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Azalea Leafminer (Caloptilia azaleella)

Plant with leaves damaged by leafminers

Adult moths (A) are about 3/8 inch long with wings folded. They are yellowish brown with purple markings on the wings and stand at a 60 angle when at rest. Mature larvae (B) are about ½ inch long and yellowish brown. There are two generations a year. Pupae overwinter in leaf mines (tunnels the larvae create when they feed on tissue between leaf surfaces). Look for blotch mines in April or May. Curled leaf tips in June indicate completion of the first generation. Second generation blotch mines begin in July. Shake plants in late June and August to make adults fly and to estimate their numbers. Since larvae of this pest feed in leaf mines or in curled leaves, systemic insecticides are preferred. Treat in May if numerous developing blotch mines are observed. Evaluate the second generation in July and retreat if needed.