You can defeat flea beetles organically! A combo of these two organic sprays will win the war.  Flea beetle damage is something plants can grow through.

Flea beetle damage on seedlings

Flea beetles are nasty little creatures!  Everything is going along just fine in your garden when you head out one day to see your leaves bit to heck!  There are some things you can do to stop the cycle organically, but you will need to be diligent.

Flea Beetle Description

You can see the tiny Flea Beetle to the right and the typical damage they cause. They are about 1/10 of an inch in size and will jump like fleas if you hit the leaf. The larvae are in the soil so you don’t see them. Flea beetle larvae can overwinter and often emerge in spring.

Signs of Flea Beetle Damage

  • Flea Beetles attack young plants.
  • They create a shotgun type damage on leaves.
  • Essentially they suck your plants dry.
  • They like Brassicas such as broccoli.
  • Seedlings are mysteriously shriveling and dying.

Treatments and Prevention for Flea Beetles

Because Flea Beetles like young plants it is best to cover crops with row cover when setting seedlings out.  Once your plants are established the beetles really are inconsequential. If you are worried about them from a previous year you should drench the soil with parasitic nematodes to devour the larvae.  You can buy these at your garden store or online. Be sure to do when temperatures are at the suggested level.

treating flea beetle damage organically

To get rid of an infestation use Spinosad.  Spray the leaves as the day is warming up, but not when plants are cooking in the sun.  I like to water one day, as droughts encourage them, and then spray the next morning about 11 am.  They tend to come out from the soil when it’s warmer.  You will need to repeat probably every 5 days- with three treatments total.  This should break the cycle, but watch to see if any reappear in 14 days.   Make sure to time this around your watering as you do not want to go to the trouble of spraying the beasties and then wash it off. Make sure not to water for 2 full days after spraying.

If your infestation is extreme then I reccomend a rotation of spraying. Spray with Spinosad and wait 2 days.  Water your plants on day three.  Spray with Neem oil on day 4 wait two days, water and repeat the cycle.  Do this for 4 cycles.   FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE PACKAGE FOR CONCENTRATIONS! You can use the same sprayer for these sprays as they are organic.

If your seedlings are being attacked you can be almost sure if they make it to a certain growth point (3 sets of true leaves) the Flea Beetles will not effect them.