Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Tobacco flea beetle (355)

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  • Restricted distribution. Americas, Caribbean, Europe, Oceania. Present in Guam and Fiji.
  • On eggplant and tomato, primarily, but also other members of nightshade family, including weeds.  
  • Damage by larvae and adults chewing small, irregular holes in leaves giving a 'shot-hole' effect. Damage worse on seedlings, especially during droughts.
  • Eggs laid at base of stems; larvae feed on roots. Adults brown with black markings, long antennae, and well developed hind legs for jumping. Spread on the wing. Survival on weeds and remains of plants in the field.
  • Cultural control: monitor twice weekly; weed - especially those in nightshade family; do not plant new crops next to old; mulch; use protective covers; crop rotation (maize, brassicas, legumes); collect trash and burn after harvest.
  • Chemical control: use biorational pesticides (i) PDPs - derris, chilli, pyrethrum, (ii) biopesticides - spinosad or abamectin, or (iii) synthetic pyrethroids or neonicotinoids, remembering they will kill natural enemies. 
Common Name

Tobacco flea beetle

Scientific Name

Epitrix hirtipennis

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson & Mani Mua
Information from Peppers. Flea beetles. UC IPM. (; and Cuthbertson AGS (2015) Chemical and ecological control methods for Epitrix spp. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage. 1(1): 95-97 (; and from Flea beetles. Colorado State University Extension. ( Photos 1&2 Natasha Wright, Cook's Pest Control, Photos 3-6 Mani Mua, SPC, Sigatoka Research Station, Fiji. Photo 8 R.J. Reynolds, Tobacco Company Slide Set, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company,

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project HORT/2016/185: Responding to emerging pest and disease threats to horticulture in the Pacific islands, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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