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Blueberry Flea Beetle, Altica sylvia Malloch attack blueberries, is an important flea beetle in the Eastern United States.
Blue Berry Flea Beetle
Blue Berry Flea Adult are dark brown, almost black in appearance. They resemble small caterpillars, but have only three pairs of legs. They vary in size from 3 to 10 mm. They are very similar in appearance to the larvae of the blueberry leaf beetle, which tend to be lighter brown in colour
lue Berry Flea beetle has four life stages: egg, grub, pupa, adult beetle. The blueberry flea beetle spends the winter in the egg stage in litter. The eggs are orange-yellow in colour, about 1 mm long and are oval in shape. Most eggs hatch over a 2 to 3 week period in the spring.
Life Cycle: Blueberry flea beetle eggs, and possibly adults, overwinter in the leaf litter of blueberry fields. Eggs are very small and orange-yellow in color. Egg hatch coincides with leaf bud opening. Larvae are dark brown, 3-10 mm (0.1-0.4 in) in length, and have only three pairs of legs. The larvae migrate to the foliage and feed on blossoms and leaf margins, giving the leaves a notched appearance.
Blue Berry Flea Beetle Damage
The larval stage takes from 9-20 days to complete. Fully grown larvae fall to the soil and pupate (to pass through a state from mature instar to adult). Pupae are yellow-orange in color and are generally found 12.7 mm (0.5 in) deep in the soil. Adults emerge approximately 15-28 days later. Adults are less than 6 mm (0.25 in) in length, oval shaped, and a shiny copper bronze or metallic blue in color . The adults will chew small holes on the foliage. Adults mate and lay up to 200 eggs per female .
Damage: Blueberry flea beetle may be confined to isolated areas or damage may be widespread. Large numbers of flea beetles may completely defoliate large areas in both crop and pruned fields. Damaged leaves have a scalloped appearance around the edges .Flea beetle larvae feed on blueberry leaves and blossoms from mid-May through June; the adults feed on foliage beginning in late June or early July.
Blue Berry Flea Beetle Damage
Control: The type of pruning used does have an effect on flea beetle populations. Since the eggs are laid in the leaf litter, and are the overwintering stage, either a fall or spring burn will reduce the flea beetle population. Most outbreaks of flea beetle occur in mechanically pruned fields.
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