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Vegetable IPM Updates Archive
Cooperative Extension
Leafminer Management on Spring Melons (March 30, 2016)
Now that the produce season is winding down and melon production is well under way, PCAs should be thinking about leafminers on their spring cantaloupes, honeydews and watermelons. As temperatures continue to increase, the threat from leafminers also increases. Our area-wide monitoring network for most of the season has shown that leafminer numbers have been very light, however trap catches this past week showed last that leafminer adults were quite active based on trap counts. Interesting in many trap locations, both Liromyza sativae and L. trifolii were found on traps. This is significant because L. trifolii is typically more difficult to control than L. sativae. Leafminers can cause significant economic damage to melon plants, particularly on late spring and summer crops. Mining of leaves by the larvae can cause direct injury to seedling plants by removing chlorophyl and reducing the plants photosynthetic capacity. Mines and feeding punctures can also produce an entrance for pathogenic organisms. Excessive leaf mining in older plants can cause leaves to dry and defoliate, resulting in sun burning of fruit and reduction in yield and quality. In severe infestations, leafmining may cause plant death, particularly to seedlings or transplant watermelons. Damage to mature plants can occur when attempting to hold the crop longer for extended harvests. The good news is that a number of insecticide products are available that can effectively control both leafminer species. The most effective products are those that work via tranlaminar activity and can penetrate the leaf surface where they contact or are ingested by the developing larvae. These include Radiant (5-7 oz/ac), Coragen (5-7 oz/ac), Voliam Xpress (9 oz/ac), Exirel (15-20 oz/ac), and Agri-Mek SC (3.0 oz) that can effectively kill newly emerged larvae in the leaf mines before they cause significant damage. Because these products are selective, they have minimal impact on natural enemies that can help suppress leafminer populations. It is recommended that a penetrating adjuvant be added to these products to enhance translaminar movement of the product and larval control. For more information on leafminer biology and management please go to Leafminer Management on Desert Vegetables.

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