Contents

Controlling Flea Beetles In The Vegetable Garden: How To Get Rid Of Flea Beetles

Flea beetles are small but destructive pests in the home landscape. You have likely seen their damage in the tiny holes scattered across your prized hosta or ornamental kale. There are many varieties of the insect, which attack a wide range of vegetation. Flea beetle control is an ongoing battle that relies upon three levels of approach. Control of flea beetles naturally starts with consistent cultural practices, physical barriers and even biological methods.

How to Get Rid of Flea Beetles

Knowledge of your enemy is the first key to flea beetle control. The insects are small beetle-type pests that hop when disturbed. The larvae overwinter in the garden and become adults in spring. There may be up to two generations of the tiny shiny beetles per year. Some varieties are striped or spotted and may be brown, tan and black.

It is easier to prevent the damage rather than to kill flea beetles unless you resort to chemical controls. Control of flea beetles

naturally is preferable, especially in the vegetable garden where the insects do the most damage.

Controlling Flea Beetles

Physical barriers such as row covers are safe and easy methods of controlling flea beetles. These prevent the insects from jumping onto the leaves and munching away on the foliage. You can also use a layer of thick mulch around plants to limit the insect’s transformation in the soil from larvae to adult. This provides a non-toxic pre-season way to control flea beetles naturally. For more permanent control, it is necessary to kill flea beetles.

The most reliable method on how to get rid of flea beetles is with an insecticidal dust. Naturally derived spinosad and permethrin are two control agents that can provide some assistance in eradicating the beetles. Consistent applications are necessary because of the mobility of the pests. Any insecticidal product that contains carabyl or bifenthrin will also give adequate control when applied at the rates and times recommended by the product manufacturer.

Repelling Flea Beetles

If chemical control is not your cup of tea and covering the crop is not an option, try repellent formulations. Flea beetles are most active in spring when adults emerge and their feeding can severely damage seedling plants. Diatomaceous earth is safe for pets, children and most beneficial insects, but will repel most flea beetles. Neem oil and some horticultural oils are also effective at repelling flea beetles.

How to Kill Flea Beetles Naturally

Cultural control is the key to killing flea beetles. The larvae overwinter in soil and can be destroyed during regular hoeing and cultivating. Remove all old debris from previous crops and prevent weeds, which are an important early season food for flea beetle larvae. Without cover and food supplies, the larva will starve. Early season flea beetle control will kill most of the pests and physical barriers, or even sticky traps, can take care of most of the remaining pests.

How to Kill and Prevent Flea Beetles in Your Garden

As soon as flea beetles arrive in the garden, damage starts. These preventative measures can help avert an attack and lessen your risk:

  • Manage the garden environment with good sanitation. Clear leaves and crop debris at the end of the gardening season, so that adult flea beetles have no protection from the cold.
  • Till garden soil just after the first frost to uncover any beetles that have gone underground for the winter and leave them exposed.
  • Plant an early season “trap crop,” such as radish or mustard seeds, to attract flea beetles when they first emerge from the soil. Then, spray with liquid Sevin® Insect Killer insecticides and follow label guidelines for how often to treat. With bell peppers or tender greens, you can spray as often as once per week.
  • Wait until seedlings have more than three leaves before transplanting into the garden.2 Larger plants can survive more flea beetle damage than smaller seedlings.

The sudden arrival of flea beetles can stress plants and gardeners, but taking steps to control these pests with a hand from the GardenTech® family of brands helps guarantee a good start to the growing season and gardening enjoyment.

Time it takes to control flea beetles:

For the average garden, 15 minutes per treatment until beetles are gone.

How hard you’ll work on a scale of 1 to 4:

2 – Easy Does It

Duration of Treatment:

This varies greatly, depending how severe the infestation is and the number of flea beetle generations involved. Used properly, liquid Sevin® Insect Killer pesticides kill flea beetles by contact and keep helping to protect your garden for up to three months.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals (PHI) and application frequency.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sources:

Flea beetles are tiny, but they can be very destructive garden pests. In this post, you’ll learn all about these annoying bugs, including how to identify them, what type of damage they do, prevention tips, and organic methods for controlling flea beetles.

Flea beetles are one of the most frustrating garden pests to deal with. Since they come out in early spring, and attack young seedlings, severe damage can happen before you even realize there’s a problem.

Luckily, controlling flea beetles isn’t too difficult once you know the best methods to use. Understanding the lifecycle and feeding habits of this annoying pest will also help you take steps to prevent damage before it occurs.

Here’s what you’ll find in this flea beetle pest control guide…

  • What Are Flea Beetles?
  • What Do They Look Like?
  • Flea Beetle Life Cycle
  • What Do They Eat?
  • Damage To Plants
  • Organic Treatment Methods
    • Neem Oil
    • Organic Homemade Bug Spray
    • Diatomaceous Earth
    • Yellow Sticky Traps
    • Beneficial Nematodes
    • Repellent Plants & Trap Crops
  • How To Prevent Flea Beetles
  • FAQs
    • Where do flea beetles come from?
    • When do flea beetles come out?
    • Do flea beetles bite?
    • Do flea beetles live in mulch?
    • What eats flea beetles?
    • Are flea beetles harmful?
    • Does mulch attract flea beetles?
    • Are fleas and flea beetles the same?

What Are Flea Beetles?

Flea beetles are common pest insects that feed on small plants and seedlings. They can be very destructive in the garden in early spring, and can quickly kill immature plants.

Though they aren’t actually related to fleas, they get their name because they have large back legs that allow them to jump.

What Do Flea Beetles Look Like?

Up close, flea beetles look like tiny beetles. They’re shiny, and can appear to be black, brown or even bluish in color. Some species may even have spots or stripes.

From far away, they look like tiny black or brown specks on the leaves of a plant. It’s hard to see flea beetles from a distance, so infestations can easily go unnoticed.

A quick way to make a positive identification is to disturb the plant or surrounding soil. Flea beetles start jumping around when they are disturbed.

Flea beetle pests in the garden

The Flea Beetle Life Cycle

Understanding their life cycle is important for controlling flea beetles. Adult flea beetles hibernate in the garden through the winter either in the soil or in plant debris. They emerge in early spring to feed and lay their eggs. The adults can lay eggs on plants or in the soil.

Once the flea beetle eggs hatch, the larvae live in the soil, and feeds on the roots of the plants. Flea beetle larvae are tiny white worms that are barely visible to the naked eye.

