It’s Eat your Vegetables Day! Likely you do this each and every day. Here in Marin, we’re fortunate to have ready access to wonderful, healthy produce. And even better if you can step into the garden and pick your own!
As you check out some of those leafy greens, like cabbage, spinach, and chard, look for the telltale signs of leafminers. These insects attack many vegetables and ornamentals. The adult fly pierces leaves and suck sap, then the female lays eggs between the leaf layers. When the larva hatches, it uses its mouth parts to rupture plant cells, weaving trails through the leaf. These trails are called mines.
To manage these pests:
- Keep area weed free.
- Inspect new seedlings before planting.
- Plant only in areas where you have not had a leaf miner infestation.
- Attract the predators of leaf miners to your garden by planting attractant plants.
- Prune and destroy any affected leaves on infected plants.
- Remove old plants at the end of the growing season.