Leaf Miner of Bougainvillea

Disease Information

Leaf Miner

Symptomsand damage

Leaf miner feed by creating shallow tunnels, or mines, in young leaves of bougainvillea bushes. Leaf miners have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and the adult moth. Adults do not damage plants and live only 1 to 2 weeks. Eggs hatch about 1 week after being laid by the adult moth. The newly emerged larvae immediately begin feeding in the leaf and initially produce tiny, nearly invisible, mines. As the larva grows, its serpentine path of mines becomes more noticeable. Numerous mine like paths traversing the leaves of bougainvillea plants, the adults are virtually undetectable.

Leaf miners can survive as a larva only in the tender, young, shiny leaf flush of bougainvillea. Older leaves that have hardened off are not susceptible unless extremely high populations are present. The larvae mine inside the lower or upper surface of newly emerging leaves cause them to curl and look distorted. The leaves never recover from this distortion and make the plant look unsightly given a heavy infestation.


When the first sign of leaf miner assault becomes evident, you can soak the leaves with neem or a nicotine spray. However, when you notice the damage, it is already very late to take curative actions. Nevertheless, you should immediately remove the affected leaves and clear the area beneath the shrubs of all leaves and debris during the fall with a view to protect the plants from being infected again. In fact, the damage caused by lilac leaf miners is more aesthetic compared to physiological. S. vulgaris or the common lilac is most vulnerable to invasion by leaf miners.

Examples of Insecticides (AcephateCyfluthrin – Imidacloprid- Insecticidal Soap )


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