The Q&A Archives: leafminers on colubines

Question: I recently potted two columbines that now seem to have leafminers on the foilage. I sprayed the leaves with SEVIN but to no avail. I removed 80-85% of the infected leaves. Will this parasite kill the plant and if not can it recover.

Answer: Leaf miners are the larvae of a small moth or fly that feed by removing green tissue from between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves. Since they're between the leaf surfaces, no amount of insecticide will reach them. You can pick and destroy infested leaves to kill the larvae, and to reduce the population of future generations. If you can encourage beneficial predators, such as lacewings and spiders, to take up residence in your garden, the beneficials will help keep the leafminer populations down. If you have a variety of plants in your landscape so that there's something blooming at all times, you'll provide the perfect environment for a multitude of beneficials. In the meantime, just pick off the leaves of your columbines if they develop the tell-tale trails of leafminers. This way you will be controlling the next generation.

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