This is a catch all name for certain moth, beetle, and fly larvae that tunnel between the upper and lower surfaces of leaves, ruining crops of leafy vegetables and disfiguring ornamental plants. Each species produces a characteristic pattern of winding trails or blotches, but specific identification of the guilty party isn’t usually required for successful control. On vegetables, the most common leaf miners are the larvae of tiny black flies with yellow markings.
Target: Vegetables and many other plants.
Damage: Leaves are marred; infested seedlings may be stunted or killed.
Life cycle: Adults lay eggs just under the leaf surface. Larvae hatch and tunnel through the leaf, then drop to the soil or another protected place to pupate. There are usually several generations each year.
Notes: Plastic mulch prevents larvae from reaching the soil to pupate and exposes them to predators.