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How do u treat a tomato plant affected with leaf miners?

dubai, United Arab Emirates


Can anyone provide a good solution for leaf miners on tomato leaf? I have read about it at below link but it seems I have no choice but to pick out the affected leaves.

Any idea does this spread? Its affected 2 of my plants.

Thumbnail by vanita79
Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Leaf miner is a pest that is the larvae of certain moths, sawflies or wasps. Most are pretty much host specific.
The female lays the eggs, injecting them into the leaf.
The larvae are never exposed to the outside of the leaf, so cannot be killed by pesticide.
Sometimes there are resistant varieties of plants.
There are some predators that can reduce the population.
Some pests (I do not know about leaf miners) are timing specific. That is, they attack only at restricted times of the year, or a certain age of plant.

1) Research- are there any tomatoes that are resistant?
2) Minimize sprays so you do not kill the beneficial, predatory insects and spiders.
3) If leaf miners are restricted in their timing, then try row covers during their most active time.
4) Yup, remove affected leaves and destroy them in a way that kills the pest.
5) Keep the plant properly watered and fertilized so it can grow strong in spite of a small amount of leaf miner damage.

dubai, United Arab Emirates

Thankyou Diana.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Vanita, the advice given by Diana is the same as I would give, also go ahead and remove ALL the leaves with the bugs on them, as Diana has said, these leaf miners are so well camouflaged from predators, and sprays are nor good when you want to spray chemicals onto food plants that you want to eat possibly within a few weeks after spraying.

If I have to remove some foliage that has been affected by disease or bugs, I always burn them, that way the problems are not passes onto other plants that could become host's for more of the same.
I don't know how mature your plants are or IF they are forming fruit's yet, if they are then removing some leaves helps ripen the fruits but don't strip ALL the foliage, as the foliage is required for the uptake of water /feed and it helps prevent the fruits burning IF in hot sun.

Some bugs use natures radar to lay eggs on the plants at the same time each year and usually the same type of plant is attacked so for future years for the Tomato plant family, try to be prepared and make a tent around the plants by using horticultural fleece or even old NET CURTAINS would work, make a tent with garden canes or stick's from shrubs / trees but not heavy type of material. after the bugs have disappeared, you can remove the tents,

Hope you get good results, keep a watch for more leaves showing signs of attack and remove, the plants will normally make new foliage as they grow,
Best regards.

dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hi weenel, thanks for the advice I have been removing a lot of foilage lately and my only fear is what to do if more leaves are affected. I have tried cutting out the portion of the part of the leaf that was affected to avoid removing too many leaves. Just a quick question why would you burn the leaf, are they so dangerous? I usually throw the feaf away. Away from my balcaney. You are right about the camouflage because I have been watching the tomato plant (affected), thats fruiting by the way, at different times of the day and still cant figure out who is laying the eggs. I also tried brushing off a lot of white dandruff like substance from under the leaf. I just hope I can find the culprit and kill it before it tries to ruin more leaves. There is this one mosquito I have seen a lot in my balcony lately. I've seen atleast 10-15 resting on walls. So many of them dead around the place. Two of them died on the bed where some strawberry seedlings are growing. I'm not sure if these people are laying eggs under my tomato leaves but thereare just too many of them in my balconey. I'm gonna try to find out how to get rid of the visible ones first. And hope I can find neem oil which I have read is quite effective in discouraging new growth of leaf miners. Hope I can sort it out. This the mosquito bug by the way just in case you know what it is.

Thumbnail by vanita79
Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

Answer 1. the reason I BURN the foliage that has been affected by these pests and any others is, it is a sure way of preventing the bugs hatching out and continuing the life cycle of the bugs, when you throw the leaf away, the bug is within the leaf, it hatches out and goes on to lay it's eggs on either your plants or next doors LOL. burning is best way to rid the plants but others maybe do different ways to manage the problem.

As Diane has mentioned, these bugs are NOT around all year long, they each have their own mating / laying of egg's times and nature has made it that these and other bugs will mate and lay eggs when the temp is right, when the host plants are in full leaf and where there worst enemies (predators ) are least likely to be around so nature is wonderful for some but for other (us humans who garden) it can be a nightmare LOL.

As for your mosquito's, as far as I know, ALL mosquito's like stagnant or un-fresh water, they lay their eggs close to a puddle or old barrel of water unused, the larva lives in this bowl, barrel, pond or whatever of stagnant water and IF any other pond life like fish, toads, frogs or birds don't eat them up, they form their wings to fly off and feed on blood from animals, humans ect, so I cant think of any Mosquito that would lay eggs on the underside of leaves unless it was a water plant living in or by water. maybe look for green / white flies, they love tomato plants as they munch on the soft plant material, or spider mites, they all love the underside areas to hide the eggs.
Hope this is a bit helpful, don't cut off ALL the foliage, I would just remove the leaves, give a tomato feed (read dosage on bottle or make your own plant feed, By removing some leaves, new ones will emerge within a couple of weeks, the plant needs the stems you are removing, these stems take the water / feed up to the fruits.
Good luck and best Regards. WeeNel.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

In your picture of the mosquito, are those long things out the back extended legs? Or are they sort of like a long tail?

Mosquitos that I am familiar with do not have a long tail like that, but they are agile enough that in a picture their long legs might do that.

Ditto WeeNell: Mosquitos are water critters, do not lay eggs on plants in the air.
Can you post some pictures of the eggs?

dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hi Diana,

The mosquito is actually the mayfly with a tail. I've read a bit about them this morning, amazing creatures. These are the same ones in my balconey. There were probably a million resting on the walls. I broomed out so many and most of them were dead. That describes the mayfly with the short lifespan. What puzzles me is that there is no pond or lake in my area. There is an artficial lake a few kilometers away though but not in the community where I live. I wonder what attracted so many to my balconey this year, I have never seen so many in the last five years that I lived here nnor much in this country. But then we don't get many opportunities to connect to nature in this part of the world anyways. Its all buildings, sand and a lot of palm trees. I guess the advantages of living in the greenest part of the city are showing up.

They are attracted to the light. And I realised why I saw a few dead on my strawberry seedling bed only. They feed on algae (I wonder how as they dont have a mouth) and the soil seemed slighly greenish there, just hope they havent layed eggs in the soil's moisture.

So, going back to my tomato plant, I still havent seen who is laying the eggs but heres a picture of one badly affected leaf. I think it should go today.

Thumbnail by vanita79
Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Glad you were able to figure out what the bug is. Sure is a puzzle, if there is no water nearby.

I am not sure I see Leaf Miner damage on that tomato leaf. The first picture is classic: those white tracks are from leaf miners.

dubai, United Arab Emirates

Yes, the first picture I took of a damaged leaf damaged by leaf miner but before this started I had noticed these white dots and spots under the leaf which I presume are eggs of some bugs. I actually sprayed the leaves with garlic spray to discouragethe insects and the leaf miner problem started. Now I'm not sure whose leaving these white things below the leaf nor am I sure if the leaf miners started from these eggs.

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