University of Maryland Extension

Leafminers - Trees and Shrubs

Leafminer damage

Key Points

  • Leafminers feed on leaf tissue between the upper and lower surfaces of a leaf.
  • They may be the immature stages of moths (caterpillars), beetles, flies, or sawflies.
  • Most cause little damage. Several are pests of shade trees. These include the holly leafminers, locust leafminer.
  • Birch leafminer rarely attacks black, yellow, or river birch (the birch commonly planted in Maryland).
  • Oak blotch leafminer (native moth) attacks scrub, post, black, red and white oaks.
  • The larvae (caterpillars) feed just below the upper surface of the leaf, causing irregular brown blotch mines.
  • These are minor pests and control is usually unnecessary.

birch leafminer damage on leavesbirch leafminer adult
Birch leafminer damage                           Birch leafminer adult

larval stage of birch leafmineroakblotch leaminer
Closeup of birch leafminer larvae        Oak blotch leafminer damage

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