Red Headed Flea Beetle Adults Active in NC

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Originally posted on ecoipm.org

I got reports from Area Specialized Agent Danny Lauderdale that red headed flea beetle adults are active in eastern NC. Danny has been

Flea beetle damage on hydrangea. Photo: SDF

Flea beetle damage on hydrangea. Photo: SDF

monitoring these pests closely and found active larvae in early March. Now, at just over 500 GDD in eastern NC, nurseries are starting to report adults.

Adult red-headed flea beetles are small, shiny black, beetles with reddish to dark colored heads, and long antennae. If you try to get a closer look and a small black insect, 1/8 of an inch long, and before you can see the red head it is gone, it’s probably a flea beetle. As the name suggests they jump great distances when approached. There are at least two generations in the Mid-Atlantic region and probably more in the South.

Favorite host plants of red-headed flea beetles include roses, forsythia, salvia, joe-pye weed, azaleas, and hydrangeas. Red-headed flea beetles skeletonize leaves usually leaving thicker leaf veins behind.

Red-headed flea beetles seem remarkably tolerant of insecticide residue. In our research, even relatively effective insecticides, such as dinotefuran, acephate, and some pyrethroids, which killed almost 100% of beetles the first day after application killed very few just a week or two later.

Other posts from our site and a great set of resources from Danny including a scouting video and article could help you manage these pests.

Written By

Photo of Dr. Steven FrankDr. Steven FrankAssociate Professor and Extension Specialist (919) 515-8880 steven_frank@ncsu.eduEntomology and Plant Pathology - NC State University

Contributing Specialist

Photo of Danny LauderdaleDanny LauderdaleArea Specialized Agent, Nursery and Greenhouse, Eastern Region Serves 44 CountiesBased out of Wilson County(252) 237-0111 danny_lauderdale@ncsu.eduWilson County, North Carolina
Posted on Apr 17, 2017
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