Pest: Tiny beetles (1/4 to 1/16 inches long) that jump when disturbed. Body color varies by species, black, brown, metallic, white stripes; there are many species. Flea Beetles overwinter as adults in soil, in leaves, and in brushy or woody areas. They emerge in early spring when temperatures reach about 50F. Females lay eggs in the soil at the base of plants. Eggs hatch in 1 or 2 weeks. Larvae feed on plants until fully grown, then pupate in the soil for 11 to 13 days before emerging as adults.
Damage: Flea Beetles prefer cole crops such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, and kale. They occasionally damage flowers, tomatoes, shrubs, and even trees. They make many tiny holes in leaves called “shotholing". Growth may be seriously retarded and plants even killed. Plant appearance is also damaged. Damage is most serious when plants are young and leaves are tender.
Kit Use: Deploy before or when crop is planted. Hang trap with lure attached at each end of crop rows, of if rows are long, just above the row from a cord strung between garden stakes. Raise up the line as the crop matures. Adults are attracted to the trap, land and die. One way to reduce damage to young plants is to delay planting dates of susceptible crops until after overwintering beetles have emerged. Monitor traps for early evidence of Flea Beetle presence and to evaluate population size and effectiveness of treatment strategy.
Note: If you do not catch any Flea Beetles on traps it is likely confirmation they are not present.