Vegetable Pests

NISAW Day 1: A Tale of Two Troubles

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NISAW Logo - National Invasive Species Awareness Week

NISAW Day 1: Vegetable Pests

A Tale of Two Troubles


About five years ago, a small smattering of reports were made of leek moth in Somerset County and Swede midge in Franklin County. These tiny insects originate from Europe, and first showed up in the U.S. in New York in 2009 and 2004, respectively.

The leek moth caterpillar attacks leeks and other plants in the onion family. Swede midge, named for the U.K. term for rutabaga, is a small fly whose larval stage, the midge, attacks broccoli, cabbage, canola, kale, mustard, and other plants in the same family. Both pests are troublesome to these commonly grown Maine crops, and early detection is key to successful management.

If you grow allium or brassica crops, be aware that these new invaders are in the state. Learn to recognize signs of their presence. MOFGA has created pest alert resources for these pests with images of damage.

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