Leaf miner in tomato: One of the most invasive pests

Leaf miner in tomato
Leaf miner in tomato

This blog carries information about the interesting facts about tomato leaf miner its symptoms and precautionary actions.

The tomato leaf miner is one of the most destructive and invasive pests that attack tomato crops globally. Tomato leaf miner is found in nations throughout Asia, North Africa, and Europe. It affects production in both closed and open fields and expands quickly. This insect pest has caused a significant loss in productivity recently in several tomato-growing districts of India. In India, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh have all reported tomato leaf miner infestations. 

Farmers experienced severe difficulties in 2019 as the deadly pest spread to Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh.

Leaf miner is one of the most significant biotic restrictions for tomato production and, if unchecked, might result in a production loss of up to 100%. The leaf miner has four rapidly growing developmental stages: egg, larval, pupa, and adult. The most destructive stage of these larvae affects the fruit, leaves, and stem.

Tomato leafminer damage

How can you recognize a leaf miner in tomato fields?

Although numerous varieties of leaf miners exist, their appearances and plant damage are often the same. Leaf miners are often unremarkable black flies. The flies do not directly harm the plant; rather, the issues are brought on by the insects’ larvae. The leaf miner damage typically appears as yellow, wavy lines in the leaves. 

The leaf miner larva practically bore its way through the leaf. Spots or blotches might also be a result of leaf miner damage.

Stage-wise identification of leaf miner

Growth stages of tomato leafminer
Stage Pest 
LarvaTiny orange, yellowish apodous maggots.
PupaInside mines, yellowish-brown pupates.
AdultA light yellow colour.


Plants are harmed both directly and indirectly by leaf miners. The most immediate damage caused by leaf miners is:

  • Leaflets with irregularly shaped mines that turn white to gray and then turn necrotic
  • Huge holes and galleries in stems are seen.
  • Impeded growth.
  • Adults are silvery brown and 5-7 mm long.

Any crop component can get infested at any time during the crop cycle. The larvae prefer apical buds, tender young leaflets, and flowers. The larvae create uneven, gray-to-white leaf mines on leaves that could eventually turn necrotic. Plant growth may be impacted by the larvae’s potential to burrow galleries through stems.

Fundamental precautionary measures

  • Invest in pest-free transplants.
  • Use pheromone traps to keep an eye on your field and catch the adults in large numbers.
  • Damaged plants and plant parts should be removed and destroyed.
  • In and around the field, control alternate host plants.
  • Infested plants should be removed and destroyed after harvest.
  • Wait six weeks before sowing the next crop to avoid a carryover from the previous harvest.
  • Utilize extensive crop rotation.
  • Deep ploughing and weed removal are advised since crop remains could act as sources of inoculums.
  • In the fields, parasitoids like Chrysonotomyia frequently offer efficient control of this pest.
  • Placing 100 yellow sticky traps per acre will draw and kill adult flies.
  • Use botanical sprays like neem seed kernel extract and neem oil emulsion.
  • A readily available helpful pest that will eliminate leafminer larva in the mine is the parasitic wasp Diglyphus isaea.

Why are leaf miners in tomatoes difficult to eradicate?

Leaf miners are tough to eradicate since they dwell inside the leaves of your plants. Spraying your plants with contact insecticides will not work because it simply coats the outside of the leaves. Systemic insecticides can be used to eradicate leaf miners. Still, the problem with them is that the chemicals present in systemic insecticides are either restricted in some regions or cannot be used on edible plants.

Fortunately, a few preventative measures can help keep these pests out of your fields.

Leaf miner symptoms on tomato leaves

How can Fasal assist?

  • Fasal is a full-stack platform for modern horticulture farming. It is a farm-level, AI-powered technology that aids farmers in increasing their profits.
  • Fasal technology aims to establish a pest warning model for the horticulture industry utilizing a cutting-edge framework that uses sensors to measure the field’s real-time climatic conditions. 
  • When the conditions are right for the occurrence of pests like leaf miners on the farmer’s farm, measured data is uploaded through the cloud to a central server, and a warning message is issued to the farmer.
  • The Fasal System significantly lowers the cost of pesticides by warning of pests and diseases and recommending preventative treatments only when necessary.
  • Fasal System regularly monitors farm microclimates, alerting farmers when pest infestations like leaf miners are most likely to occur.
  • You can also regulate each stage of your crop’s growth more effectively with the help of the Fasal System. This not only produces crops of high quality but also increases productivity.

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