After several weeks, the larvae pupate in the soil, and new adults emerge a few days later. There can be more than one generation of flea beetles per growing season, depending on where you live.

What Do Flea Beetles Eat?

Though they can be found on any type of plant, flea beetles prefer vegetables. So, if you have them in your yard, you’ll probably find the damage is the worst in your vegetable garden.

I have also found flea beetles on some of my annual plants, and even on perennials before. But the damage has never been as bad on my ornamental plants as it is in my vegetable garden.

Flea Beetle Damage To Plants

Flea beetles cause the most damage in the spring when newly planted seedlings are still small. They can kill seedlings in a short time. At a minimum, they will stunt the growth of immature plants.

Often the first indication of a flea beetle infestation is faded, yellowing, or splotchy looking leaves. When you take a closer look, you can see the tiny beetles crawling around on the plant.

Adults cause the most damage by chewing irregular holes or pocks marks in the leaves. Sometimes the holes are small, but they can be fairly large too. The larvae usually cause little or no damage.

Plant leaf damaged by flea beetle infestation

How To Control Flea Beetles

Getting rid of flea beetles completely isn’t usually an achievable goal. Most of the time, you just have to control them long enough for the seedlings to outgrow the damage.

Once the plants are large, flea beetles aren’t as much of a concern. The population will go down by summer, and your plants will be mature enough to withstand the damage.

There are several natural flea beetle control methods that are very effective to protect your baby plants from getting too much damage.

How To Treat Flea Beetles Organically

There are lots of different treatment methods that can you can use for controlling flea beetles organically. So there’s no reason to resort to using toxic chemical pesticides! Yeah!

Below are the most effective organic flea beetle control methods you can try in your own garden…

Use Neem Oil For Flea Beetles

Neem oil is a naturally occurring insecticide that kills bugs, and it works great for treating flea beetles organically. It also has a residual effect, so you don’t have to spray it directly on the bugs.

Spray a neem oil solution directly on the both the top and bottom of the leaves (be sure to test a small area before spraying the whole plant).

Adult flea beetles feeding on squash plant seedling

Make Organic Homemade Flea Beetle Spray

Soapy water will kill flea beetles on contact. It’s easy to make your own organic spray for flea beetles by mixing 1 tsp mild organic liquid soap with 1 liter of water.

This homemade insecticidal soap spray will kill the adults on contact. But, it has no residual effect, and only works if you spray it directly on the beetles.

Apply Diatomaceous Earth For Flea Beetles

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is another great and inexpensive option for controlling flea beetles organically. It’s made out of tiny pieces of ground up fossilized organisms.

DE powder gets under the shells of beetles, and works like tiny bits of glass to kill them. Sprinkle it around the base of the infested plants, or directly on the flea beetles.

Capture Adults With Yellow Sticky Traps

Placing yellow sticky traps in your garden is another great non-toxic solution. They work to control flea beetles by capturing the adults as they jump from plant to plant.

Try Beneficial Nematodes For Flea Beetles

Beneficial nematodes are microscopic organisms that will kill flea beetle larvae in the soil. They are completely harmless to humans and pets, and won’t hurt beneficial beetles like ladybugs.

An added bonus is that they will kill the larvae of many other types of destructive bugs too (like Japanese beetles)! Learn more about using beneficial nematodes in your garden here.

Black flea beetle on plant seedling

Use Repellent Plants Or Trap Crops

I haven’t tried this myself, but mint, basil, and catnip are said to repel flea beetles. You could also try using trap crops to lure them away from your main crops, and then spray them with soapy water or neem oil. Flea beetles love radishes the best.

Find even more natural garden pest control remedies & recipes here.

How To Prevent Flea Beetles

If you struggle with controlling flea beetles in your garden, there are a few things you can do that will help to prevent them. Here are a few flea beetle prevention tips…

  • The adults overwinter in leaves and other debris leftover in the garden. So be sure to always clean out your vegetable garden in the fall.
  • Adult flea beetles can also overwinter in the soil. Tilling or turning your garden soil in the fall will expose the adults, and help to kill them.
  • Flea beetles emerge in early spring and cause the most damage on young seedlings. So try waiting a few weeks before planting your seedlings. This will give the plants more time to mature so they can withstand the damage better. Plus, the flea beetle population may not be as high once you plant everything.

Shiny brown flea beetle on plant leaf

Flea Beetle FAQs

Below I will answer the most frequently asked questions about flea beetles. If you still have a question after reading through this article and the FAQs, ask it in the comments section below. I’ll answer it as soon as I can.

Where do flea beetles come from?

Flea beetles hibernate during the winter in plant debris or the soil, and emerge in early spring.

When do flea beetles come out?

Flea beetles come out of hibernation shortly after the ground thaws, and temperatures start warming up in early spring.

Do flea beetles bite?

No, flea beetles do not bite. They only feed on plants.

Do flea beetles live in mulch?

Flea beetles can overwinter in the mulch and leaf debris, but they don’t live in the mulch. Their larvae lives in the soil.

What eats flea beetles?

There are several beneficial flea beetle predators that will eat the adults or their larvae, including ladybugs, predatory wasps, and beneficial nematodes.

Are flea beetles harmful?

Yes, flea beetles are harmful to small plants and seedlings. But they are not harmful to humans or pets.

Does mulch attract flea beetles?

No. In some cases, mulch can actually help with controlling flea beetles by protecting the soil. But mulch doesn’t always help for getting rid of flea beetles.

Are fleas and flea beetles the same?

No. Don’t let the name confuse you. Flea beetles are not even related to fleas.

Controlling flea beetles in your garden can be frustrating. But with so many effective organic control options to choose from, there’s no reason to resort to using chemical pesticides. Just be sure to be persistent with your treatments, because you can’t get rid of flea beetles the first time you try.

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More About Garden Pest Control

  • How To Get Rid Of Slugs In The Garden Naturally
  • How To Get Rid Of Cabbage Worms Organically
  • How To Get Rid Of Squash Bugs Naturally
  • How To Get Rid Of Squash Vine Borers Organically

Share your experiences or tips for controlling flea beetles in the comments section below.

Control Flea Beetles Organically

The adults are tiny ranging from 1/16 to 1/4 inch long and are various colors, including black, greenish or bluish black, green or yellow. They have enlarged hind legs which enable them to jump like fleas. The larvae are slender, white grubs which feed on roots, tubers, and lower stems underground.

Flea beetles overwinter as adults among debris in or near fields or host plants. At the end of the year remove plants and surface debris to remove hibernating material.

