The Most Common Plague in Citrus: The Leaf Miner
When we face a pest we always use products that can destroy it by applying them directly to the insect in question, but that is only valid if the pest is at a glance or outside the plant.
What happens when a pest is inside a plant? The citrus leaf miner is one of these pest insects that is a bit more complicated to combat. Find out what it is and how it acts and, most importantly, how to eliminate it.
What is the miner?
The citrus miner is a Lepidoptera insect whose scientific name is Phyllocnistis citrella. It has its origin in South Asia and causes its damage mainly in the different citrus species such as orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, and so on.
They usually live in young leaves under the cuticle, from where they protect themselves and feed on the sap of plants. One of the main damages it causes, apart from destroying the leaves, is preventing the correct development of the trees.
It has caused great damage, such as the serious plague that hit the Mediterranean basin in 1993 and still leaves its mark on Malaga.
How to identify the plague of the miner?
When it comes to knowing if the citrus miner is among your trees, it is very easy as long as we have controlled the leaves and take a look from time to time.
The best way to identify their presence is to look for a kind of path in the leaves, usually lighter in color than these, which indicate that an insect has pierced the leaves or fruits.
Remember that you cannot expect to see the insect itself since it is inside the leaves and not walking on the surface of the leaves.
Citrus Miner Control
The problem of this insect lies in the place where it is found, so for many years, it has been a very difficult pest to combat, since traditional insecticides and pesticides do not usually work with it.
Therefore, it is important that you know this pest well and discovers some methods to eliminate the citrus leaf miner:
- In case only a few leaves are affected in your tree, the ideal is to tear them away and get rid of them.
- The most common way to end this pest is through biological control. Letting nature act, or rather, helping it to do so, has always been the best remedy against this plague of a citrus miner. The Dacnusa sibirica wasp is the natural predator of this pest, so attracting it to crops is a good option.
- The neem oil, including insecticides, is the best way to make the leafminer and other insects away from the plant. This bitter oil sap, so insects will not be attracted to it.
- On the other hand, Bacillus thuringiensis is one of the most used treatments since it is one of the most effective methods of biological control of pests. It is a bacterium that feeds on caterpillars.
- As a method of physical control, we can use the chromatic yellow traps. The bright tone of this color is very attractive to the miners, so it will be easy to catch them with them.
- Finally, this advice is always to use both to eliminate and to prevent this and any other plague. Eliminate weeds every time they leave, since the weeds around citrus and any other plant can house and shelter the miners during the day so that when everything is calm they go out to feed and damage the plant.