Citrus Leaf Miners

Annoying little critters aren’t they?  You can see their telltale trails on the leaves below:

Although I don’t tend to get other leaf miners, my citrus are frequently attacked by citrus leaf miners.  The general consensus seems to be that they are relatively harmless and that they shouldn’t really inhibit cropping, and/or growth unless your plants are really young.  Whilst I think that’s probably true my plants are fairly young so I would quite like to keep them at bay a bit more than I have managed to date.  Equally while I don’t mind them disfiguring the citrus I grow for fruit I do like my Kaffir Lime leaves to be bug free.

I decided to try an oil based approach to keeping them at bay.  I mixed together equal parts sunflower oil, washing up liquid and water and then sprayed it onto the leaves.  The plan is to respray fortnightly and monitor results.  I will be interesting to see if it works.  One thing I have noticed though is that spraying it on may have damaged the very juvenile leaves on my cumquat which is somewhat annoying, especially as the leaf miners aren’t particularly active at the moment.  Of course it may be the cool weather which harmed the leaves but I’m not too sure.  Anyone had issues using a similar concoction on their citrus leaves?

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10 Responses to Citrus Leaf Miners

  1. Isn’t it annoying that everything seems to have it’s own special pest!

  2. Louise says:

    I don’t currently treat my miners and my trees seem to be productive despite their ugly leaves. I still have a massive lemon crop. But I am interested in seeing how your treatment goes. I find I have so much more trouble with the stink bugs than the leaf miners who do seem to have a very negative impact on the plant.

  3. Frogdancer says:

    I’ll be interested to see how you go. A lime, lemon and mandarin (all close together) have this at my place and I wasn’t too sure whether to leave it or not.

  4. Tracey says:

    Are you removing the affected leaves to get rid of the larvae? Or if your trees are very small and can’t spare the leaves maybe just squish the little buggers in situ? Otherwise they’ll emerge as adults and lay more eggs. Also, I’m unsure how effective oil will be against the adults unless they’re actually sitting on the leaves at the time of spraying. I thought it was primarily a contact insecticide. Or does it also have a repellent effect on this moth?

    • Liz says:

      I like the removal idea – that sounds good and do-able. The idea behind the oil is that it makes the surface of the leaf slippery and so the bugs can’t get a purchase on the leaves. Basically it is preventative rather than killing the bugs that are already there.

  5. mac says:

    Ugh, they are annoying, I get them on my lettuce and other leafy greens, I had to pull all my water spinach this summer because of them.

  6. I get them too on my kaffir lime, didn’t know what it was.

  7. We’ve mostly had trouble with leaf miners on a perpetual sorrel plant I’m trying to get established, and have been too distracted by the rest of the garden to do anything about it. Maybe insecticidal soap, which is oily, would also work against them?

    • Liz says:

      That’s interesting they haven’t touched my sorrel – but I think I’ve just got the citrus sort. I like the idea of the insecticidal soap I think it could be worth a go.

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