Eggs are deposited in soil near the bases of host plants and may require a week or more to hatch. Treating the soil with beneficial nematodes can help control the larvae.

Plant later than usual so warmer temperatures can help plants to outgrow the feeding beetles.

Use rotation planting. Don’t plant the same crop in the same bed the next year.

Dusting plants with Diatomaceous earth, ashes, ground limestone, or even flour has been used successfully.

Homemade sticky traps work well. Flea beetles are attracted to the colors of white and yellow. For white traps cut milk jugs sides, other white plastic containers, or styrofoam meat trays into pieces about four to six inches square. Coat the pieces with something sticky. Petroleum jelly, lard, grease and non-setting glue have all been found useful. Wash off the captured beetles and reuse.

For a yellow trap take flypaper and attach it to something solid like a lightweight board that can be set upright or heavy cardboard attached to a wooden stake.

Some people have found beer traps successful.

For plants that don’t need insect pollination, cover beds of seedlings with row covers or gauze-like material to prevent beetle entry.

Flea beetles like hot, dry soil. Misting or fine watering to keep the top soil moist helps as do mulches.

Plant beets, carrots, chard, radishes, spinach and other cool-loving crops a couple of weeks later. These also make effective trap crops to protect other plants.

Natural repellents consist of nicotinia, catnip, and wormwood. Make a tea and spray the affected crop. Another natural repellent is a garlic and hot pepper spray. Flea beetles hate this combination and will quickly leave. Reapply after watering or rain.

If all else fails, insecticides make from plants like Rotenone can be applied.

For more information on organic flea beetle and insect control:

