Palestriped Flea Beetle
palestriped beetle
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 to seedling
Damage to seedling
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.

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
Additional Resource
NDSU Extension Bulletin 25 - Revised 9/2007 file size: 5591 kb

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