Altica: defending yourself against the garden flea

Nettles are also called earth fleas or garden fleas, they are small dark colored insects, only a few millimeters long, belonging to the beetle family.

It is a phytophagous insect, that is to say that it feeds on plant parts, it is particularly fond of cabbage plants. In the event of an attack, although it is not easy to see the small insect, it is easy to recognize the damage it causes: many small holes which will perforate the leaves.

Let’s discover how to identify and deal with the attacks of this parasite, in particular by learning to defend the garden with methods of natural origin, avoiding the use of synthetic chemical pesticides.

Contents [Ocultar]

  • Affected plants and damage to the garden

  • How to defend the garden from nettles

    • To prevent or not to cure the infestation

    • repellents and insecticides


Damage to affected plants and garden

Stinging nettles usually affect young plants, going to eat the leaves. They attack in particular species of the cruciferous family, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, arugula, turnip tops and radishes, or even beets (ribs and herbs).

Specifically, there are two species of elms that are often found causing damage in our gardens: cabbage nettles ( Phyllotreta nemorum ), 2 mm long, with a yellow stripe, and beet nettles ( Chaetocnema tibialis ), completely black and even smaller.

Feeding the adult fleas, they create small holes that are easy to identify, then they lay their eggs in the ground, the larvae are harmless but grow quickly and once adults they eat our vegetables again. These land fleas reproduce at the rate of two generations per year.

How to protect your vegetable garden from nettles

As for all harmful insects, there are several levels of defense of the altic that must be put in place, always with a view to organic farming. Therefore, we can apply preventive cultivation techniques, disturb the insect to keep it away or try to exterminate the pest population. It is always essential to intervene early, without passively letting the problem spread.

To prevent or not to cure the infestation

The first level is prevention: obviously avoiding the problem would be the best solution and a series of precautions can help, reducing the possibility of serious damage caused by this parasite.

Prevention. To avoid hives, crop rotation is important in the first place, in particular, it is not necessary to repeat in the same plot the vegetable crops that these fleas like. In this way, we make life difficult for the beetle, preventing it from settling in one area and continuing to find a plant to its liking. In addition frequent watering they keep beehives away from garden plants, as they hate wet soil. mulch on another side it is useful for blocking the path of spawning, causing insects to move.

No intervention. If root vegetables such as radishes are grown, the damage caused by honeysuckle is negligible, especially because it is a short cycle vegetable. We can therefore opt for the peaceful solution of letting the insect feast on the leaves, limiting ourselves to wetting the crop very often to disturb and perhaps chase away the parasite. This method is applicable only if there are no other target plants in the area, which could become the new object of attention of fleas.

Repellents and insecticides

Repulsion methods. For small flea infestations, vegetables can be sprinkled with rock flour such as bentonite or seaweed limestone , these methods form a mechanical barrier that discourages the insect and can act as a repellent. This is a great way to avoid the use of insecticides.

insecticidal methods. If the insects are numerous, repellents are not enough and it is better to intervene to kill them. In this case, several products authorized by organic farming can be used to combat them. The most effective is pyrethrum, it is a product of natural origin capable of killing them, but it must be used with great care because it could also kill beneficial insects. Other treatments with less environmental impact are nettle macerate, which also has the advantage of being self-produced, and neem oil.

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