Flea Beetles Stock Photos and Images

(337) Narrow your search: Vectors | Black & white | Page 1 of 4

  • Green Flea beetle: they are called flea beetles because when in danger, they jump like fleas. Macro photo at around 2.5X.
  • Metallic flea beetles damaging bean plants
  • Many Flea Beetles Taken Near the Shore of Lake Michigan
  • Australian metallic flea beetles and damage to bean leaf
  • Plague of insects, flea beetles leave
  • Mating Flea beetles of the leaf beetle family (Chrysomelidae) on juncus stem. Cahir, Tipperary, Ireland.
  • Alligatorweed flea beetle (Agasicles hygrophilla) introduced to feed on and control alligatorweed
  • Paired Flea Beetles (Altica sp)
  • Alligatorweed Flea Beetles Agasicles hygrophilla on alligator weed
  • A dew-covered Flea Beetle (Altica sp.) perches on its overnight roost in the early morning.
  • Insects on pumpkin plants
  • beech flea weevil, beech leaf mining weevil, beech leafminer (Rhynchaenus fagi), two beetles on an infected leaf
  • Altica sp. beetle on a dried plant, side view
  • Chaetocnema concinna – a small leaf beetle
  • beech flea weevil, beech leaf mining weevil, beech leafminer (Rhynchaenus fagi), on common beech, Fagus sylvatica
  • Flea Beetle (Altica sp.) on a Garlic Mustard leaf.
  • beech flea weevil, beech leaf mining weevil, beech leafminer (Rhynchaenus fagi), pitted area on a beech leaf, Germany
  • Fipronil, broad-spectrum insecticide molecule. It is used to fight ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and other insects. Structural ch
  • Large red flea beetle
  • Green Flea beetle: they are called flea beetles because when in danger, they jump like fleas. Macro photo at around 2.5X.
  • Flea Beetle on thistle. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Flea Beetles at the Tip of a Blade of Grass
  • Flea Beetle perched on dead leaf. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Tiny beetle on the top of a tree bud looking at the horizon. Spring nature close up, green leaves growing over blue sky background.
  • Beautiful beetle on a green leaf.
  • Flea Beetles on Centaurea Flower
  • beetle flying
  • Flea beetles Phyllotreta spp and their damage to young brussel sprout plant
  • Red currant leaf attacked by Flea beetles
  • Insects on pumpkin plants
  • Severe damage to a brassica plant caused by flea beetle Phyllotreta sp feeding
  • FLEA BEETLES PHYLLOTRETA SPP ON FLOWERS OF ROCKET
  • Small holes in wallflower leaves caused by flea beetles Phyllotreta spp feeding
  • Vector Silhouettes of insect – beetles
  • Flea Beetle (Altica sp.) on a Garlic Mustard leaf
  • beech flea weevil, beech leaf mining weevil, beech leafminer (Rhynchaenus fagi), pitted area on a beech leaf, Germany
  • Fipronil, broad-spectrum insecticide molecule. It is used to fight ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and other insects. Structural ch
  • Flea beetle Phyllotreta sp damage to rocket foliage
  • Green Flea beetle: they are called flea beetles because when in danger, they jump like fleas. Macro photo at around 2.5X.
  • Flea beetle damage holes on the leaves of Anemone coronaria, a perennial garden ornamental, Berkshire
  • Radish leaves infested with flea beetles
  • Insect leaf beetle fossil Chrysomelidae Flea beetles of great economic importance
  • usfwsmtnprairie 29049522182 Flea Beetles on Leafy Spurge
  • Beautiful beetle on a green leaf.
  • Prohibition sign colorado beetles pattern
  • death watch beetles beetle
  • Leaf Beetle on Pond Rush SCO 7077
  • Leaf of sumac tree attacked by Flea beetles, Alticiny
  • Insects on pumpkin plants
  • Western Hedgehog,Erinaceus europaeus
  • Toy Volkswagen Campers and beetles for sale on market stall
  • big set of insects bugs beetles and bees, fleas many species in vintage old hand drawn style engraved illustration woodcut animals flea
  • A Flea Beetle (Altica sp.) perches on a Garlic Mustard leaf.
  • beech flea weevil, beech leaf mining weevil, beech leafminer (Rhynchaenus fagi), pitted area on a beech leaf, Germany
  • Fipronil, broad-spectrum insecticide molecule. It is used to fight ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and other insects. Structural ch
  • Beetles – Flea Beetle damage to Kohl Rabi PES090187
  • Green Flea beetle: they are called flea beetles because when in danger, they jump like fleas. Macro photo at around 2.5X.
  • Flea beetle damage holes on the leaves of Anemone coronaria, a perennial garden ornamental, Berkshire
  • Cheiranthus sp. (Wallflower) leaves eaten by flea beetles (Phyllotreta sp.)
  • Flea beetle damage holes on the leaves of Anemone coronaria, a perennial garden ornamental, Berkshire, England, February
  • usfwsmtnprairie 28533281404 Flea Beetles on Leafy Spurge
  • Willow Flea Beetle (Crepidodera aurata)
  • Prohibition sign colorado beetles icon
  • hippobosca hirundinis and hippobosca equina
  • Flea Beetle is a garden pest chewing foliage, Far North Queensland, Australia
  • . Insect enemies and diseases of the tomato. their name from the fact that they take long,quick leaps like a flea, being also of about the sizeof these little insects and dark in color. Control.—Spray the plants thoroughly, both onthe upper and under sides of leaves, with Bor-deaux mixture, as this acts as a repellent, literallykeeping them away. Wild plants of the potatokind such as ground cherry plants, should bepulled and destroyed throughout tlie season so asto leave no breeding places for the flea-beetles. In-jury can also be prevented by dipping the youngplants before setting, in a solut
  • Insects on pumpkin plants
  • Flea Beetle
  • Toy Volkswagen Campers and beetles for sale on market stall
  • usfwsmtnprairie 11856787036 Collecting Flea Beetles
  • Economic entomology for the farmer.. . economicentomolo00smit_0 Year: 1896 THE INSECT WORLD. 223 miJ’ichalcea, so named because of its resemblance to a drop of molten gold. The injury is done by these species just after the plants are set out and before they get a start. Where the season is unfavorable to rapid growth, some plants may be killed, but under ordinary conditions they are soon out of danger. Good practice is to set only large, weU-developed plants, or to dip everything before setting out in the arsenate of lead mixture recommended against the flea-beetles. Finally, it has been fou
  • Beech flea weevil, Beech leaf mining weevil, Beech leafminer (Orchestes fagi, Rhynchaenus fagi), on ice, Germany
  • Fipronil, broad-spectrum insecticide molecule. It is used to fight ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and other insects. Structural ch
  • . Injurious insects : how to recognize and control them . Insect pests; Insect pests. SMALL, AfTlVE FLEA-BEETLES lyjCRING FOLIAGE 159 The Western Cabbage Flea-beetle (Phi/Ilotnia puxilla Horn.) This species is related to the preceding, and follows it closely in life history and habits. The adult is one twelfth of an inch long, dark green in color, without bands or other similar markings on its wings. Control is the same as for the preceding species.. Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability – coloration and appea
  • Green Flea beetle: they are called flea beetles because when in danger, they jump like fleas. Macro photo at around 2.5X.
  • Flea beetle damage holes on the leaves of Anemone coronaria, a perennial garden ornamental, Berkshire
  • Fipronil, broad-spectrum insecticide molecule. It is used to fight ants, beetles, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, termites and other insects. Molecular mod
  • Flea beetle Phyllotreta spp typical leaf damage to radishes
  • Flea beetle damage holes on the leaves of Anemone coronaria, a perennial garden ornamental, Berkshire, England, February
  • Willow Flea Beetle (Crepidodera aurata)
  • Prohibition sign colorado beetles icon, flat style
  • stag beetle
  • Flea Beetle is a garden pest chewing foliage, Far North Queensland, Australia
  • . Manual of vegetable-garden insects. May or June. References U. S. Div. Ent. Bull. 23, pp. 22-29. 1900. 111. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull. 60, pp. 468-470. 1900. FLEA-BEETLES 323 The Red-Headed Flea-Beetle Systena frontalis Fabricius This species closely resembles the smartweed flea-beetlefrom which it may be distinguished by its reddish head (Fig.202). It ranges throughout theUnited States and Canada east ofthe Rockies and south to Florida.Outbreaks of this beetle are usuallymore or less local but serious injurymay sometimes result. It attackspotato, beet and bean, and inCanada is sometimes destriuti
  • Insects on pumpkin plants
  • . Elementary entomology . Fig. 224. A, potato flea-beetle ; /?, egg-plant flea-beetle. (Both greatly enlarged) (After Chittenden, United States Department of Agriculture) known as the west- ern corn rootworm, is one of the worst pests of corn in the northern Miss- issippi Valley. A large group of small species, with strong hind legs which en- able them to give remarkable jumps, are known as flea- beetles. The potato flea-beetle {Epitrix fnscitla) and nearly related species are com- monly abundant on young potato and tomato plants, and on egg- plants, the leaves of which are . __ riddled as if
  • Altica sp. Flea Beetle (26644500544)
  • roasted beetles
  • Archive image from page 70 of Diamond jubilee 75th anniversary (1935). Diamond jubilee 75th anniversary . diamondjubilee751935grif Year: 1935 BOURBON FLUOSILICATE DUST MIXTURE Bourbon Remedy Company FInosilicate Dnst Misttire is adapted for the control of Mexican Bean Beetles, Potato Bugs (Beetles), Striped Cucumber Beetles, Blister Beetles, certain Flea Beetles, and Boll Weevils, and it may also be used to destroy Cutworms, to rid premises of Ants and Roaches, and to kill the Lice on fowls. Price, 100-11). Drums $15.00 POMODUST Pomodust is a combination of highly effective fungicides and ins
  • Beech flea weevil, Beech leaf mining weevil, Beech leafminer (Orchestes fagi, Rhynchaenus fagi), on a stone, Germany
  • Advertisement for Keating’s Powder for killing bugs, fleas, moths, beetles and other insects. Dated 20th century
  • willow flea beetle (Crepidodera aurata), sitting on a leaf, Germany, Thueringen
  • Green Flea beetle: they are called flea beetles because when in danger, they jump like fleas. Macro photo at around 2.5X.
  • willow flea beetle (Crepidodera aurata), sitting on a leaf, Germany, Thueringen
  • Metallic green, flea beetle. They are called flea beetles because they use their hind legs to jump great distances.
  • Willow Flea Beetle (Crepidodera aurata), flea beetle, Germany
  • . Cyclopedia of farm crops. Farm produce; Agriculture. 524 POTATO POTATO Insects.— The flea-beetle (Crepidodera cucumeri.t) attacks the leaves, puncturing them and thus furnishing an easy entrance for spores of dis- eases. Spraying with Bordeaux mixture as soon as the insects appear is of value. It acts as a deterrent. On the Pacific coast other flea-beetles occur, and for such the use of arsenites alone or in Bordeaux mixture is advised.. Fig. 752. Distribution of late blight IFIiytophthora iu/cstans) of potato indicated by lines, and of cot- ton-wilt (Ncocosmospora vasinfccta) indi

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Flea Beetles

Many different species of flea beetles attack garden plants in the United States. Some types are selective and only go after certain plant families, but others feed on all types of vegetables, fruits and ornamentals. Seedlings, young transplants and tender new growth are favorite targets of these voracious pests. Flea beetles can also spread plant diseases, including blight and bacterial wilt. They prefer feeding in bright, sunny locations.

