Getting to Know Him
I am sure you have seen these little guys jumping around in the garden They are known for attacking eggplant and members of the brassica family. They also like peppers, melons, tomatoes and spinach. Flea beetles like to attack young plants. Flea beetles are between 1/16 and 1/8 inch small. They come in a variety of colors from black, bluish bronze, metallic grey, or brown. Flea Beetles over winter as adults in plant debris, leafs and windrows and wooded areas. Then they lay eggs either singly or in clusters at the plant base on roots, on leaves or in soil. The larvae then feed on the root hairs and roots of the plants.
Healthy fertile plants are less likely to be attacked by pests in general. Make sure that your plants are fertilized and watered. Make sure that you mulch your soil, as flea beetles love bare soil. If the soil is mulched the flea beetle has no place to lay it’s eggs.
Fall cleaning of the garden and tilling are your first defense. by getting rid of the debris in your garden the flea beetles have no place to hide. We have multiple seasons so turn under your crop residue as soon as you are finished with your crop. Do not plant brassicas in the same place during the year, rotate them, so the flea beetles can not find them or feed on them. Turning over the garden in the fall and planting with a cover crop will get rid of any remaining pests and their eggs.
One of the known beneficials that is a predator of flea beetles is the braconid wasp Microcotonus vittage Muesebeck. Plant varieties of flowers and herbs to keep them around such as dill, anise, cilantro, carrot flower and fennel.
Cover cropping helps keep plants less vulnerable against bare soil, so that seedlings blend in with the landscape. The flea beetles have a harder time finding the young plants.
Using row covers, especially in the first three weeks of the plants life will protect your plants from damage of the flea beetle.
Trap Crop and Delayed Plantings
Plant Daikon and Snow Belle Radishes and Chinese Southern Giant Mustard in broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. This will attract the flea beetles to the trap crop so you can kill them, and they will leave your main crops alone.
Delaying your plantings 2 weeks can help avoid the onslaught of a large feeding frenzy.
Yellow and White Sticky Traps
P.O. Box 4247
Tucson, AZ 85738-1247
This has two active ingredients made from the neem tree seeds. Make sure to apply early in the morning or late in the evening.
Are made from the seed cases of the pyrethrum flower, a species of chrysanthemum flower. It is the safest around food.
Diatomaceous Earth (Silicon Dioxide)
Ground up fossilized one celled diatoms that pierce the exoskeleton of many pests. It is used as a drench only in a powdered form.
This is a fungi from the Fungi Imperfecti class that was believed to have come here with the ant itself and is it’s natural enemy. When the fungi attaches itself to the ant, spores grow on and into the body of the ant and the ant dies. This is a natural and safe treatment as it is just a natural fungi.
This is a beneficial parasitic nematode. It works by killing the larvae. It is actually a scarp. You can purchase these right now at Garden-ville for $10. They kill many other pests in your garden and lawn as well.
This is a plant from Central America and Mexico that is from the lily family. The seeds are used for the insecticide.
Spinosad is made of spinosyns A and D, they are substances that are made by aerobic fermentation. The species that is being fermented is Saccharopolysora spinosa of the actinomycete species. They were found in the Caribbean in soil samples in 1982. They are the filamentous bacteria that are in the soil that give it that sweet earthy smell. Spinosad works by ingestion, activating the nervous system of the insect, causing loss of muscle control. The insect dies of exhaustion because of the continuous activation of motor neurons. This usually happens within one to two days.
Kaolin clay is a particle film barrier and can offer some protection for the organic grower. Kaolin clay is an anti-caking agent used in toothpaste and other ingredients. It was accepted onto the OMRI list in 2000. It acts as a barrier between the pest and the plant by forming a film.
Insecticide that combines pyrethrins and canola oil. Make sure to use this in the early morning or late evening.