We are all excited to see warmer weather, but there’s always one thing most of us dread when seasons change: bugs. As gardeners, bugs can be friends, or our biggest enemies. We want to dedicate some of our posts to dealing with some common garden pests, using Integrated Pest Management, or IPM. IPM is a system of pest management that uses knowledge of multiple techniques to manage pests without damaging crops, harming animals, or interfering with the environment.
So, what is one of the first pests you’ll be dealing with this growing season? The infamous Flea Beetle. Flea Beetles are small, black beetles that jump when disturbed, hence the name “Flea Beetle”. They show up in the early spring, and they are not picky eaters. They will eat radish leaves, kale, collards, eggplant leaves, and more. A small Flea Beetle infestation will simply cause a few holes in your leaves, but a large infestation could cause major damage to your plants.
Luckily, there are many simple ways to fight these pests. Here is a great resource from University of Minnesota Extension, that discusses what flea beetles are, their life cycle, and many ways to combat them.
Remember, the best way to deal with pests is to get ahead of the problem before it becomes a bigger problem, and keeping your garden weed and debris free is the number one way to combat any pest. Happy gardening!