Authors as Published

Eric Day and Alexandra Spring, Department of Entomology, Virginia Tech


Many species. Black, brown, or striped beetles; about 1/16 inch long. Active, hops away when disturbed.

Figure 1 Flea Beetles
Fig. 1: left: palestriped flea beetle (Frank Peairs, Colorado State University,; center: tobacco flea beetle (R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Slide Set, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company,, right: a flea beetle (Alton N. Sparks, Jr., University of Georgia,

Common Host Plant(s)

Tomato, pepper, cabbage and related crops, eggplant, beet, spinach, turnip, mustard and radish.


Young plants, especially transplants, are severely damaged. Adults and larvae chew many tiny holes in leaves.

FIgure 1 Flea Beetles
Life stages of the Flea Beetle


Throughout United States.


Adults overwinter in soil; in early spring they begin feeding on crop foliage. Females deposit eggs near the soil line where larvae emerge in about a week and feed on roots. Larvae feed for two to three weeks until reaching maturity and then pupate, emerging from the soil as adults in about two weeks.

Cultural Control

Plow under weed and crop debris in the fall after harvest.

Organic/Biological Control

Dust with diatomaceous earth or rotenone for serious infestations.

Chemical Control

Treat with a registered insecticide when insects appear in damaging numbers. Repeat as needed. Follow all label instructions, precautions, and pre-harvest intervals. FOR SWEET CORN: CAUTION Application of Carbaryl to tassel region of corn during the pollen shedding period will seriously reduce the bee population.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

April 25, 2011

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