Leek growers beware! An Audlem resident, being very fond of that versatile vegetable the leek, recently asked her husband to dig up a couple from the garden to add to that night's dinner (the first dug this season). Upon preparing them she found them to be fairly puny specimens with what appeared to be tiny mine shafts extending down the length of the leek, thus rendering them unusable.
Having grown leeks in a variety of gardens for several years, and experiencing no pests or diseases, our resident was extremely disappointed, to say the least, and felt it required further investigation. In these 'mine shafts' were brown, rice like grains which under a magnifying glass looked like pupae of some sort.
None of the gardening books in the house had any mention of these and so she turned to the web and found that this particular pest, although widespread in Europe, was first discovered in England in 2003 in a garden in Wolverhampton and that DEFRA were interested in mapping its progress.
She phoned DEFRA and they sent out an inspector who took a few specimens away with him for identification. Today she received confirmation that her identification was correct. Audlem is a new and the most northerly location reported so far.
The pest is known as Phytomyza gymnostoma (Allium Leaf Miner) – more information including pictures and possible control measures can be found on the DEFRA website at www.defra.gov.uk (The website link that was here no longer works)
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