Friday, June 26, 2015

Flea Beetles

A small metallic beetle on a plant
Flea beetle on Guara (Photo: NMSU-PDC)
Featured Diagnosis: Flea Beetles. Numerous samples of flea beetles (Altica sp.) have recently been submitted for indentification. This 4-5mm metallic beetle, is a hopping but harmless nuisance pest indoors, but outdoors, adults can sketetonize foliage on a variety of garden and landscape plants ranging from evening primrose and Guara to grapes and apples. Like all flea beetles, the upper portions of the hind legs are enlarged and full of muscles, allowing the flea beetle to jump to safety when disturbed. Flea beetles overwinter as adults under plant debris or on weeds and in soil. In early spring they begin feeding on foliage. Females deposit eggs near the soil-line where the larvae emerge in about a week. The larvae are white and worm-like and are found feeding on plant roots. Larvae feed for up to three weeks. They pupate in the soil and the adults emerge in about two weeks. Larvae of most flea beetle species cause little damage to the roots.

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Small metallic beetles feeding on a plant and creating holes in the leaves
Flea beetles and feeding
damage on Guara
(Photo: NMSU-PDC)

A composite photo of a flea beetle. The photo on the left is the upper side of the metallic green beetle and the photo on the right is the underside.
Adult flea beetle (notice the large, muscular, hind legs)
(Photo: NMSU-PDC)

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