July 13

1 - Grape plants has been severely damaged by small greenish / gold beetles with segmented antennae.

Yard and Garden July 13, 2013

Q.

One of my grape plants has been severely damaged by small (about .25 inch) greenish / gold beetles with segmented antennae.

Curtis S.

Albuquerque

A.

Yes, dear readers, this is my own question about a problem in my garden. Dr. Carol Sutherland, NMSU Extension Entomology Specialist, provided the following information. "I would bet you have 'Altica', a metallic greenish flea beetle that fits that size description. In bright light they might have a gold glint to them; in dimmer light, they will appear more bluish. The bottom line is they chew tiny holes in the leaf blades --- of grapes, a variety of garden vegetables (especially those with 'hairless' leaves), and flowering plants.They can jump super-Olympic distances when disturbed --- as well as fly. They can also gang up on foliage to the point they are all you can see on certain leaves. Sometimes, they do not know when to quit --- and will chew down the leaf blades to the midribs. Any Sevin product labeled for grape will certainly provide control of this pest. Alternatively you can try products with pyrethrins. Reports indicate that insecticidal soaps make the beetles really clean, but they do not seem to discourage them. Neem / azadirachtin products are iffy." Dr. Sutherland's advice was accurate and her control information worked. The name flea beetle is appropriate because these beetles can jump so quickly they seem to disappear from before your eyes. If you find unknown insects damaging the plants in your garden, samples of the insect and a proper identification of the plants affected by the insects can be taken to your local NMSU Cooperative Extension Service office. The Extension Service will obtain an identification of the insect and provide management options.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email: desertblooms@nmsu.edu, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.

Links:

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook page.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!