Identification: Depending on the species, adult flea beetles measure between 1/16 and 1/4 inch long. Many flea beetles common to vegetable gardens are dark and shiny. However, these pests come in black, metallic green or blue, brown, bronze or even striped. All have powerful hind legs and jump – like fleas – when disturbed. Their thin, white, wormlike larvae grow 1/8 to 1/3 inch long.

Signs/Damage: Flea beetle larvae hatch from eggs laid at the soil surface and feed on plant roots. Their main damage is to root crops or tubers such as potatoes. Adult beetles chew multiple small holes throughout plant leaves, resulting in distinctive shot-hole damage.

Control: Effective flea beetle treatment starts early in the season, as soon as seedlings break ground. GardenTech® brand offers several highly effective options to kill flea beetles by contact and keep protecting for up to three months+. These products can be used on many flea beetle favorites, including tomatoes, eggplants, cabbages and potatoes, right up to one day before harvest*:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use simplifies targeted spot treatments of individual plants or small garden areas. The adjustable nozzle lets you control the width of your spray for broad coverage or narrow precision.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate makes treating larger areas easy and economical way. Use with a pump-style sprayer, and cover all plant surfaces thoroughly.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to a common garden hose. This easy-to-use product measures and mixes automatically as you spray. Start at the farthest garden corner and work your way backward so your hose stays dry. Spray to cover all plant surfaces thoroughly.

Tip: Flea beetles overwinter under leaves, weeds and garden debris. Clean your gardens well at the end of the season and you’ll have fewer flea beetle problems the next year.

*Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including required pre-harvest intervals for edible crops.

+These products provide up to 3 month control on all listed insects except ticks.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

PHOTO CONTEST:

  • “Flea Beetle” by Katja Schulz licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • “Green Flea Beetle” by Katja Schulz licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • “Metallic blue flea beetles (Altica sp.)” by Bob Peterson licensed under CC BY 2.0
  • “Eggplant: Flea beetle feeding injury to leaf” by Scot Nelson licensed under CC BY 2.0

Colorado State University

Print this fact sheet

by W.S. Cranshaw1 (1/19)

Quick Facts…

Figure 1: Adult flea beetles chew small pits in the leaf surface. This produces a type of injury known as a shothole.

Figure 3: A leafy spurge flea beetle. Three species of flea beetles occur in Colorado that feed on leafy spurge, a serious invasive weed.

Figure 4: Larva of a western black flea beetle. Most flea beetle larvae develop on the roots of plants.

Figure 5: Surface wounding of potato caused by feeding injuries of the tuber flea beetle.

Figure 6: Apple flea beetle larvae develop on the leaves and flowers of evening primrose.

Figure 7: Adult apple flea beetles feed on leaves of many garden flowers, shrubs and vines.

Figure 8: Flea beetle feeding normally causes little effect to well established plants. These injuries were produced by potato flea beetle, the common flea beetle on potatoes and tomatoes.

  • Flea beetles are small beetles that jump when disturbed.
  • They damage plants by chewing small “shotholes” in the foliage.
  • Flea beetles can be found on a wide variety of plants. However, most flea beetles attack only a few, closely related plant species.
  • Flea beetle injury is most important when seedlings are becoming established or in the production of leafy vegetables. Injuries are usually minor and easily outgrown on established plants.

Flea beetles are small beetles that jump. The adult beetles feed on leaves, chewing small pits that produce shothole wounds, resembling injuries that might be produced by fine buckshot. Young stages (larvae) of most flea beetles feed on the roots but some develop chewing leaves.

Young plants and seedlings are particularly susceptible to flea beetle damage. Growth may be seriously retarded and in severe infestations plants can be killed. The holes in leaves also damage plant appearance, which can be important when growing certain leafy vegetables and ornamental flowers.

Dozens of species of flea beetles are found in Colorado (Table 1). Although there is some overlap of tastes, each type of flea beetle has a decided preference for certain plants. For example, some flea beetles feed only on potatoes, tomatoes and other members of the nightshade family. Others have a taste for broccoli, cabbage and other crucifer crops. One group of flea beetles (Aphthona species) was purposefully introduced into the state to feed on and help manage leafy spurge, an important invasive weed.

Life History and Habits

Flea beetles spend the winter in the adult stage, hidden under leaves, dirt clods or in other protected sites. They typically begin to become active during warm days in early-mid Spring and then seek out the types of plants on which they feed. Flea beetles can fly well and may fly long distances in search of suitable plants.

Adults of all flea beetles feed on leaves of plants. However, immature stages (larvae) may have differing habits. Most develop in the soil, feeding on plant roots. Soil-dwelling flea beetle larvae are very small, pale-colored and worm-like. Normally they cause little, if any, significant damage to the plants. Exceptions include larvae of the tuber flea beetle, which can cause scarring of potato tubers, and larvae of flea beetles that feed on leafy spurge. Flea beetles that develop in the soil as larvae often can produce 2 or 3 generations a season, such as the “cabbage flea beetles” and the “potato flea beetles”.

A small number of flea beetles have larvae that develop on the leaves of plants. Apple flea beetle, which has larvae that develop on evening primrose, is an example of a flea beetle with this habit. The types of flea beetles have larvae that are black or gray and have small legs. The larvae produce large and irregular holes in leaves rather than shotholes. Flea beetles that develop on leaves include the larger kinds of flea beetles, with apple flea beetle being the most common species. Adults do not make shotholes but chew in a more generalized pattern. Flea beetles with larvae that develop on leaves often have only a single generation a year but the adults may be present for several months.

Flea Beetle Management

Although flea beetles are common, injuries often are insignificant to plant health. On established plants, 20-30 percent or more of the leaf area must be destroyed before there is any effect on yield. The plants most likely to benefit from treatment are more sensitive seedlings, plants grown for ornamental purposes or for edible greens, and potatoes that may be affected by tuber flea beetle larvae.

