Celery leaf mining fly

The maggots of celery leaf mining fly feed within the leaves of celery, celeriac and related plants. Damaged areas dry up and can give the appearance of scorched foliage. 

Celery leaf miner (<EM>Euleia heraclei</EM>) on celery

Quick facts

Common name Celery leaf mining fly
Latin name Euleia heraclei
Plants affected Celery, parsnips, celeriac, parsley, lovage and related wild flowers
Main symptoms Blotchy mined leaves that become brown and papery
Caused by Larvae of a fly
Timing May to October
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What is celery leaf mining fly?

Adult celery leaf mining flies are light brown to black flies, with a yellow thorax, they are approximately 5mm long. The larvae are white, legless and headless maggots that feed in groups within the leaves of celery and related plants. The larvae reach 7mm in length.

Symptoms

The maggots of this fly form communal mines in the leaves. Damaged areas at first appear as large, pale green blotches which soon dry up and become brown and papery. This gives the foliage the appearance of having been scorched.  Parsnips, celeriac, parsley, lovage and related wild flowers are similarly damaged by this insect.

There are at least two generations during the year and mining occurs between early May and the autumn. The first generation is generally less numerous than the second, but it can cause a serious check to growth. This may result in small celery plants with a bitter taste. When the grubs have finished feeding, some pupate in the mines while others pupate in the soil.

Control

There are a number of cultural (non-chemical) remedies for the home gardener;

  • Burn or bury deeply infested leaves at the end of the growing season to destroy some of the overwintering pupae
  • Susceptible plants should be checked regularly during the summer for early signs of damage
  • There are no pesticides approved for the control of leaf miners on celery and other host plants of this fly
  • Growing the plants under insect proof mesh will prevent female flies laying eggs on the foliage. Crop rotation must be practised in conjunction with this method, otherwise adult flies may emerge from overwintered pupae in the soil and be trapped under the netting
  • On uncovered plants control has to be limited to pinching out infested parts of the leaves
  • Infestations that start late in the growing season are unlikely to cause serious harm and control measures may not be necessary at that time

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