Ilex VS Leaf Miners

Leaf miners can cause a fair amount of damage to a plant, if the gardener isn’t paying attention. A leaf miner is the larva of an insect that lives in and eats the leaf tissue of plants. Most of leaf-mining insects are moths (Lepidoptera), sawflies (Symphyta) and flies (Diptera), though some beetles also begin this way. This feeding action causes strange scribbles to appear on the leafs of some unfortunate plants.  I’ve always thought of the book ‘Charlotte’s Web’ when I observe these… Always wondering if I’m going to read,”Some Pig!” one of these days.

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It looks like a prescription from my doctor…

I spotted them in my Vervain Mallow (Malva alcea) this summer. This plant is considered a weed here, although I think its pretty and allow it to grow in my garden. With the weed title in mind, I can’t find much information on what fly causes these tunnels. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The way to get rid of them is the same for all miners. Squish or remove leaf. It is that easy. I try to find the newest feeding area and squish the leaf between my fingers, thus squishing the insect. If there are too many on a leaf, remove it and throw it away.

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Someone got confused and laid an egg on an annual   ||   Leaf miners on columbine

Miners overwinter as pupa in the soil, then morph into flies that lay eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs then hatch into maggots and burrow inside the leaf tissue to mature. Three species of miners in the genus Phytomyza are associated with columbines.

 


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

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