My eggplants have small black, weevil-like bugs eating them. They leave lace-like remnants of the leaves. What can I do?

Gardens & Landscapes January 08, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF
Your eggplants are being attacked by flea beetles. Adult flea beetles feed on the leaves of cabbage, radish, corn, horseradish, tomato, kale, cucumber, melon, grape, spinach, potato, eggplant, and related vegetable crops. Slow-growing transplants and seedlings may be heavily damaged by the flea beetle and may even die. Organic control measures: Row-cover materials can be used to cover seedlings and provide a barrier to adult beetles. It is advisable to get the row cover in place at or before emergence for maximum protection. The covers can be removed once the pest population subsides. To be most effective, row covers should be used in conjunction with a planned crop rotation in which the crop to be protected follows a nonsusceptible crop. This reduces the chance that pests will emerge under the row cover. Cultural practices such as destruction of crop residue, weed control and late planting help minimize flea beetle problems. The removal of crop residue reduces the number of favorable overwintering sites for flea beetles. Destroying trash around plant beds also is beneficial. Control of weeds such as horsenettle and pokeweed around garden sites eliminates important early beetle food sources. Delayed planting favors the development of host plants over the establishment of flea beetles. For information on insecticidal sprays (organic and chemical), contact your local Extension office.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.