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Department of Entomology

Department of Entomology
123 W. Waters Hall
1603 Old Claflin Place
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506-4004

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Wheat Insects

Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Alticinae)


Adult flea beetle.


Flea beetle damage to wheat bordering harvested forage sorghum.


Close-up of damage to wheat plants.

These tiny, jumping beetles are dark and shiny and strip off the upper surface of leaves causing whitish streaks. They are typically a problem along field margins, especially in western Kansas, and in early plantings. Forage sorghum or weedy borders often harbor summer populations that can migrate to wheat fields in the fall. Injury is more severe when beetles are present as plants emerge. A population of three to five beetles per row foot can kill seedling plants. Since damage is often localized along a field border, spot treatment of the affected rows may be sufficient to control populations.

Please refer to the most recent version of the Wheat Insect Management Guide for control options. 

Page last updated 10/30/2013 by J.P. Michaud.