Liriomyza trifolii

Preferred Scientific Name: Liriomyza trifolii

Commonly known as the serpentine leafminer, Liriomyza trifolii is a major pest of ornamental and vegetable crops. 

Read more Down

Why is it a problem?

Liriomyza trifolii is a major pest of ornamental and vegetable crops. It has caused considerable crop losses and loss of overseas markets due to quarantine requirements in parts of East Africa.


  • Loss of crops
  • Kills host plant 
  • Negatively impacts livelihoods

What’s the solution? 

Physical control

Research has shown that yellow sticky traps (YSTs) were the most effective colour traps, in attracting adult leafminers. The study showed that the average percentage of damaged leaves and damage severity was significantly lower in fields with YTSs, 50 days after they had been introduced. 

Chemical control

Some insecticides can be used to control Liriomyza trifolii, to varying effectiveness. Studies have shown that the leafminer can develop resistance to an insecticide within 2-4 years. Effective control by using insecticides can be achieved through rotating the type used and modes of action. 

Biological control

Natural enemies periodically suppress leaf-miner populations. Parasitoids, and to a lesser extent to nematodes, bacteria and fungi, are used for biological control of leafminers. Extensive global research has reported more than 150 species of parasitoids associated with Liriomyza trifolii. Of these, Neochrysocharis formosa was indicated as being the most promising biocontrol agent. 


Fact file

Name Liriomyza trifolii


Asia, Africa, Americas and Caribbean, Europe and Oceania

For more information on distribution, view the full datasheet available here


Cereal crops, warm conditions

Natural enemies

A variety of parasitic wasps (Hymenoptera), which could be used at potential biocontrol agents


Resistant to control method, spreads rapidly

Likelihood of entry

Accidental introduction via transportation of host plant



Pest Type


Further reading

Visit our online resource of research and full text articles and journals
Invasive Species Compendium

More invasive species

More Species