Flea beetle

Flea beetle


Very small beetles (not surprising given their name!). Mostly about 2mm long but big bugs can be 3cm to 4mm. Commonly shiny black but some have a yellow stripe down each wing case, some even come in a dark metallic blue. Athletic little pests, they will jump off the leaves if they are disturbed, so go gently if you wish to make sure of catching them.

Flea beetle on cabbageSymptoms

Certain species of the adult flea beetle are fond of cabbages, brussels sprouts, swede and other brassicas; some like potatoes; others are equally fond of Wallflowers, Alyssum, Aubretia and Nasturtiums. Whatever the species they all eat little round holes in the leaves. Either that or they leave the holes part finished and the remaining tissue turns brownish white. It’s not just the adults. The larvae can also cause problems. They feed on the root systems of the plants concerned so if the plant is wilting as well as suffering from holed leaves - look underground.

Watch out for Fuchsias. The blue metallic flea beetle loves these plants and both the adult beetle and the larvae can be found feeding on leaves at the shoot tips.

Treatment and control

General tips: Beetles don’t like it wet so frequent watering will help keep them away.

Spray with a broad spectrum insecticide: Examples are BugClear Ultra Gun! for ornamental plants and edible plants as listed on the pack or BugClear Ultra.