Scouting for Tobacco Flea Beetles
When to scout for tobacco flea beetles
Tobacco flea beetle adults are frequently present in tobacco immediately after transplant until around six to seven weeks later. After this point, plants typically outgrow the flea beetle populations. In some cases, damaging tobacco flea beetle populations may also develop near harvest.
What part of the plant to scout for tobacco flea beetles
Tobacco flea beetles feed on upper and lower leaf surfaces. Post transplant,tobacco flea beetle adults may be present on and damage the entire plant.
Near harvest, flea beetles are most common in the lower 1/3 of plants, near the stalk.
How to scout for tobacco flea beetles
When scouting for tobacco flea beetles, it is important to inspect the top and underside of every leaf. Thresholds are based on live beetle counts, but flea beetle damage can be an indicator of a developing population. Flea beetle damage looks like small “shot holes” on leaves.
While, beetles are quite noticeable on leaves, they also jump, as their common name suggests. It may be easier to get accurate flea beetle counts in the early morning when it is cool and beetles are less active.
Tobacco flea beetle thresholds
The threshold for small plants, post transplant, is an average of 4 or more beetles per plant. The post topping threshold for tobacco flea beetle is an average of 60 or more beetles per plant. It is difficult to count beetles on fully grown tobacco plants, and we hope to develop alternative thresholds to facilitate easier post topping scouting.