Azaleas are flowering shrubs in the rhododendron family. They have shallow roots, evergreen or deciduous leaves and showy flowers. Azaleas are the only known host azalea leaf miner larvae (Caloptilia azaleella) from 2011. These pests can cause serious damage to greenhouse-grown azaleas and are difficult to control once established.
Adult azalea leafminers are golden or yellowish moths with half-inch wingspan and purple markings. They spend most of their lives hidden in azalea leaves. Adult females lay one to five eggs along the midrib on the lower surfaces of the azalea leaves. The eggs hatch within a week and eventually mature into half-inch-long caterpillar with yellow, segmented body. Azalea leafminers produce between two and four or more generations per year depending on their geographical location and environment.
Damage and impact
Leafminer larvae bore into the paper after leaving the eggs. They create small bubbles on the lower surfaces of the leaves. The area around the building is brown and bubbles. Since the insect pest matures leaves the mine and travels along the upper surface of the sheet, wrapping the sheet around his body with silk or binding sheets to feed on the foliage. The damaged leaves often yellow and fall from the plant.
GW Dekle of the University of Florida finds that leafminers easier to control right after they hatch from the eggs and begin to feed. Older leafminers curl up inside the leaves, which protects them from chemical sprays. Apply chemical sprays, permethrin, cyfluthrin or pyrethroids are once appeared the first moths or their larvae, or if the damage becomes obvious. Use of chemical insecticides is from 1 to 2-week intervals will usually eliminate the insects.
Several parasitic wasps in the family to feed Sympiesis azalea leafminer larvae. They inject their ovipositor, or egg laying part by the mined area in the sheet and lay their eggs on the larvae. These insects are commercially available to help control the leafminer population. You can also control leafminers included by hand-picking and removing the larvae of azalea plants or by trimming the branches, the leaf miners. In addition, some azaleas are planted resistant to the leaf miner attacks.