Wormy leeks - Knowledgebase Question

Pennington, NJ
Avatar for matthew51
Question by matthew51
February 2, 1998
When I harvest my leeks I find small white worms in them. This has happened the last several times I tried to grow them. I have planted them in different spots and, following the advice of the local county extension, spread fireplace ash around them, but the result is the same. These occur below ground so there is no sign of them until harvest, except that in the worst cases the green tops of the leeks will start to droop.

Answer from NGA
February 2, 1998
Sounds as though onion maggots have found your plants. The adults are flies that lay eggs at the soil surface. When the eggs hatch, the larvae burrow into the fleshy part of your leeks and feed until it's time for them to pupate and turn into flies.

Try planting your leeks in a different part of the garden next year and covering the whole row with Reemay or some type of floating row cover to exclude the adult flies. By excluding the adults, you'll break the cycle and subsequent crops should be damage-free.

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