What is a boxwood leafminer?


Quick Answer

Boxwood leafminers are 1/8-inch-long, orange flies that are often called gall midges. They and their larvae are one of the most invasive pests of boxwood shrubs and trees. The leafminers prefer the American varieties, though all boxwood varieties are susceptible to attack unless the plants are bred for resistance.

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Full Answer

Adult flies emerge in the spring, lay eggs on newly formed boxwood leaves and then die. The larvae, which are tiny yellow maggots, feed on the leaves throughout the summer months, causing blisters and discoloration on the leaves. The larvae use the blisters as shelter for the winter months. In spring, the cycle repeats. Pruning to remove infected branches, applying insecticides and encouraging natural predators, such as spiders or green lacewings, can help keep boxwood leafminer invasions under control.

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