Flea Beetles

by Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian


Small (1/10 inch), black, brown or bronze insect with enlarged hind legs found on leaves, buds and open blooms of many vegetables, fruit (including grapes), flowers, and weeds that jump like a flea


Small “shotholes” in the foliage (adults)
“Snaky” markings on potatoes and other root crops (larvae)


Larvae and adult forms of flea beetles belonging to the family Chrysomelidae, found throughout North America


Typically become active during warm daysMultiple generations per year in warm climatesLike to hide in cool, weedy areas



  • Maintain good garden sanitation; control weeds in and around the garden or vegetable area and eliminate, as much as possible, trash in which the beetles can over winter
  • If present on other vegetable or fruit crops, cultivate frequently to kill eggs and remove infected plants after harvest
  • Thick mulches may also help reduce the number by interfering with activity of the root and soil stages
  • Diatomaceous earth is one of the more effective repellents, applied as a dry powder to the plants
  • Horticultural oils and some neem insecticides also have some repellent effect
  • Encourage beneficial nematodes


Insecticides should not normally be necessary and are not very effective when populations are high


Generally only a nuisance for roses; injuries are usually minor and easily outgrown on established plants. May be a more significant pest for the vegetable garden, where seedlings are most at risk. Used as a beneficial for some crop pests.

Photo from Ohio State University website

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