General Discussion:

Leaf miners

Messages posted to thread:

AJ13-Jun-02 08:11 PM EST 5a   
Cee13-Jun-02 08:48 PM EST 7b   
Brian13-Jun-02 09:45 PM EST 3   
AJ14-Jun-02 10:40 AM EST 5a   
14-Jun-02 02:44 PM EST 5a   
Susan26-Jun-02 08:46 AM EST 6a   
Mort26-Jun-02 02:36 PM EST 3b   
Susan26-Jun-02 02:57 PM EST 6a   

Subject: Leaf miners
From: AJ
Zone: 5a
Date: 13-Jun-02 08:11 PM EST

I think leaf miners may be eating my Columbines....they are being stripped of all leaves, with nothing left but the stems. In a gardening book I read it's probably leaf miners, but it didn't say anything alse about them! How should I handle this? My husband sprayed the stems with "Sevin" hoping that would help.

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
From: Cee (
Zone: 7b
Date: 13-Jun-02 08:48 PM EST

Hi AJ,what I have found is that there are leafminers every year on mine(white trails inside the leaves) AND also voracious, green, caterpillars snacking along the leaf edges , and stripping them. What I do is, trying to stay "organic", I go over them every day and squeeze the little so&sos . Some will escape but after the plant has been nearly decimated (because they have more time than I do) the Columbines grow back again and the caterpillar cycle is over. Of course if you have loads of these plants it is time consuming unless you can pay a child to take them off,& throw them where the birds can see them. Crushed mothballs had been suggested to me but I don't care for this idea for several reasons. BT could be used but I think it also will affect the butterfly caterpillars. I think these green ones may be from the cabbage butterfly, as they had been seen in the vicinity. If you also have LEAF MINERS it depends upon what type , I think before you can attack them. You should at least pick off affected leaves and burn/destroy those. But I do think you have the same green, hard to see ,caterpillars as I have, run your fingers along edges of leaves and see who comes off!!! Good Luck ...Cee

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
From: Brian
Zone: 3
Date: 13-Jun-02 09:45 PM EST

Leaf Miners are a fly larvae that lives inside the leaf. It only eats the interior of the leaf leaving the outside skin. They are quite often found on Birch trees. Your problem doesn't appear to be a Leaf Miner but some other leaf cutter.

To control leaf miners, you have to use a pesticide that the plant adsorbs and then spreds it through the leafs inside.

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
From: AJ
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-Jun-02 10:40 AM EST

Thank you for the info - I think you're right - there are little green worm-like things on the Columbine, that blend so well they're practically invisible! I don't know exactly what they are, but they are only eating the Columbines, nothing else in the garden. My husband did pull off all those he could see and squished them. Then he sprayed the stems with "Sevin." Will the Columbines come back this year?

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
Zone: 5a
Date: 14-Jun-02 02:44 PM EST

Hi there... I also have had trouble with the nasty little catepillar eating the leaves off my Columbine. I recomend using an botanical insecticide that is enviromentally friendly like Aim or Trounce.... a good spraying with the hose works also. For Birch Leaf Miner I do use Sevin as it is the only product that works. I hate to use it as it is highly TOXIC to living thing it comes in contact with. Hope your'e wearing rubber gloves when you apply Sevin. Your Columine will come back. I can't say the same for the birds in your garden if you continue to use Sevin.. Please Think Green....Thank you

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 26-Jun-02 08:46 AM EST

Those 'nasty little caterpillars' are the larvae of Columbine Skippers (aka Duskywings). They are particularly abundant this year. They should be making the transition to butterflies about now so the damage will tail off and the columbines will usually recover. You should start seeing dusky-winged butterflies in the garden soon. Butterfly gardening is more than just planting nectar sources; it's also planting larval host plants like comumbine. But that means you have to put up with a certain degree of damage as the larvae feed - just tell yourself you're feeding baby butterflies...

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
From: Mort
Zone: 3b
Date: 26-Jun-02 02:36 PM EST

Hi there.... this is a common problem for us in the Edmonton area. I have beaten these little worms several years running now!! I put aprox. two tablespoons liquid detergent in a common spray bottle, shake it up and carefully spray the plants. I understand the detergent coats the buggers and suffocates them. It may take more than one spraying but you will notice the difference after the first. There seems to be no adverse affect to the plants at all. Good luck & good spraying!!

Subject: RE: Leaf miners
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 26-Jun-02 02:57 PM EST

Mort - I obviously wasn't very clear... I never spray or kill the caterpillars because I want the butterflies and am willing to pay the price of some temporarily chewed-up columbines! You don't get butterflies unless you tolerate the caterpillars...

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