Leaf miners - do I abandon plants or bring them?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Maedin Tureaud, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Maedin Tureaud

    Maedin Tureaud Active Member

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    Hi, I spent a fair amount of time and money (for me at least) making a variety of planters for my garden. It was a rental house so I wanted to be able to move them when necessary.

    Now we’ve bought a house and as I went to move them, I noticed that they have littered their leaf miner dust everywhere (see pic). They were in this location for about two days so I assume the infestation is quite heavy.

    Over the past year I’d had problems with leaf miners indoors - they’d decimated my basil plants, for example, and a dendrobium.

    I don’t want to “bring the problem” with me to my new house. I was hoping I wouldn’t struggle with leaf miners there though that’s probably wishful thinking. On the other hand, I don’t really want to abandon the effort and money I made on the pots. Also I’m quite attached to some of the plants as I’d nurtured them over the spring and summer.

    What are the ramifications of taking them? Will I be perpetuating a problem?

    I only have three more days to decide as then I’ll no longer have access to this property.

    Thanks for any help.
     

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  2. Margot

    Margot Active Member

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    Are you sure that it is leaf miners you are dealing with? Could it be something else like aphids?
     
  3. Maedin Tureaud

    Maedin Tureaud Active Member

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    If I look closely I can see the worms on the leaves of the affected plants–definitely not aphids.

    They are so so tiny though, I don't know how I could possibly control them by sight.

    By the way, I live in Ireland. And my new home is only 20 minutes from my old one.
     
  4. Margot

    Margot Active Member

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    I know time is running out for you to make a decision about whether to bring plants with you to your new home. If the problem is leaf miners, I'd say 'don't worry' because leaf miners are usually quite easy to live with or control.

    What you describe does not sound like leaf miners to me. For one thing, they do not leave 'dust' everywhere. Three common insects that do produce such excretions are aphids (which you've ruled out), whitefly and scale - maybe others I don't know about. The larval stage of leaf miner is spent tunnelling within the leaf itself so their poop stays within the leaf. However neither aphids, whitefly nor scale have a stage in their life cycle that looks like a worm.

    You need a proper identification of the pest involved before deciding if it is treatable or serious enough to abandon the plants. Is there a garden centre nearby you could take a sample (in a plastic bag) to show to an expert?
     
  5. Maedin Tureaud

    Maedin Tureaud Active Member

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    My local garden centre could not identify the pests (not leaf miners, and their best guess was moth larvae), but they did say that my home is too close to my old home for it to make any difference. Better to bring the plants with me and treat for the insects than to leave them behind, make new pots, and end up with the same problem anyway.

    Thanks for your help, Margot!
     

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