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Flea Beetles

Flea Beetle Control

Family Chrysomelidae

The flea beetle is the generic name for a variety small jumping beetle species. Some flea beetles are brightly colored and others drab; they are usually about 1/10" in length. One exception to this size is the Spinach Flea Beetle(Disonycha xanthomelas) which measures at ¼" long. The larvae are also small at approximately ¼" in length.

Most species feed on specific plants. The exception to this is the Pale-striped Flea Beetle (Systena blanda) that feeds on many different plants ranging from cultivated vegetables to weeds. Some common hosts of flea beetles include: watermelon, pumpkins, peas, beans, eggplant, sweet potatoes, beets, spinach, and potatoes.

Flea beetles feed on foliage and roots in their larval stage, chewing small holes through leaves that give the plant a "shotgun" appearance and causing leaves to wilt and turn brown. They can also contaminate corn with Stewarts Bacterial Wilt and other diseases.

They overwinter as adults either underground or in plant debris and are most active in April and May. Because they overwinter in plant debris, keeping a clean garden is the first step in controlling their population. Here are some additional control options:

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