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3 Tips for Managing Flea Beetles on Your Eggplants!

August 9th, 2010

We’ve been bitten!  Fleas just don’t attack your pets, they can attack your plants as well!  Check out the photos of our poor eggplants.  This year we have quite a few eggplant varieties growing in the garden (imperial black beauties, rosa bianca eggplants, snowy eggplants, and Vittoria eggplants), and not one has evaded the wrath of the flea beetle.
Here are a few tips on how you can manage these pesky pests:
1.  Make sure to get rid of your garden debris in the fall to remove overwintering beetles.
2.  Cover your seedlings with a protective covering until they are in the sixth leaf stage.
3.  Use an aluminum foil mulch.
The good news is that this year the fleas planned their attack later in the season than last year which allowed our eggplants a chance to establish themselves before housing these unwanted guests.  We hope our plants will still produce enough healthy fruit to not worry about having to to get rid of the fleas, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted!
For more information, check out what the University of California Integrated Pest Management (UCIPM) Program has to say on the topic here.  
Have you had a problem with flea beetles before?  What treatments if any have given you success?  Let us know!
This is how you know you have flea beetles–holey, lacy leaves!  This plant must have been feeding an army!
In this photo you can see our eggplant in the front and our bush beans in the back.  The flea beetles have no interest in munching on those beans at all!  Their tastes are specific!
Despite their porous leaves, these eggplants continue to blossom!
I love the color of the eggplant blossoms, don’t you?
We sure hope these blossoms produce delicious fruits despite the unwanted guests!

WEBSITE WEDNESDAY: University of California Integrated Pest Management

June 23rd, 2010

Keeping your edible garden free of bad bugs can be difficult, especially if you are not even sure what type of pest is the problem! This common issue brings us to today’s ‘Website Wednesday’ recommendation–The University of California Integrated Pest Management (UCIPM) website specific to ‘Pests in Gardens and Landscapes–Vegetable and Melons.’

In February this year our gardener Arlene encountered this pest who’d taken up residence on the flip side of a cabbage leaf. We knew it was some kind of moth based on the pupae. Then we found this entry on the IPM website describing the color of the pupae by following the links associated with cabbage pests: “Pupae are green with faint yellow lines down the back and sides; there is no spun cocoon. The cabbageworm is active throughout the year in California.” Voila! We have a cabbageworm and now know the best way to manage them is by handpicking. Now that was easy!

It’s not always that easy, but regardless this website is awesome! You can delve deep, really deep into the various types of pest that may be affecting your garden. In addition tons of tips for identification, UCIPM also provides tips on various types of management. The UCIPM website is not just about pests either, it also provides cultivation tips and techniques, weather data, and top-notch publications useful for any home gardener!

Do you have any pests that you are having a difficult time identifying? Post a photo on our Facebook page under ‘Fan Photos.’