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tarheelchick June 28, 2018 11:27 AM

confirmation on pest??
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I am thinking this is a flea beetle. At least I've been calling it that for several weeks as I try to get rid of them. They are all over my cucumber leaves and occasionally I see them on my tomato leaves, but I think they prefer the cucumber leaf for some reason?? Can y'all confirm that this a flea beetle from this picture? They are tiny, black, and seem to scoot/jump when I flick them. They roam both the top and bottom of the leaves and act like they own the place.

I have been treating with neem oil spraying and in-between spraying I dust with with DE (you may see some white residue on the leave). I also have up some yellow sticky cards, but I mostly catch flies with those. Any other ideas? I am trying to stay organic.

b54red June 28, 2018 12:17 PM

Sure looks like one. Look on the underside of your leaves and you will probably see a lot more of them. They will damage tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans and cucumbers. They are fairly easy to kill but they will keep coming back if there are a lot of them. I spray with a Permethrin and soapy water mix making sure to hit all the leaves and especially the undersides and the ground or mulch underneath the plants.

You may have more of them than you think on your tomato plants. Look for light colored specks on the leaves which is frequently and indicator of flea beetle bites. Lots of very tiny white specks can mean spider mites but they really look totally different. I have sprayed them three times this year and have gotten them under very good control and now hardly see any.


tarheelchick June 28, 2018 03:07 PM

Thanks Bill. I'll have to go looking to see what I can find at the big box store. I get all those "P" words (permethrim, pyrethrin, etc) mixed up sometimes, so I'll be careful to find the one that is approved for organic use. :?!?:

My garden is super small with only enough plants for my family and a few neighbors. Everything is planted directly into the soil. The size makes it easier to try and control pests, but on the other hand more devastating when and if I lose a plant to those buggers!

zipcode June 29, 2018 03:23 AM

They don't like dusty stuff, so DE should help. My grandmother used wood ashes on the cabbage transplants to keep them alive and it does help quite a bit, but it only works as long as everything is well dusted. Rain or high winds, and it's back to 0.

brownrexx June 29, 2018 09:10 AM

I absolutely ALWAYS get flea beetle damage on my eggplant seedlings as soon as I plant them in ground in the garden but this year I tried sprinkling used coffee grounds all around the bases of the 3 plants.

I can't prove that it works because I have no plants without coffee grounds but none of these 3 plants has a single round hole in the leaves but my tomatoes 25 feet away have holes on the lower leaves so I know that there are flea beetles present. I don't worry about the tomato plants because they easily outgrow any damage and flea beetles do not carry any diseases that I know of.

tarheelchick June 29, 2018 09:12 AM

Thanks! I'll be adding coffee grounds tonight when I get home. Can't hurt and might help!

b54red July 2, 2018 06:54 AM

Permethrin is not organic but it is far cheaper and slightly more effective than pryrethrin which is organic I believe. Diatomaceous earth is organic also and might work on flea beetles by itself if you can get good coverage. It can be applied by by dusting or by mixing it in water and straining it into your sprayer to avoid any clumps and adding a little dish washing soap to help keep it suspended and spraying all surfaces of the cucumbers with it along with the mulch under them. It will dry leaving a fine film of DE that will continue to kill until it is washed off or while it is wet. It is best to shake your sprayer every so often to keep it suspended and make sure to thoroughly wash out your sprayer. I usually use a 3/4 cup of food grade DE per gallon of water. Much more and it will clog most sprayers and too little doesn't give good coverage.


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