It’s extremely important to know how to get rid of leaf miners because these pests can cause serious plant damage if you let them have their way.
Leaf miners are the maggot or larval stage of insects that feed between the lower and upper surfaces of plant leaves. They can significantly reduce crop value, so you should know how to properly and efficiently get rid of them.
Why Leaf Miners Are Difficult To Kill
Leaf miners are challenging to kill because they eat the inner leaves of plants. They are usually found on shrubs, bushes, and broadleaf trees like aspen, elm, poplar, and hawthorn.
Spraying the plants with pesticides could help. However, the effect may not last as long because this method only coats the leaf’s surface.
How To Get Rid Of Leaf Miners
Organic and natural methods work best when dealing with leaf miners, so don’t wait until you find squiggly tunnels on the leaves of your plants. If you want to get rid of leaf minors, then follow these tips as soon as possible to save your plants sooner than later.
Tip #1: Discard infected leaves
Break off infected leaves, and put them in the trash. You should also check new transplants for any sign of leaf miner activity. There are two ways to deal with leaf miners on new transplants: returning the plants to the nursery or removing the infected leaves.
Tip #2: Squeeze the leaves
As soon as you notice the beginning of white, wavy lines, you should squeeze the plant’s leaves to kill the larvae. By squeezing the leaves, you get the pleasure of killing the leaf miners without having to touch them.
Tip #3: Use trap crops
Trap crops refer to plants that look attractive to pests. Plant trap crops nearby to prevent leaf miners from infesting your plants. Some of the best trap crops are velvetleaf, columbine, and lambsquarter.
Tip #4: Use barriers
You can either use black plastic or floating row covers to stop leaf miners from invading your garden. The plastic prevents mature larvae from dropping to the soil and digging into it, thereby disturbing their life cycle.
On the other hand, floating row covers prevent the adult female insects from landing on the plants to lay their eggs. You have to secure the ends and sides of the covers to the ground to prevent insects from getting in.
Tip #5: Release beneficial insects
You can release beneficial insects like the Diglyphus isaea in your garden to kill leaf miners. It is a parasitic wasp that stings and paralyzes leaf miners. The female will lay eggs near the leaf miner, and the hatching larvae will eat the paralyzed host.
Tip #6: Use a sticky trap
Sticky traps are coated with adhesive. The cards are either placed on a stick holder or hung in the greenhouse. Adults will get stuck on the adhesive, preventing them from mating, and laying eggs.
Tip #7: Spray plants with neem oil
Neem oil is a general pesticide that you can use to control leaf miner activity. The pesticide will kill the adult flies and larva. However, you need to apply the pesticide at the right time. If you spray the plants too early, the pesticide won’t be effective.
You have to apply the pesticide frequently, uniformly, and consistently to get results. Neem oil will disrupt the lifecycle of leaf miners and prevent them from becoming adults. However, you may also end up killing friendly fauna in the garden, so be careful.
Why Should Try to Grow Your Crops, Flowers, and Other Plants in a Greenhouse?
Growing plants in a greenhouse is one of the best things you can do for your plants. However, a lot of gardeners are still on the fence because they think that greenhouses are an expensive investment. While there are greenhouses with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, some are made of high-quality plastic that are sure to fit your budget.
Here are some of the reasons why you should try growing your plants in a greenhouse:
Protection from pests and larger animals
Aphids, cabbage worms, leaf miners, mealybugs, rodents, moles, deer, and other pests and animals would love a taste of your plants. They’ll munch on your leaves, flowers, and fruits, causing growth to stunt. Keeping your plants inside a greenhouse keeps them safe from these pests and animals. You can even add a screen or a trap to further protect your plants.
Keep your plants safe from bad weather
Bad weather, such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, high winds, and extreme heat can easily damage your plants. Growing your plants inside a greenhouse keeps them safe from the elements, allowing them to grow healthy and strong.
With a greenhouse, you’ll be able to control the temperature inside regardless of the weather outside. You can customize your greenhouse and include heating or cooling systems. In this way, you’ll be able to adjust the temperature based on what your plants need.
Final Thoughts on How to Get Rid of Leaf Miners
Although it’s important to know how to get rid of leaf miners quickly, you shouldn’t be aggressive with your approach. After all, it’s far wiser to put up barriers in your garden and release beneficial insects that can kill leaf miners.