Cultural Controls

Because seedlings are most at risk, use transplants or plant seeds in a well-prepared seedbed to hasten growth and allow plants to overcome injury. In home gardens, try high seeding rates to spread the injuries produced by adult feeding. Thin the plants once they are established and less susceptible to damage.Trap crops work in some situations. This involves purposefully planting a highly favored crop to attract flea beetles away from the main crop. The best regional example of this practice involves use of radish or daikon to protect seedlings of other crucifers (e.g., broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts) that are susceptible to western black flea beetle and crucifer flea beetle. The trap crop may then be harvested or destroyed after the main crop has established itself sufficiently to outgrow flea beetle injury.

It may also be possible to avoid injury by scheduling plantings so that seedlings are emerging during periods of low flea beetle activity. Cabbage flea beetles are usually most damaging in June, when they move from winter annual mustard weeds, such as flixweed, on which the early spring generation develops. Most vegetable crops that are well established can tolerate a large amount of injury by flea beetles without affecting yield.

Mechanical and Physical ControlsFloating row covers or other screening can exclude the beetles during seedling establishment. In isolated plantings, thick mulches may also help reduce the number of flea beetles by interfering with activity of the root and soil stages.Flea beetles can be collected off foliage using sweep nets or a portable vacuum. Care must be made when using these methods as flea beetles will readily jump from plants and escape treatment. Sweep net/vacuum treatments must be repeated frequently as reinvasion of plants can be rapid.

Biological Controls

There are numerous natural enemies of flea beetles – predators, parasitoids, and disease producing pathogens. Most of these attack larval stages and these regularly help reduce overall populations of flea beetles. However, flea beetle adults are highly mobile and no biological controls that can be applied by a gardener will likely reduce flea beetle damage in a planting.

Chemical Controls

When high numbers of flea beetles are present on plants and threaten injury insecticides are usually the most effective means to manage the problem (Table 2). Some flea beetle products act to repel flea beetle feeding (e.g. diatomaceous earth, kaolin clay) but most can kill flea beetles. However, among those insecticides there is a considerable range in how long they can work to protect plants from flea beetles – from a few hours (pyrethrins) to several days (cypermethrin, cyhalothrin). Since the most serious problems with flea beetles involve species that are highly mobile and readily reinvade plantings (cabbage flea beetles, apple flea beetle), insecticides with longer persistence will usually work best. Often more than one application may be needed to protect seedling crops since leaf growth produced after application will be little protected.

As with all pesticides, carefully read and follow all label directions. Pay particular attention to ensure that any flea beetle insecticides being considered are properly registered for use on the crop.

Figure 9: Leafy vegetables, particularly brassicas such as arugala, mustard greens, and Chinese cabbage are among the plants that are most damaged by flea beetles.
Figure 10: Palestriped flea beetle has a wide host range and can be found on many vegetable and flower crops.
Figure 11: “Spinach flea beetles” are common on pigweeds and related weeds and only rarely damage garden vegetables.
Table 1: Some common flea beetles found in Colorado.
Common name Scientific names Host plants, comments
Cabbage flea beetle (western black flea beetle, crucifer flea beetle) Phyllotreta pusilla, P. cruciferae Wide host range, primarily of cabbage family plants (Cruciferae family). Western black flea beetle is the most damaging flea beetle species in the state. Two and occasionally three generations are typical. Winter annual mustards, such as flixweed, are important early season hosts for these insects.
Palestriped flea beetle Systena blanda Has the widest host range of all flea beetles including squash, beans, corn, sunflowers, lettuce, potatoes and many weeds.
Potato flea beetles Epitrix cucumeris, E. subcrinita, E. parvula Tomato, potato and other nightshade family plants. Occasionally they may chew on and scar developing fruit.
Tobacco flea beetle Epitrix hirtipennis Eggplant and some other nightshade family plants. Most common in warmer areas of the state.
Tuber flea beetle Epitrix tuberis Potatoes. Larvae are associated with tuber injuries.
Horseradish flea beetles Phyllotreta armoraciae, P. albionica Horseradish, occasionally other mustards.
Leafy spurge flea beetles Aphthona flava, A. lacertosa, A. nigriscutis These three flea beetles were purposefully introduced into Colorado to help control leafy spurge, an invasive weed. Younger larvae develop on roots and late stages burrow into the crown of the plant.
*Apple flea beetle Haltica foliaceae Larvae feed on evening primrose (Oenothera); Grape, Epilobium, crabapple, Zauschneria and other plants are occasionally damaged by the adults.
*Sumac flea beetle Blepharida rhois Skunkbush sumac.
* “Spinach flea beetles” Disonycha triangularis. D. xanthomelas, D. collata Mostly pigweeds and other Amaranthus species. Beets, spinach and related plants are occasional hosts.
*Larvae and adults feed on leaves. Larvae of other flea beetles develop on roots.

Table 2: Some insecticides that can be used for managing flea beetles.
Common name Trade name(s)*
acetamiprid Ortho Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer Use allowed on most vegetable crops. Fairly long persistence of control (several days).
permethrin Bonide Eight Insect Control Dust; Bonide Eight Insect Control Vegetable, Fruit and Flower; Hi-Yield Lawn, Garden, Pet and Livestock Insect Control; Hi-Yield Garden, Pet and Livestock Dust Use allowed on most vegetable crops. Fair persistence of control (couple of days).
gamma-cyhalothrin Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes Use allowed on most vegetable crops. Fairly long persistence of control (several days).
zeta-cypermethrin Sevin Insect Killer Use allowed on most vegetable crops. Fairly long persistence of control (several days).
spinosad Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew; ferti-lome Borer, Bagworm, Tent Caterpillar & Leafminer Spray; Monterey Garden Insect Spray Use allowed on most vegetable crops. Fair persistence of control (couple of days). Most formulations allow use in Certified Organic production.
pyrethrins Many garden insecticides Use allowed on most vegetable crops. Very short persistence (hours). Many formulations allow use in Certified Organic production. Some formulations combined with horticultural oils.
diatomaceous earth Bonide Diatomaceous Earth Crawling Insect Killer Has some repellent effect on flea beetles. Most diatomaceous earth products do not allow use on growing plants; check labels to ensure product can be use on garden plants.
kaolin clay Surround Has some repellent effect on flea beetles. Presently available only through mail order. Use allow in Certified Organic production.
* Trade names used on this list are current as of January 1, 2019. Manufacturers do sometimes change active ingredients and label use directions without warning. Always check that the product you purchase has label directions that allow use as intended.

* W.S. Cranshaw, Colorado State University Extension entomologist and professor. 1/99. Revised 1/19.

Colorado State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado counties cooperating. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination. No endorsement of products mentioned is intended nor is criticism implied of products not mentioned.Go to top of this page.

