Search The Rusted Garden Blog: Just Enter A Vegetable or Phrase

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Battling Vegetable Garden Insects (Flea Beetles): Greener versus Fully Green

What are Flea Beetles? They are little hopping black beetles. They look like tiny pure black specks of round dirt on your plant. Where do they show up in our area... on eggplants and peppers. They do invade other plants at times. The damage is holes, the size of a pin. If you tap your eggplant you will see them jump.

There is a totally green method to handle flea beetles. That is to cover your plants with crop fabric before the beetles come to feed. You would have to roll it (protection) and unroll it for harvesting and tending. That is simply too much work for me. You could also find other green products that work. I haven't found any. I have been through many sprays and even made a few.

That is why I garden with attempts to reduce chemicals and become greener. It works for me. I use styro-foam cups versus peat pots. You know why? The cups are cheaper but more importantly they don't mold, grow algae, or wick water away. I tend to get more 'damping off' with peat. I do recycle the cups for re-use. I could use plastic containers but they are a petroleum product too. You need to use what works for your situation.

Flea beetles can be killed off in 24 hours with a small dusting of Sevin Dust. That is only 1 treatment. I used it 10 days ago on my eggplant and still no return of the beetles. Dusting it 1 or 2 times weekly is not needed and just puts extra poison in your garden. The flea beetles will return. It has to do with their life cycle I am sure. They will get a small dusting when they return. Use what works wisely. With two or three dustings over a season, I get huge eggplants.

Peppers will get flea beetles. They don't seem to like them as much as eggplant. If you notice holes. Same process. A little dust.

I did come up with an idea for the green cabbage worms. The fabric cloth is a barrier. It lets light and water in. The white butterfly moth winged creature demons bring the cabbage worm eggs to your garden. They are only around for like 2 weeks. I can use that knowledge to prevent the eggs from getting on my kales and cabbage greens. Next year I plan to cover them for that 2 week period of the insects life cycle. This should prevent the eggs from getting on my vegetables. Very green.

If You Use Amazon, Please Support The Rusted Garden via My Amazon Affilate