plant leaves. While they’re unlikely to kill your plant, Leaf Miners’ voracious feeding will weaken your garden’s plants and cause fruiting plants to produce less. Since they feed on the inner tissue of leaves, they’re difficult to treat with insecticides. Because of this, we employ a simple tactic to keep our garden growing as well as possible. Remove any infested leaves.
In Episode #4 of Easy Growing, we take you around our personal garden, find the Leaf Miners, and show you how we remove them.

 

Video Transcript

Hi everyone this is Bryan Traficante from Garden In Minutes and this is Episode 4 of Easy Growing. Today, our founder Theresa is going to be talking to you about a fairly common garden insect problem called Leaf Miners.

How to Spot Leaf Miners

Hi it’s Theresa again, I’m here to show you a little thing that occasionally we find on our tomato plants. We see these little white squiggly lines and we say, “what the heck is that?” Well, you need to take care of it right away. They’re called Leaf Miners and you don’t want them to get out of control. But don’t worry, they’re easy to fix.

 

Leaf Miners on Tomato Plants Leaves
 

 

You see this? You see these little white lines? Those are leaf miners. See on the back, these little white dots, those are the eggs that turn into larvae, and you want to get rid of it. In a small garden it’s easy to do, you just pinch them off. Just take the whole thing off to avoid them hatching and destroying the rest of your plant.

What are Leaf Miners?

The Leaf Miners are basically the eggs of flies. There are flies, they lay their eggs, and then these eggs have these little worms, the larvae, and they feed on your leaves. And what you’re seeing in the lines is the dead tissue left behind after they feed. So that’s why you want to get rid of it… so they don’t drop off into your soil or reproduce. But it does happen (to most gardeners). There are several cycles through a season for leaf miners, that’s why as soon you see them, keep getting rid of them. They will not kill your plant, but they will reduce the hardiness, they’ll lower the volume of productivity of the plant, but it’s not going to kill the plant, it’s just going to destroy the nutrient base (injured leaves taking energy away from the healthier parts of the plant) and the aesthetics are not going to be too great either. So, just keep that in mind and try to keep a handle on it.

Adult Leaf Miner

Image courtesy of CoolGardens

Those are the Leaf Miners. And what you want to do is just pinch off all of those leaves and eliminate them. Unless you have a huge infestation, you should be just fine. So just pinch them off and be done with it.

Locate, Remove, and Keep Growing

Well that concludes Episode 4 of ‘Easy Growing’. Just remember, for Leaf Miners look for the little lines on the leaf, flip them over and you’ll see the eggs. As soon as you see that, remove all the leaves that have the Leaf Miner on it. Otherwise it will compromise the rest of the plant. It’s as simple as that, just pinch off the leaf set. Okay? Have a great day!

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About the Author: Bryan Traficante

Urban gardener and co-founder of GardenInMinutes.com. While not writing for GardenInMinutes and other gardening publications, you'll often see him responding to your questions and comments on our Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram pages.