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All flea species belong to the genus of fleas. The earth flea, however, is sorted in entomology (entomology) in the order of the beetle (Coleoptera). Blame on the "flea" in the name are the powerful hind legs of Erdflohs. These make him jump like a bug in case of disturbances. Especially monoculture, dry and unprocessed soil favor the population of this beetle species. Fleas of the earth pass with preference to cotyledons and tender stems. So it's time to be vigilant and initiate the right means to fight the rapeseed florh in time.
The Erdflohkäfer (Psylliodes) from the family of leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) is tiny with just 2 to 3 millimeters. The Rapserdfloh is metallic blue-black to brown. An oval-shaped body sits on 3 pairs of legs, the hind legs are particularly pronounced. The dirty white larvae are almost twice as large and have a dark brown head. In the vegetable beds we mostly meet the big rapeseed dill (Psylliodes chrysocephalus).
Lifestyle, life cycle
The finished beetle slips out of the ground in summer. Older vegetables and weeds feed him then. But soon, when it gets really hot, the earthflight beetle looks for shady places at the edge of the forest or the field. Only at the beginning of September he gets back to the big (An) hit on the vegetable stocks. In the females one speaks of a maturation. Shortly thereafter, they lay their eggs in the ground, close to the richest food sources. The oviposition can last until next spring. Therefore, a mild climate in autumn and winter is extremely favorable for the stock. The larvae hatch from September to April. Immediately they drill into the outer petioles. As they grow, they continue into the stems. These damages can lead to a total crop failure. At the end of the spring, the larvae pupate in the soil. After one to two months, the young beetles hatch, eat their way through the oilseed rape or the vegetables and the game starts over. The adult beetles overwinter in hedges, forests or leaf litter.
Most food is needed from April to August. It usually starts in the spring with the first wild herbs before they get over the young vegetable seedlings. Very popular are plants of the family Brassica (Brassicaceae). They especially like the young leaves and stems of the plants. From time to time, the larvae also attack young roots in the spring. On the menu are preferably:
- wild radish
- Shepherd's Purse
As the days get warmer in the spring, you will first notice a flea infestation of tiny holes in the leaves. The rapeseed fleas then come out of their winter quarters and eat up to four millimeters small holes between the leaf veins. This is also called hole or window scuffing. If the young plants grow slowly, either by too much cold or dryness, they are particularly at risk. The fleas then eat so much leaf surface that the plantlets go down. The larvae feed themselves in the petioles forward to the main shoot. On the petioles you can see tiny entry and exit holes. Also excrement, especially in the heart of the plants, indicate an infestation of the larvae of earth fleas. Shoots damaged by this minerage can burst on frosty days. In the autumn damaged plants have a reduced winter resistance and are more susceptible to diseases. The plants are inhibited in their growth.
Tip: When gardening between the beds, the tiny pests can jump on humans. They do not cause any real bites on the skin, but can leave skin irritations. However, if there is no allergy, it is harmless.
As always, when it comes to diseases and pests, good prevention is the best way to combat it. There are a number of precautionary measures against rapeseed fleas, or against all kinds of earth fleas:
- crop rotation
- mixed culture
In agriculture, the rapserdfloh is one of the largest pests. They are conventionally controlled with insecticides of the active ingredient class of pyrethroids. On the other hand, however, already the first resistances form. For private cultivation, only precautionary measures and natural or home remedies should be used.
- The use of predators
- Shaking plants
- Spray plants with home remedies
- Insert lock plant
- sticky traps
There are many ways to fight these little pests. The first appearance of food marks means that you have to act fast. In small gardens, regular watering and raking as well as the varied planting in the bed are the best mitigation. Also a mixed culture with vegetables from other families helps against excessive pest infestation. This enriches the menu and visually enhances the vegetable beds.