Friday, June 20, 2008

Leafminers- artists of the natural world

I've been getting several questions about leafminers lately and what can be done about them so I thought I'd post something for those who haven't asked or just want to know.

Leafminers are the larvae of flies, wasps, moths or beetles that feed between the top and bottom leaf layers. The larval feeding creates a pattern in the leaf tissue that can often be used to categorize the leafminers (i.e. serpentine vs. blotch). Some leafminers pupate within the leaf while others emerge from the leaf to pupate in the ground.

Leafminer damage is rarely abundant enough to cause plant damage. Some consider it unsightly while others may step back and admire the art that is being created right before their eyes. Damage may occur on vegetables or various ornamental plants. Often when damage is on ornamental plants and some vegetables, it is considered merely cosmetic, but when damage is on crops such as spinach or swiss chard it is considered crop damage since the edible part is being damaged.

Typically, leafminers do not need to be managed. If you choose to do something about your leafminers, remember you need to either treat the egg stage or use a systemic to get inside the plant tissue. Be careful of applying systemic products to plants that will be consumed- read the label to see if you can treat the plant you want and also check how many days you need to wait before harvesting. If I choose to do something about leafminers on my plants, which isn't very often....I think their patterns are rather pretty, I'll pick off the infested leaves and dispose of them. A rather simple, no chemical approach, but it works.

This week with BB......

BB weighs almost a pound now and has eyebrows- how exciting! One site I was reading said that other people should be able to feel the baby moving around this week- that's been going on for almost a month now. We're starting to see when BB is moving which is a bit creepy to see my tummy boof out suddenly. BB gets especially wiggly when Alan reads to him/ her at night. All in all, things are progressing wonderfully although putting on my socks and shoes in the morning is becoming a real chore. I'm either going to have to recruit Alan for help or switch to flip flops!

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