Flea beetles, despite their little size, may be a major problem for both home gardeners and farms. It’s possible to keep them out of your garden with row covers, diatomaceous earth, and neem oil.
Let’s take a closer look at this pest to better understand its life cycle and how to prevent harm to your plants so that you may have a beautiful garden.
In most gardens, flea beetles (Chrysomelidae) are annoying insects that may do a lot of harm if left unchecked. Cauliflower, broccoli, kale, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, and peppers, as well as potatoes and maize, are among their favorite foods.
Flea bugs nibbling on the buds of flowers in the garden. Flea bugs in the garden, little and black. Small garden insects, flea beetles measure between 1/16 and 1/8 of an inch in length (1.58 to 3.17 mm).
However, the spinach flea beetle is an exception to this rule, growing to a length of 0.25 inches (0.635 mm).
Many hues are available, not simply the standard black. Other flea beetles might be brown, blueish, golden, or metallic grey. The majority of them are solidly colored, although there is a handful that has stripes. While they’ll seem to be little specks on your plants, they’ll rapidly scatter as you go close.
It’s possible that the flea beetles got their name from their resemblance to the common house flea, which has a black hue and outstanding leaping power.
Tiny cream-colored worms that are 1/8 to 1/3 of an inch (3.17 to 8.46 mm) long are the larvae. Plants that are just beginning to grow are their primary food source.
Flea beetles are most often seen in:
- Crucifer flea beetle (Phyllotreta Cruciferae)
- Spinach flea beetle (Disonycha xanthomelas)
- Striped flea beetle (P. Striolata)
- Potato flea beetle (Epitrixcucumeris)
- Western black flea beetle (P. Pusilla)
During the colder months, flea beetles hibernate in garden waste, brush, and forested places. Their feeding season begins as soon as the temperature rises to 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) in early April.
Small white eggs are laid by these insects in the soil near the roots of plants. It takes around seven days for the eggs to hatch, after which the white larva will feed on plant roots for two to three weeks. As they burrow into the ground, the larvae resemble little white grubs. There is an off-white tint to their body with a brown head.
When they reach a size of 0.11 to 0.15 inches, the larval stage lasts 25 to 34 days (3 to 4 mm). They pupate for 7 to 9 days before resuming the pest cycle as an adult.
It is possible to get rid of flea beetles from your garden in an environmentally friendly manner.
Using food-grade diatomaceous earth to control flea beetles is a great idea. Just a few drops on the plants and surrounding soil will do. Using this organic powder, you may kill the beetles while they’re still on your plants by cutting through their shells.
You may also protect your plants with neem oil, another organic substance. Neem oil disrupts insect egg production by interfering with natural hormones. Spraying it directly on pests may also kill a large number of them since it covers their bodies and makes it difficult for insects to breathe.
Before spraying your whole garden, test a tiny part of your plant with this oil, as you should with all oils, natural or otherwise.
A common method of controlling pests in the garden is to use insecticidal soap. Spraying it directly on an insect may cause asphyxia, which is how it kills them.
Soap on plant leaves may also cause insects to flee since they find it unpleasant to consume.
When it comes to flea beetles, yellow sticky traps are an excellent non-toxic alternative. To capture flea beetles as they hop from plant to plant, use these traps throughout your garden.
It’s a good idea to protect your seedlings against flea beetles as soon as they sprout in the spring.
Planting a few weeks later is a simple strategy to safeguard your plants from the weather. Your garden produce will be less of a temptation when more wild plants are growing outdoors.
Protect your plants from flea beetles with floating row coverings. Immediately after their transplantation into the garden, they should be placed on top of your plants.
It’s also critical to keep the perimeter well-sealed, so pests can’t get in. Only if you keep the row covers off the plants’ tops and seal the edges securely can you keep pests at bay.
Braconid wasps and tachinid flies are only two examples of flea beetle predators in the wild. Plants that attract beneficial insects to your garden can help you to do just that.
A wide variety of plants, including thyme, catnip, dill, chamomile, anise, clover, and marigolds, attract parasitic wasps and other insects that feed on pests. Preventing flea beetle damage requires action early in the season.
Keep the beetles away from your veggies by using row covers or natural insecticides the moment your seedlings are transplanted into the garden.
The first step in controlling flea beetles is to understand who your adversary is. If startled, these pesky little bugs, which resemble beetles, will hoppingly flee. Lice spend the winter in the garden, eventually maturing into adults in the spring. It’s possible to see as many as two generations of tiny insects each year. Colors may range from brown to tan to black depending on the variety’s markings;
Without chemical control, preventing damage is much simpler than dealing with flea beetles. Pest control using natural methods is desirable, particularly in the vegetable garden where flea beetles may do the greatest harm.