Friday, October 6, 2017

Flea Beetles Again

Flea beetle attack! They're back! So I looked up on this blog to see when and where I had flea beetle problems in the past. Turns out it was March 2015 in the exact same area. 

(While these bean plants are mature and aging anyway, the flea beetles caused severe damage to the leaves.) 

Back in 2015 I tried all sorts of things to rid the bed of flea beetles. Frankly, without resorting the big chemical attack or flamethrower, nothing quite worked. The best was the safer soap with pyrethins, but I learned that one needs to start spraying the moment the first flea beetle is seen. Otherwise they've laid eggs and it too late to eliminate them without daily spraying. I'd skip a few days and check....scads of beetles again. In the end I ripped out everything that the little bugs would eat and planted a resistant crop for 9 months. That seemed to get rid of them. But they're back again. Happily I was able to harvest several crops of beans, peas, and potatoes in this spot before the beetles returned. 

(A close up of the damage. The leaves bleach out. A few beetles are on the tops of the leaves but the vast majority are on the undersides.) 

Plan of attack : 
Remove all susceptible plants from the area. 
Till in generous amounts of compost and manure. 
Plant a crop that flea beetles won't attack. 
Wait 6 to 9 months before planting beans, peas, or potatoes again. 

I notice that this type of flea beetle also likes sweet potatoes. So I'll need to watch my sweets in the adjacent growing areas for beetles. 

Above, all those little black spots on the bottom of the leaf are flea beetles. 


  1. I vote for the flamethrower, Seems like that is the quickest way to destroy the most beatles and their eggs before they move to another host plant. It worked very well for tent caterpillars when they were on the end of a limb before they started to spread over the rest of the tree.

    1. You know, at first I discounted your idea. But the more I think about it, the more I like it. Fireflashing those little buggah and incinerating them may possibly work, but it surely would bring deep satisfaction! Of course, the plants would be killed too. But just think about all those beetles destroyed! Yes, it might be worth it. I already have one of those weed dragons, so I plan to give it a go next time I see large populations of pests. Flea beetles. Aphids. Black onion aphids. Every time I remove infested plants, hundreds or thousands of those pests are knocked off and left behind in the garden. So now I'll try flaming them to death before pulling out the plants. I'll let you know how it works out.
      Thanks for the suggestion!