Crop Knowledge Master

Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess)

Celery Leafminer
Hosts Distribution Damage Biology Behavior Management Reference


Ronald F.L. Mau, Extension Entomologist

Jayma L. Martin Kessing, Educational Specialist

Department of Entomology

Honolulu, Hawaii

Updated by: J.M. Diez April 2007


Over 47 genera in ten families have been recorded as hosts to the celery leafminer. Attacked crops include: bean, carrot, celery, Chinese wax gourd, chives, cucumber, edible gourds, eggplant, Hibiscus, hyotan, lettuce, onion, pea, pepper, potato, pumpkin, spinach, squash, togan, tomato, and watermelon. In Hawaii, the celery leafminer is a major pest of solanaceous and curcurbit crops. This leafminer also attacks ornamental crops and is a serious pest of chrysanthemum.


Native to the Americas, this insect is widespread over North, South, and Central America. Having a very cosmopolitan distribution, it is present in Ethiopia, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Marianas, Philippines, Senegal, Western and American Samoa, South Africa and Tanzania. It was first recorded on Oahu in 1978, it has since been found on all inhabited islands.


The larval leaf mine vary in form depending on the host but when adequate space is available the mine is long, narrow and not greatly widening towards the end. Larval mines in small leaves with limited feeding space is characterized by a secondary blotch. Damage caused by a single larva is minimal, however when large populations are present they are capable of destroying leaves and affecting the growth of plants.


The average period of the life cycle of the celery leafminer is 21 days, but can be as short as 15 days. The length of the life cycle varies with host and temperature.


Eggs are laid singly in punctures in the leaf epidermis. There is no preference for upper or lower surface. The freshly laid eggs are creamy white and shaped like an elongated oval. The eggs are small, 1/100 inch in length, and hatch 2-4 days.


The maggots are bright yellow to yellow green in color, measuring 1/6 inch in length and 1/50 inch in breadth. There are three larval stages. Each larval instar is completed in 2 - 3 days.


The pupal stage is yellow-brown in color and distinctly segmented. Pupae are rectangular oval shaped narrowing at the ends. This stage does no feeding damage and development is completed in 5 to 12 days.


This adult is a small fly of mat gray with black and yellow splotches and about 1/12 inch of length. Adults live for 10-20 days depending on environmental conditions.


The first larval stage of the vegetable leafminer burrows into the mesophyl tissue. The second stage also feeds in the mesophyl tissue. The third stage larva concentrates its feeding towards the upper leaf surface. When it is mature, it cuts a longitudinal slit in the leaf and leaves to pupate on the leaf surface or on the ground.


The celery leafminer is resistant to most insecticides. Natural enemies are quite effective in controlling the pest on most crops.


An integrated pest management program successfully controls leafminer populations in watermelon. These programs utilizes conservation of natural enemies as the main control tactic. Insecticide application to control secondary pests is made infrequently (Johnson, 1987).

Biological Control

Several parasites for this insect have been recorded in Hawaii, they include Chrysonotomyia punctiventris (Crawford), Ganaspidium hunteri (Crawford), Opius dissitus Muesebeck, Chrysocharis parksi Crawford, Chrysonotomyia formosa (Crawford), Hemitarsenus semialbiclavus (Girault), Diglypus begini (Ashmead), Diglyphus intermedius (Girault), Cothonapsis pacifica Yoshimoto, and Haliticoptera circulus (Walker). C. punctiventris, H. circulus and G. hunteri have been found to be predominant parasites (Lynch, 1986; Johnson, 1987).


Cyromazine (Trigard) and abamectin (Avid) are effective against this leafminer pest. Both of the insecticide products have limited crop registrations and must not be used on unregistered crops.

The pest is highly resistant to most other insecticides. Application of ineffective insecticides to control the celery leafminer is futile. It usually results in a larger leafminer problem in the pesticide reduces field densities of leafminer parasites.

There are no listings for Trigard and Avid as of April 2007.


Dimetry, N. Z. 1971. Biological Studies on a Leaf Mining Diptera, Liriomyza trifolii Burgess Attacking Beans in Egypt. Bull. Soc. ent. Egypte. 55: 55-69.

Gareth, W. M. and M. B. Isger. 1985. Effects of Temperature on the Development of Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Bull. Ent. Res. 75: 321-328.

Hara, A. H. 1986. Effects of Certain Insecticides on Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) and its Parasitoids on Chrysanthemums in Hawaii. Proc. Hawaiian Entomol. Soc. 26: 65-70.

Johnson, M. W. 1987. Parasitization of Liriomyza spp. (Diptera: Agromyzidae) Infesting Commercial Watermelon Plantings in Hawaii. J. Econ. Entomol. 80(1): 56-61.

Leibee, G. L. 1984. Influence of Temperature on Development and Fecundity of Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess) (Diptera: Agromyzidae) on Celery. Environ. Entomol. 13(2): 497-501.

Lynch, J. A. 1986. Distribution of Liriomyza Leafminers and Associated Hymenopterous Parasites on Watermelon in Hawaii. M.S. Thesis. Department of Entomology, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Oatman, E. R. 1959. Natural Control Studies of the Melon Leaf Miner, Liriomyza pictella (Thomson) (Diptera: Agromyzidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 51: 557-566.

Robin, M. R. 1983. Sampling the Leafminers Liriomyza sativae Blanchard and Liriomyza trifolii Burgess (Diptera: Agromyzidae) and Their Associated Hymenopterous Parasites in Watermelon. M.S. Thesis. Department of Entomology, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Spencer, K. A. 1973. Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess, 1880. pp. 226-229. In Agromyzidae (Diptera) of Economic Importance. Dr. W. Junk B.V., The Hague. 418 pages.

Waterhouse, D. F. and K. R. Norris eds. 1987. Chapter 21: Liriomyza species, Diptera: Agromyzidae, Leafminers. pp. 159-176. In Biological Control, Pacific Prospects. Inkata Press, Melbourne. 754 pages.





Back To:

Crop Master Menu

Knowledge Master Home

Pest Search