Controlling flea beetles in your garden
WHAT ARE FLEA BEETLES?
Last spring I discovered that a number of my vegetable seedlings were under attack. The opponent– flea beetles. When the opponent was determined, I had to prepare a swift counter attack.
Flea beetles appear like small black or brown specks on the leaves of a plant. It’s tough to spot flea beetles from a range, so flea beetle infestations can easily go undetected. Frequently the very first sign of a flea beetle infestation is brown, yellowing or splotchy looking leaves. When you take a closer appearance, you can see the flea beetles crawling around on the plant. An easy method to make a favorable identification is to interrupt the plant or surrounding soil. Flea beetles jump around when they are disturbed.
My flea beetle invasion was so bad that the ground seemed to be moving. Is your skin crawling yet? Mine was.
Flea beetles can eliminate seedlings in a brief time– at a minimum they will stunt the growth of immature plants. But once the plants are big enough, the flea beetle isn’t as much of an issue anymore. There’s not much you can do to get rid of flea beetles, you simply have to manage them enough time for the seedlings to grow out of the damage.
I attempted several techniques for controlling my flea beetle infestation. I chose methods I believed would be inexpensive, easy to attempt, and obviously organic. No other way am I spraying pesticides.
NATURAL TECHNIQUES FOR CONTROLLING FLEA BEETLES
Soapy water– Soapy water kills flea beetles on contact, but has no residual effect. I attempted to spray my plants two times a day up until the infestation was under control.
Mulch– I’ve read blended evaluations about using mulch to control flea beetles, however it seems to work well in my beds, a minimum of to slow them down. I utilized straw and leaves around some of the seedlings, and hardwood mulch around others.
Coffee grounds– I sprayed coffee premises on and around the seedlings in one area first to check it out. After a few days, there were absolutely fewer flea beetles around those seedlings than the others I didn’t treat. So I went to a local cafe and got a container filled with coffee premises to spread in the other beds too.
Eggshells– I utilize squashed up eggshells as natural pest control. When ground into a fine powder, the eggshells get under the shells of the flea beetles and eliminate them. Diatomaceous Earth is another fantastic and affordable choice for managing flea beetles. You can buy diatomaceous earth here.
Compost– I discovered that the seedlings in the raised beds I had actually filled with fresh compost prior to planting were unaffected. But I wasn’t sure if that was because the flea beetles had not discovered those seedlings yet, or if it was because of the compost. I included a fresh layer of compost to the plagued beds (prior to including the coffee grounds), which seems to slow down the flea beetles.
Ladybugs– I purchase ladybugs every year and launch them in my gardens. Ladybugs are wonderful predators in the garden.
Neem Oil– Neem oil is an excellent natural method to combat bugs in the garden, and it works on flea beetles. Neem oil likewise has a residual result, so you do not have to spray it every day. You can purchase neem oil here.
After about a week of combating the flea beetle invasion, my seedlings were significantly much healthier and the flea beetles weren’t as prolific. After a couple of weeks, the seedlings grew bigger, and the flea beetle invasion was no longer a problem.