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Earth flea bites are annoying or even dangerous in the case of existing hypersensitivity and allergies. But parasites can also be dangerous for plants, because insects are so small - their appetite is huge. It is all the more important to act quickly in the case of an existing infestation or ideally to prevent it altogether. Much effort or expensive products are not necessary if the appropriate care steps are carried out in the garden. Only patience and regularity are required.
Properties and propagationGround fleas are not actual fleas but various types of leaf beetles. Their name is earned through the literal "leaky" behavior. It is precisely this that makes identification relatively easy. If earth fleas are disturbed, they jump up. A sure recognition by mere reputation, however, is much more difficult, because Erdfloh is not equal to Erdfloh. Thus, the parasite can be one and a half to four millimeters in size and carry a variety of colors. Blue-black, gray, blue, yellow and bronze or striped - the oblong oval beetles are quite pretty to look at. Their traces less, as the food is expressed in smaller holes or down to the veins of bare leaves.
Invisible but just as damaging are earth fleas that often go unnoticed long time unnoticed at the roots. And that - once the insects have taken root - usually from spring to fall. Responsible for this is the skillful and fast reproduction. The eggs are deposited in the soil, so that the larvae can initially develop undisturbed. Hardly even pupated to the beetle and now living aboveground, the earth fleas lay the next eggs. In this way, at least two generations per garden season can be expected. Enough to decimate the harvest of early and later sowings considerably. It does not have to be that far, however, if the right measures are taken.
preventionYoung seedlings or fresh shoots - especially of early-flowering plants - are among the favorite foods of the flea. Especially when it comes to cabbage, potatoes, radishes, tomatoes and melons or other cruciferous vegetables. If the earth flea population is already high, it does not remain with small damage to the green. Instead, the entire cultivation is in danger. To avoid this, the bed must be prepared accordingly. Digging and hooking the substrate are already helpful measures, because the fleas feel quickly disturbed by activity in the earth and then seek the breadth. The same applies to moisture. Regular watering and spraying is a helpful option, the slight moisture retention by an evaporation protection the other. The latter can be achieved by a circulation of garden fleece, garden foil or mulch. It must of course always be noted that it does not get too wet the plants themselves.
Herbal helpWhile many plants, including the supposedly repulsive spinach, are eaten by the earth fleas in large quantities, the small leaf beetles with bulbs and garlic hold back. If possible, these should be placed between the rows and plants in the vegetable patch. Also helpful are garlic from garlic and onions, which can be easily prepared and used with the following instructions:
1. For this purpose, the green or the tubers themselves are cut into small pieces and then placed in water.
2. Depending on the temperature, the fermentation of this solution begins within one to three days. This is recognizable by rising gas bubbles.
3. Once the fermentation is complete - so that no bubbles rise even when stirring - the plant slurry is ready for use. From now on she should be cool and dark.
4. A mixture of manure and water in the ratio of one to ten can now be used for pouring infested plants or in a flower syringe, used for the targeted spraying of the leaves and soil.If you do not like the smell of this remedy, you can also make it from wormwood or tansy.
Tip: In the production and use of vegetable manure is a matter odious smell-intensive matter, the vessel should therefore be as remote as possible. The use is best done with rubber gloves and appropriate clothing.
Active combatIf earth fleas have already settled in the bed or on other plants, the measures already mentioned can nevertheless help. Garlic and kitchen onion as plant neighbors or manure also drive off the pests later. For this purpose, the earth's surface should be worked as often as possible in order to disturb the earth fleas in their rest. Weeding, hooking or even sweeping with a broom make the substrate and the plants unattractive for the small leaf beetles.Since the insects feel most comfortable in a warm, dry and calm environment, the already mentioned regular watering and spraying helps. Mulch or foil as evaporation protection on the earth are additional measures, which show success quickly.
Especially in very dry and hot phases of summer and with little time for plant care, it is recommended to cover with transparent foil or - depending on the size of the plants - with special hoods. Below is the humidity higher, the climate unfriendly for earth fleas. It may also be useful to have an irrigation system with a timer, which automatically takes over the moisturizing of plants and soil - and thus also the control of the earth fleas.
Alternative meansIn addition to the measures already mentioned, ground fleas can also be fought by other means and with their natural enemies. Convenient but effective, for example, adhesive traps. These are also useful to unequivocally detect an infestation. Another variant is the deliberate introduction of a Lockpflanze. Especially popular are radish, broccoli or paprika. In order for the fleas to jump specifically to a plant, it should already be larger than other plants in the area. It is therefore worthwhile to prefer either some plants in the house or directly to buy individual larger copies.
To do this, keep the soil dry around the decoy and should not be disturbed. If numerous fleas then settle on the designated plant, it is carefully covered with a plastic bag in dry and hot weather and removed from the bed. This should not be waited until the leaves are completely eroded, because then the pests will seek new food.
Tip: Dig in and remove the lure with the pot, so eggs and larvae are also removed.
Natural enemiesAs voracious as the fleas may be, they too are on the diet of some animals. Therefore, the following natural predators of the earth flea should be introduced or at least welcomed:
- Ground beetles
- ichneumon fly
- predatory beetles
Last helpsIf there is no time left for the regular cultivation of the soil or if the infestation is already very advanced, the fleas can also be fought with insecticides. It is of course important to ensure that this is not treated for consumption certain plants. Apart from the insecticides in the trade, also match heads can be used. These are stuck directly into the soil and poison the pests. Here, too, the plants should not be allowed to land on the plate.
Bite ProtectionIn the case of an already existing infestation, rubber gloves and boots or long trousers inserted into socks should be worn during all measures to protect against flea bites.
Whoever uses rake and watering can more often does not have to fear the earth fleas and their bites. In drier crops, very warm weather or in quiet flowerbeds, however, some interventions are necessary to keep the pests efficiently.