Flea beetle is called by group of small beetles in the family of beetles that have highly developed hind and jumps when disturbed.
There are several species of beetles which some cause damage of economic importance. For example, the Crucifer flea beetle arrived from Europe in the 1920s. It is now, and by far the most common flea beetle and one that causes the most damage in cruciferous crops in the Canada. Several species are highly specialized and cause little damage.
They can be categorized according to the cultures that they attack. In practice, it is difficult to catch the beetles without resorting to the trapping, which complicates the identification. Most species of flea beetles are dark and glossy and range from 2 to 5 mm in length. The antennas are half to two-thirds of the length of the body depending on the species.
Flea beetles Hibernate in the adult stage more often under leaves, residues or in the soil at the edge of the fields, woodland, ditches and fences. The Crucifer flea beetle has a survival rate of 25 to 50% under leaf litter in Manitoba. They leave early from hibernation (mid-May to end of May) and tackle the weeds. When they feel the presence of cultivated plants, they occur by the dozens. The foliage damaged by a flea beetle that the smell of the plant is stronger and that’s what attracts even more flea beetles. Flea beetles can fly up to a kilometer away to find their favorite plants.
Adults feed for several weeks after which the females lay their clutches of eggs at the base of the plants, close to the soil surface. Some species lay eggs on plants. Each female lays a hundred eggs which will take one to two weeks to hatch. The larvae then feed on roots of plants for two weeks and then reach the stage of pupae to emerge as adults 12 days later.
Some species have two generations in southern Quebec and Ontario.
Flea beetles damage especially seedlings, early in the growing season. Crops in light soils by hot, dry weather are the most affected.
The attacked species vary depending on the species of flea beetles. To simplify, we can say that flea beetles of the genus Phyllotreta tackles to Diamondback, Epitrix primarily to Solanaceae genus and the genus Altica in Rosaceae. Amongst cultivated plants, plants most often affected by the beetle families are cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels, kohlrabi, turnip, cabbage, mustard) and Solanaceae (potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes).
Characteristic damage of the flea beetle is the small round holes on the leaves that give an appearance that is riddled with plants.
The damages are very often that cosmetics but can be important for example in the fields of mustard from the West or for the Eggplant and spinach, cultures that can be destroyed by the beetles. Most of the damage is then in the first week after the emergence of the seedlings, either attack from the cotyledons. In the case of mustard and canola, the flea beetles reduce yields, delayed maturity, decrease the quality of the oil and plant height.
Flea beetles can also eat away the stem below the soil surface.
Depending on the species, the larvae damage is different. Most larvae feed on the roots of plants at the base of which the adults laid eggs. These damages are often negligible and do not endanger the life of the plant, but sometimes, as in the case of the Western potato flea beetle, the culture is compromised by the larvae. In the same way, radishes and turnips are damaged by the flea beetle attacking cruciferous. The larvae of some species feed on the leaves or make tunnels in the stem. If you have a problem with wildlife or pests on your property, visit City of Toronto Raccoon Removal to get more information. Toronto Animal Pest Control and Removal can help.
Means of control:
The white sticky traps or installed near the plants to be protected or even yellow before transplanting plants will help trap the beetles. Vincent and Stewart (1986) showed that white traps were more effective than traps red or green in the case of the flea beetle Diamondback and the turnip flea beetle. Generally, the yellow traps are the most used.
In the same vein, a box or a concave surface, the inner walls of the appropriate color are coated with glue, can be passed over to protect crops. The beetles will be trapped as the progresses while it jumps when disturbed. Lawrence Hills of Henry Doubleday Research Association in England even suggested the use of a cart to flea beetles. The trolley is passed over the rows of young plants, disturbing flea taking subsurface of trolley. The large wheels prevent lateral movement of the beetles.
In vineyards, Cox recommends placing at intervals of about 15′ on row of containers of light yellow color (or painted in light yellow) plastics sticky when first leaves. Regular inspection and replacement of the containers covered with beetles follow.
Of plates or yellow containers filled with water attract flea beetles while drowning. It is best to remove the traps when the high season of flea beetles is passed; to do steps unnecessarily catch of beneficial insects that are also attracted to the yellow. Some gardeners have managed to trap flea traps of beer, such as those used for the slugs.