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There are several species of flea beetles that attack blueberries in the South. The one that is most common in the southeastern United States is blueberry leaf beetle
, Colaspis pseudofavosa Riley
. Larvae are dark brown, are 0.1-0.4 inch in length and have three pairs of legs. Pupae are yellow-orange in color and are generally found 0.5 inch deep in the soil. Adults are less than 0.25 inch in length, oval shaped and a shiny copper-bronze or metallic blue in color. Facts:
- Blueberry leaf beetle eggs, and possibly adults, overwinter in the leaf litter of blueberry fields.
- Adults mate and lay up to 200 eggs per female.
- Eggs are very small and orange in color.
- Egg hatch coincides with leaf bud opening.
- The larval stage takes 9-20 days to complete.
- Fully grown larvae pupate in the soil under moist conditions.
Adults migrate to the foliage and feed on leaf margins, giving the leaves a notched appearance. The blueberry leaf beetle has several generations per year in the southern United States.
- The blueberry leaf beetle can cause serious damage during summer.
- Adults can chew small holes in the foliage and prefer to feed on younger leaves.
- Large numbers of leaf beetles may completely defoliate large areas in both crop and pruned fields, which can seriously affect next years growth
- Burning may reduce blueberry leaf beetle populations.
- There are selective pesticides, especially synthetic pyrethroids, which are effective in suppressing blueberry leaf beetle populations.
- Contact your local Cooperative Extension Service office for control recommendations in your area.
Blueberry Leaf Beetles. 2011. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved 30 August 2011.