Flea beetles belong to the tribe Alticini which means “jumps”, and aptly describes these beetles. Some species are referred to as metallic flea beetles because of their metallic colouring. This beetle is easy to identify despite its small size. It has very powerful hind legs and when disturbed will jump just like a flea.
Adult size: 2-4mm
Out and about
The adults are active in early spring.
They like dry, sunny days but as summer heats up their numbers decline. Found worldwide. In Australia they are concentrated on the east coast, particularly in the temperate areas.
Reproduction and Life cycle
The female lays eggs in the soil where the larvae will live until they emerge as adults in the spring.
-sprinkle diatomaceous earth
-spray with neem and use a drench around the plants to target the larvae and pupa.
-lightly digging up the soil around the plants and before the adults emerge may help to destroy the eggs and larvae.
The beetles chew small holes in leaves giving them a lacy effect. They feed on a range of vegetable plants particularly cabbage, potatoes, spinach, herbs and seedlings, causing serious damage and on a large scale will completely destroy the leaves, especially on small leafed plants.
Even a small number of beetles on a plant will disfigure the leaf and this is not desirable on plants such as herbs and greens which are grown for their leaves. Some species have been introduced in Australia and North America to control weeds. In Australia the South American flea beetle Agasicles hygrophila was introduced to control alligator weed.