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Insects on the Loose: What's in Your Garden?

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Jeff Hahn, Univ. of Minnesota Extension

Photo 1: Crucifer flea beetle and its feeding damage.

There are a variety of insects that are active now and could be in your garden. When you are inspecting your garden for pests, keep an eye out for these insects.

Flea beetles are very small, 1/16th - 1/8th inch long. They are usually dark colored although some can have red or yellow on them. An easy way to identify flea beetles is that they can jump. Flea beetles attack a variety of vegetables, including beans, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, squash, and radish. Flea beetles chew shallow pits and small holes into leaves. This feeding can be particularly damaging to seedlings and cole crops. Go here for more information on flea beetles, including management.

Jeff Hahn, Univ. of Minnesota Extension

Photo 2: Colorado potato beetle larvae on eggplant.

Colorado potato beetles overwinter as adults and start to lay eggs in the spring. The adults are broadly oval in shape with yellowish to cream colored wing covers with ten thin black stripes. The larvae are pinkish with a humpbacked larva body. Both the adults and larvae feed on the leaves of not only potatoes but also eggplant, tomato, pepper, and similar plants. Potato tubers can be adversely affected when defoliation is severe. Go here for more information on Colorado potato beetles, including management.

Jeff Hahn, Univ. of Minnesota Extension

Photo 3: Fourlined plant bug nymph and its damage.

Also watch for four-lined plant bugs. They overwinter as eggs and emerge in the spring as small bright red immature insects (nymphs) with black wing pads. They eventually turn into yellow green insects with four black stripes. Fourlined plant bugs use their piercing - sucking mouthparts to feed on the foliage of a wide variety of plants including perennials. Their feeding causes a series of small, dark, shallow pits on the leaves. Fortunately, this feeding normally does not kill the plant although it can affect its appearance. Go here for more information in four-lined plant bugs.
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