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Flea Beetle

June 7, 2000

A flea beetle, probably Altica litigata, has started attacking evening primrose this year. It was reported at the end of May on Missouri primrose in Grundy County by Deb Favaro. The adult insect is about 1/8 inch long and is metallic blue to bronze in color. It is a roundish beetle that jumps when it is disturbed. These adults eat small holes in foliage, but most of the damage comes from the larvae, which do extensive window feeding. They eat one leaf surface and interior mesophyll, leaving one leaf surface or epidermis intact. This surface is whitish at first but soon dries and turns brown. The larvae grow to about 3/8 inch long and are slender and blackish with short spines all over their bodies. Carbaryl (Sevin) provides control of this insect.

Author: Phil Nixon


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