Flea beetles are small, shiny, and dark-coloured beetles that can be a major problem. They are named for their ability to jump like fleas when disturbed.
These pests can damage crops by feeding on leaves, stems, and roots. The hallmark sign of a flea beetle infestation is lots of tiny holes in the leaves; some might not go through all the way.
Flea beetles are most active in warm, dry weather and can rapidly reproduce in favourable conditions.
They can overwinter in garden debris and soil, making it important to clean up garden areas thoroughly in the autumn.
Organic Control Methods
These are often used for controlling fungus gnats indoors, but they work equally well outdoors and for flea beetles.
They are sticky cards that the flea beetles get stuck to as they jump between plants.
You need some sticks to feed through the cards; I then put them in between my radish and Chinese cabbage, which were under attack.
As you can see below, they clearly work. But they work a little too well.
There are a lot of insects here that are not flea beetles.
I don’t want to wipe out my insect numbers, so we need a change of tact.
Neem oil is a natural insecticide that can help control flea beetle numbers while being completely organic.
I bought the below bottle of Amazon. This is a mix with an emulsifier so you can dilute it with water easily.
I got this pressure sprayer at the same time to apply the neem oil.
Simply mix the neem oil and water in the pressure bottle and then spray it onto your affected plants.
The mixture goes a milky white when it is mixed with water.
This seemed reasonably effective, and although I still saw flea beetles after the first application, their numbers where reduced.
Apply in the morning or evening and not in the middle of the day. This is because the heat of the sun can burn the neem oil onto the leaves of your plants, causing damage.
This is the best way to deal with flea beetles, as long as you set it up before the problem begins.
As you can tell from all the photos above, I didn’t do this.
So I went with a three-pronged approach to remove my flea beetles.
Sticky traps, neem oil, and then netting over the top.
The sticky traps and neem oil should help get rid of the flea beetles already attacking my plants while the netting will stop any more from getting in.
I used this Haxnicks easy tunnel. It has the metal supports already in so setup is easy.
You just pull the tunnel out and push it into the soil.
So there we have it, my insect-proof tunnel with sticky traps inside and neem oil applied regularly.
So the question you will have now is: did it work?
Well, so far so good. The plants are doing well, and I can’t see signs of damage on the younger leaves yet. So, for the time being, at least, it looks like this solution has worked well.
Use of Beneficial Insects
One effective way to control flea beetles organically is by introducing beneficial insects into the garden.
Ladybugs, lacewings, and parasitic wasps are some of the insects that prey on flea beetles. These insects can be purchased and released into the garden.
They will help control the flea beetle population without harming other beneficial insects.
Another effective way to control flea beetles is by planting trap crops. Trap crops are plants that are particularly attractive to flea beetles.
By planting these crops away from the main garden, flea beetles will be drawn to them instead of the main crops. This can help protect the main crops from damage.
Some examples of trap crops for flea beetles include radish, mustard, and arugula.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I naturally control flea beetles in my garden?
There are several organic methods to control flea beetles in your garden. One of the best ways is to use row covers, which are lightweight fabrics that are draped over plants to protect them from pests.
Another effective method is to use sticky traps placed around the garden to trap the beetles. You can also use beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which are natural predators of flea beetles.
What are some organic methods to get rid of flea beetles?
Organic methods to get rid of flea beetles include using neem oil, a natural pesticide effective against many pests, including flea beetles.
You can also use insecticidal soap, which is made from natural ingredients and is safe for use around humans and pets. A
nother effective method is to use diatomaceous earth, which is a natural powder that is effective against many pests, including flea beetles.
Are coffee grounds effective in deterring flea beetles?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that coffee grounds effectively deter flea beetles. While some gardeners swear by this method, it is not a proven or reliable pest control method.
Which natural treatments are best for flea beetle control?
The best natural treatments for flea beetle control include row covers, sticky traps, beneficial insects, neem oil, insecticidal soap, and diatomaceous earth.
These methods are safe, effective, and environmentally friendly.
Can garlic spray be used as a deterrent for flea beetles?
Some people say it works, others not. I have not tried it myself.
To make garlic spray, simply crush several cloves of garlic and mix them with water.
Allow the mixture to sit overnight, then strain it and spray it on your plants. However, it is important to note that garlic spray can also harm beneficial insects, so use it sparingly and only when necessary.
Is it possible to spray for flea beetles using organic methods?
Yes, it is possible to spray for flea beetles using organic methods. Neem oil, insecticidal soap, and garlic spray are all effective organic pesticides that can be used to control flea beetles.
However, it is important to use these methods sparingly and only when necessary, as they can also harm beneficial insects.