Many species of flea beetles are found throughout the United States. They are small jumping insects (similar in appearance to fleas) commonly found in home gardens early in the growing season. A voracious pest, they will damage plants by chewing numerous small holes in the leaves, which make them look as if they have been peppered by fine buckshot. When populations are high, flea beetles can quickly defoliate and kill entire plants. They feed most on hot sunny days and attack a wide variety of plants including beans, cabbage, corn, eggplant, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and most seedlings.

Identification

Adults are small (1/10 inch long), shiny, dark brown or black beetles with large hind legs that allow them to jump when disturbed. Some species may have white or yellow stripes on their wing cases. Larvae are small, cream-colored worms (1/8 – 1/3 inch long). They live underground and feed on the roots and tubers of young plants as well as on germinating seeds.

Note: Flea beetles transmit viral and bacterial diseases.

Life Cycle

Adults overwinter in the soil or garden debris and become active in the spring, feeding on host plants as new growth appears. Tiny white eggs are laid on or in soil cracks around the base of plants. These hatch in about one week, and the slender white larvae feed on plant roots for approximately 2-3 weeks. Pupae usually remain in the soil for 7-9 days until adults emerge and the cycle is completed. There are one to four generations per year, depending on species and climate.

How to Control

  1. Remove garden trash and plow or rototill under weeds to reduce overwintering sites.
  2. Floating row covers are extremely effective when placed on seedlings and left in place until plants are old enough to tolerate beetle damage.
  3. Place yellow sticky traps throughout garden rows every 15 to 30 feet to capture adults.
  4. Beneficial nematodes applied to the soil will destroy the larval stage, reducing root feeding and helping to prevent the next generation of adults from emerging.
  5. Apply organic Diatomaceous Earth for long-lasting protection. Made up of tiny fossilized aquatic organisms, that look like broken glass under the microscope, DE kills by scoring an insect’s outer layer as it crawls over the fine powder. Contains NO toxic poisons!
  6. Surround WP (kaolin clay) forms a protective barrier film, which acts as a broad spectrum crop protectant for preventing damage from insect pests.
  7. BotaniGard ES is a highly effective biological insecticide containing Beauveria bassiana, an entomopathogenic fungus that attacks a long-list of troublesome crop pests – even resistant strains! Weekly applications can prevent insect population explosions and provide protection equal to or better than conventional chemical pesticides.
  8. 70% Neem Oil is approved for organic use and can be sprayed on vegetables, fruit trees and flowers to kill eggs, larvae and adult insects. Mix 1 oz/ gallon of water and spray all leaf surfaces (including the undersides of leaves) until completely wet.
  9. Least-toxic botanical insecticides should be used as a last resort. Derived from plants which have insecticidal properties, these natural pesticides have fewer harmful side effects than synthetic chemicals and break down more quickly in the environment.

Tip: Trap crops, such as mustard and radish, can be planted near garden areas to draw pests away.

Chemical Control of the Cotton Flea Beetle Podagrica puncticollis Weise in the Sudan (Halticidae, Coleoptera)

Abstract

Four chemicals were tested against Podagrica puncticollis Weise, 3 of them as sprays: Sevin (W.P. 85%) 1¼ kg/feddan, DDT (D.P. 25%), 1½ l/feddan and Aldrin (E.C. 40%), ½ 1/feddan and one as dust: Aldrin, mixed with the soil at the base of plants of each hole. Chemicals were applied 3 times at about 15‐day intervals starting on 2nd of October. Samples of 400 leaves were taken from each treatment at 3 successive dates; 15 weeks after the 1st and 2nd applications and then one month after the last application. The best results were obtained with Sevin in which 7.5 % only of inspected leaves were damaged and a mean number of 11.2 holes per leaf was obtained. Both formulations of Aldrin gave approximately similar results: percentages of 10.7 and 12 for damaged leaves and means of 11.7 and 9.9 holes per damaged leaf were recorded for the dust and emulsifiable concentrate respectively. These effects were much lower than those obtained with DDT which gave an percentage of 24.8 for damaged leaves and a relatively higher mean number of 14.5 holes per damaged leaf. Percentage of 40.7 and a mean of 25.7 were recorded for the control.

While only a small percentage of canola fields tend to require flea beetle management in addition to seed treatment, all fields should be monitored to assess the potential threat. Begin monitoring right after emergence and through until at least the four-leaf stage. Seed treatment can be effective through most of this period, but slow starting or slow growing crops under intense flea beetle pressure may require a foliar spray.

This graphic represents what 25% and 50% leaf area loss looks like. If a stem is clipped, loss is 100%.

Canola seedlings are withered from flea beetle damage and dry conditions.

8 steps to make the right flea beetle spray decision:

