Palestriped Flea Beetle
The species of concern is Systena blanda which became a serious problem in central South Dakota in the late 1990s. The flea beetle adult is about 1/8 inch long and is shiny black with two white strips on the back. The beetle has enlarged back legs which aids in jumping. It feeds on a significant number of host plants including most vegetables, alfalfa and soybean.
Life Cycle: This is not well understood. It appears that the adult overwinters in plant debris and emerges in the spring.
Damage: The flea beetle is a chewing insect and attacks the new cotyledons causing them to wilt and die. The injured plants appear to be sand blasted. Heavy incidence will reduce plant stand.
Economic Thresholds: Control with an insecticide is recommended when 20 percent of the plant stand is injured or at risk of plant loss.
Scouting Method: The plant injury is easily recognized at early emergence. The flea beetles move quickly and are difficult to count.
Management: Flea beetle damage has been eliminated by insecticide seed treatments such as Cruiser® and Idol®.
Research: There is no additional research being conducted on the Palestriped flea beetle now that insecticide seed treatments are available and control the problem.
Photos: Visit the Photo Gallery.
For further information, click on the link below. Another resource about Insects can be found in the Archive section of The Sunflower magazine.
Source: NDSU Extension Bulletin 25 Sunflower Production Handbook, NDSU Extension Service, September 2007
NDSU Extension Bulletin 25 - Revised 9/2007 (document) File Size: 5461 kb