Shortly after adding two flats of baby leeks to our vegetable garden, the phone rang and my mother burst my vichyssoise bubble.
“Did you read about the leek moths?” my mother asked dramatically.
“Leek moths,” she repeated as if I should know what she was talking about.
“No. Just finished planting my leeks though…”
She summarized the article she’d just read in the The Valley News about an invasive moth species recently spotted in Essex County.
Anita Deming of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Westport reported to members of the Economic Development, Planning and Publicity Committee June 11 that they had found the first reported case of leek moths in Essex County… Leek moths are an invasive species which live off of plants like onions, garlic, leeks and chives. (The Valley News)
Jolly news to reward back-aching gardeners and local farmers. Just finished penciling in your last leeks? Just finished thinning and transplanting your chives? Bad luck!
Although I didn’t grow garlic or onions this year, we planted plenty of leeks and we have an approximately 3’x6′ area of our herb garden dedicated to perennial chives. I’m crossing my fingers that we’ll get lucky or discover a non-toxic means of combating the leek moths.
But Deming isn’t offering much room for optimism.
“The larvae feed off of those plants,” Deming said. “They are all plants that our local farmers like to grow and sell… You have to spray, and a lot of our farmers pride themselves as purely organic farms,” she said. (The Valley News)
Pesticide? Uh-oh. There’s got to be an alternative.
Deming added that… another way to stop the spread of leek moths is by not sharing bulbs.
“They will live in the bulbs and plants over the winter, so sharing them will lead to spreading,” Deming said. (The Valley News)
I can certainly avoid passing our bulbs along, but the leeks were planted from seedlings. Am I in danger? Please pass along any suggestions!