The Q&A Archives: Leafminers On Schefflera Amate

Question: I have had a Schefflera Amate for several years. This plant has been very healthy up until this summer, which was very hot and dry. The first thing I noticed was that there was no new growth. Then I noticed what looked like black pepper on the underside of the leaves. I have them under control now. Now it seems like a white trail on the leaves, I have come to the conclusion that they are leafminers. My question is what do I do to protect my plant, I don't want to throw it out, it was given to me as a present. Thanks for your help!!!

Answer: If there really are leaf miners within the leaves of your plant, you can control them by removing and destroying the infested leaves. Leaf miners are the larvae of a fly (Liriomyza). The adult lays an egg in a slit she's made in the leaf. The egg hatches into a little worm which tunnels through the leaf tissue, between the upper and lower leaf surfaces (a little like eating the center out of an Oreo cookie). Because they are protected on the inside, they are usually not affected by pesticides. When the worms grow big enough, they exit the leaves on a thin web and pupate in the soil, emerging as adults some time later. To stop this process, either squish the critters, or remove the leaves and destroy them.

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