Bugs on vegetable plants

Asked June 13, 2018, 3:12 PM EDT

Hi, I have planted a few vegetables in my backyard and have noticed that most of the plants have some kind of a bug related bite on the leaves and in the case of the spinach plants - some sort fo stain as well. i have attached the photos. Can you get back to me at and let me know what I can do to stop or limit the damage?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

What you are seeing on your spinach is actually a common pest called the spinach leafminer. They actually feed between the leaf surfaces. You can pinch out those leaves or squish them in their tunnels if they are still in there.
They are usually controlled by beneficial insects in our gardens, but if you use pesticides, you often kill beneficials as well as the pests you may be targeting. Here is our page about the spinach leafminer:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/leafminer-vegetables

And here is our growing page for spinach:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/learn/spinach

Your first photo is out of focus, but we think that the leaf damage/hole is probably environmental and not to worry. There is a black dot that we can't see any detail of. Okra can get be munched on by flea beetles. Here is our Okra page: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/plants/okra
and here is our vegetable insect page so you can keep an eye out for them:
http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/learn/insect-pests-vegetables

The large holes on edges of leaves were likely made by pests that have moved on. The bug in your photo would make the smaller holes and we think that is an Amaranth-pigweed flea beetle.
With care, your plants may recover, but it is not too late to plant more as well.

In the future we suggest the use of floating row covers. Here is our page about them: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/floating-row-cover

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