Potato Pests - Flea Beetles
Tuber flea beetle larval feeding results in a pimpled surface and small dark holes.
For more information on the description, life history, damage, and management of this pest, click here.
Adults will chew holes in leaves and larvae can reduce plant health by feeding on roots and fine root hairs, but both of these types of injuries do not usually cause economic loss. However, some species, such as the tuber flea beetle , may cause significant damage in potato tubers. Tuber flea beetle larvae feed on roots, underground stems, and tubers. Tuber feeding results in small brown tunnels in the tuber and a pimpled surface. Severe tuber feeding can leave potatoes unmarketable for the fresh and processing markets. Tunnels will be filled with insect frass (excrement) that may stain the potato skin and flesh.
- Avoid planting susceptible crops after potatoes. Crop rotations are generally ineffective against flea beetles because of their extreme mobility; however, potato tuber flea beetle populations tend to be greater in areas where potatoes were previously planted. Thus it is important to avoid planting highly susceptible crops after potatoes.
Image 1, Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
Image 2, Art Cushman, USDA Systematics Entomology Laboratory, Bugwood.org