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Monday, August 9, 2010

3 Tips for Managing Flea Beetles on Your Eggplants!

We've been bitten!  Fleas just don't attack your pets, they can attack your plants as well!  Check out the photos of our poor eggplants.  This year we have quite a few eggplant varieties growing in the garden (imperial black beauties, rosa bianca eggplants, snowy eggplants, and Vittoria eggplants), and not one has evaded the wrath of the flea beetle.

Here are a few tips on how you can manage these pesky pests:

1.  Make sure to get rid of your garden debris in the fall to remove overwintering beetles.
2.  Cover your seedlings with a protective covering until they are in the sixth leaf stage.
3.  Use an aluminum foil mulch.

The good news is that this year the fleas planned their attack later in the season than last year which allowed our eggplants a chance to establish themselves before housing these unwanted guests.  We hope our plants will still produce enough healthy fruit to not worry about having to to get rid of the fleas, but we'll be sure to keep you posted!

For more information, check out what the University of California Integrated Pest Management (UCIPM) Program has to say on the topic here.  

Have you had a problem with flea beetles before?  What treatments if any have given you success?  Let us know!

This is how you know you have flea beetles--holey, lacy leaves!  This plant must have been feeding an army!

In this photo you can see our eggplant in the front and our bush beans in the back.  The flea beetles have no interest in munching on those beans at all!  Their tastes are specific!
Despite their porous leaves, these eggplants continue to blossom!
I love the color of the eggplant blossoms, don't you?
We sure hope these blossoms produce delicious fruits despite the unwanted guests!


Angela Pratt said...

Link to Pest Note is busted. Thx for the post, though.

UC Davis Good Life Garden said...

We fixed the busted link...thanks Angela. My apologies for the hassle!