Step 1. Know the spray threshold. The action threshold for flea beetles in canola crops in Canada is an average leaf area loss of 25% or more. Research to re-evaluate these thresholds found that canola with up to 25% leaf area loss will yield the same as canola with no leaf area loss at al. Yield loss starts to show after 25% leaf area loss and becomes economic (yield loss is more than the total cost of the foliar spray operation) at around 50% leaf area loss. The reason for the ‘action threshold’ for flea beetles is that leaf area loss can escalate quickly from 25% to 50% and beyond in a severe infestation.
Step 2. Assess leaf area loss. With thresholds in mind, check plants in a number of areas of the field to get an average damage level. Scout the newest leaves. Flea beetles tend to prefer fresh new leaves. If cotyledons are chewed up but newest leaves show very little feeding, then plants may be outgrowing the threat or seed treatments may be having an effect (or both). On the other hand, if cotyledons are under 50% but first true leaves are not present, flea beetles may be nipping off fresh apical meristem – the growing point for first leaves. If the meristem is lost, these leaves could be considered 100% lost. Mark those plants and return in a day or two to see if true leaves are showing.
Step 3. Assess stem damage. This is especially important in foul weather (wind, cool) that drives flea beetles down to leaf undersides and leaf stems. This relocation could actually make the flea beetle situation worse, since it takes just a few bites on a stem to nip off a whole cotyledon or sever the stem. A plant with stem feeding that will kill the plant would be considered 100% lost, so that would factor into the average 25% leaf area loss threshold. As a general observational guide, if the plants don’t seem to be growing and have stem feeding damage from flea beetles, action may be required. Scouting note: Daily scouting needs to happen in areas approaching action threshold. Within two or three days, flea beetle feeding can escalate way beyond threshold, and actually wipe out whole areas of a field, especially in hot, dry and windy conditions. accompanied by hot/dry and windy conditions.
Step 4. Assess flea beetle feeding activity. Are the insects still present in the field and continuing to feed? If it looks like populations are dwindling, a spray may not be necessary. If flea beetles are slow and dopey, it may mean they have ingested seed treatment insecticide and are no longer feeding. But check again to make sure. Time of day and weather can influence flea beetle activity. On rainy days, for example, flea beetles will take cover in the soil.
Step 5. Consider the plant stand. This should influence your approach to the thresholds. With a thin stand of 4 plants per square foot, for example, growers can’t afford to lose any plants and may want to take action when damage is only 20-25%. But with counts in the high end of the recommend range (of 5 to 8 plants per square foot), growers can afford to lose a couple of plants without sacrificing harvest yield.
Step 6. Check the crop stage. After the 4-leaf stage (4 true leaves), the threat is likely over because the crop usually has enough plant material to feed flea beetles without compromising growth, and the plants can compensate for feeding better by this stage. If the crop is uneven (some plants are at the 4-leaf stage and some are earlier), keep scouting until most of the crop has at least 3 or 4 true leaves.
Step 7. Check canola fields frequently. Seed treatment insecticide starts working when the seed imbibes water and it can remain active for about 3-4 weeks after that point. If you have enough moisture for seed to imbibe and germinate, you have enough to solubilize the active ingredient and allow it to move into the plant. High levels of flea beetles can overwhelm seed treatments. Flea beetles need to consume some plant tissue to get a dose of the protectant. And in a slow developing crop, seed treatments can lose their protective capacities before the crop reaches the 4-leaf stage. Scouting often during these first three weeks, and if levels are building and are close to thresholds, daily checking for a few days may be required.
Step 8. If spraying is required, only use pesticides registered for flea beetles in canola. Refer to product labels for proper use instructions. No pre-harvest interval concerns exist at this stage, but this could be a deciding factor on which product to use later in the season. Specific products are limited to one application per season and a grower may want to keep these in reserve.

Further reading:

Five things you need to know about flea beetles
Canola Watch library of flea beetle articles
Canola Encyclopedia chapter on flea beetles
Subscribe to our podcast

How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

| All eggplant pests | All crops | About guidelines |

Eggplant

Flea Beetles

Scientific Names: Epitrix fuscula, E. hirtipennis, Systena blanda

(Reviewed 4/10, updated 4/10, pesticides updated 5/16)

In this Guideline:

  • Description of the pests
  • Damage
  • Management
  • Publication
  • Glossary

DESCRIPTION OF THE PESTS

Flea beetles are present throughout the growing season but are primarily a concern in the month following transplanting.

The adult Epitrix fuscula flea beetle is a small (2 mm), black beetle, whereas E. hirtipennis is brown. Like all flea beetle adults, their hind legs are thickened, allowing them to jump rapidly. Eggs are laid in the soil near the bases of plants. They hatch in about one week and larvae remain in the soil and feed on roots for 2 to 3 weeks. They pupate in the soil and after 7 to 10 days, adults emerge and move to the plant where they feed on leaves for 2 months or more.

The adult palestriped flea beetle, Systena blanda, is about 0.12 inch (3 mm) long and has a shiny brown body with a broad white stripe down each wing.

Most flea beetles overwinter in the adult stage in plant debris in the field, on field margins, and in adjacent areas. Adults emerge in spring to feed and lay eggs.

DAMAGE

Flea beetle adults can be very destructive to young plants, often defoliating and killing them. They cause the greatest damage by feeding on cotyledons, stems, and foliage. Older leaves and plants are usually more tolerant of their feeding.

MANAGEMENT

The key to preventing flea beetle damage is early detection.

Cultural Control

Methods that may provide partial control of these beetles, which can be especially important in organically certified crops, include the use of trap crops such as Chinese Southern Giant Mustard (Brassica juncea var. crispifolia), interplanting with radishes (‘Chinese Daikon’ or ‘Snow Belle’), the use of row covers, white or yellow stick traps, and good field sanitation. For more information on cultural control options, see Flea Beetle: Organic Control Options.

Organically Acceptable Methods

Cultural controls and sprays of PyGanic or the Entrust formulation of spinosad are acceptable for use on an organically certified crop.

Monitoring and Treatment Decisions

Monitor young transplants every few days the first month after planting for damage because flea beetles can move quickly into a field. If damage is detected, consider a treatment to prevent loss of plants.

Common name Amount per acre** REI‡ PHI‡
(Example trade name) (hours) (days)
UPDATED: 5/16
The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least harmful to natural enemies, honey bees, and the environment are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to air and water quality, resistance management, and the pesticide’s properties and application timing. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read the label of the product being used.
A. SPINOSAD
(Entrust)# 1.25–2.5 oz 4 1
(Success) 4–8 oz 4 1
MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 5
COMMENTS: Early treatment provides only about 50% suppression of flea beetles, but the Entrust formulation is an organically acceptable alternative. Do not exceed 29 fl oz of Success or 9 oz of Entrust/acre per crop. Toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
B. CLOTHIANIDIN
(Belay) 3–4 fl oz 12 7
MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 4A
COMMENTS: Toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
C. THIAMETHOXAM
(Actara) 2–3 oz 12 0
(Platinum) 5–11 fl oz 12 30
MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 4A
COMMENTS: Highly toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
D. PERMETHRIN
(Pounce 25WP)* 6.4–9.6 oz 12 3
MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3A
COMMENTS: Highly toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
E. ESFENVALERATE
(Asana XL)* 5.8–9.6 fl oz 12 7
MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3A
COMMENTS: Highly toxic to bees; do not spray directly or allow to drift onto blooming crops or weeds where bees are foraging.
F. PYRETHRIN#
(PyGanic 1.4EC) Label rates 12 0
MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NUMBER1: 3A
COMMENTS: Short residual material; always buffer pyrethrin to pH 5.5 or lower.
** See label for dilution rates.
Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
* Permit required from county agricultural commissioner for purchase or use.
# Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
1 Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action group number more than twice per season to help prevent the development of resistance. For example, the organophosphates have a group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a group number other than 1B. Mode-of-action group numbers are assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee).

PUBLICATION

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Eggplant
UC ANR Publication 3475

Insects and Mites

J. L. Aguiar, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County
M. J. Jimenez, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
P. B. Goodell, UC IPM, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Parlier

Acknowledgments for contributions to Insects and Mites:

R. H. Molinar, UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County

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