Home / Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae) / Corn Flea Beetle (Chaetocnema pulicaria)

Corn Flea Beetle (Chaetocnema pulicaria)

Corn flea beetle of the leaf beetle family belongs to the flea beetle genus and is indigenous to the United States of America, Canada, and Texas. As evident from its name, this beetle is mainly a pest of corn alongside other crops like soybean and sorghum.

Corn Flea Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Chrysomelidae
  • Genus: Chaetocnema
  • Scientific name: Chaetocnema pulicaria

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 2 mm (0.07 inches)

Color: They have a black body with orange antennae and legs.

Other Characteristic Features:  It is small in size, as tiny as a pinhead with a shiny appearance and long hind legs.

Chaetocnema pulicaria

Larva

The cylindrically-shaped larva has a grub-like appearance, with a white body and dark-colored head. They grow to 9 mm (0.35 inches) upon reaching the final instar stage. They mainly feed on the roots of their host plants, causing immense damage.

Pupa

The pupa also appears white, just like the larva, having a soft body. It replicates an adult in shape. Its body color eventually darkens by the time it reaches the end of the pupal stage.

Egg

The eggs have a white coloration with pointed ends. It hatches into a larva between 7 and 14 days and darkens just before that phase.

Quick Facts

Adult lifespanOne month
Duration of larval stageAbout five weeks
DistributionUSA, Canada, Texas
HabitatFields particularly where corn grows, and grasslands
Common PredatorsTachinid flies, wasps
Seasons active fromNot recorded
Host PlantsCorn, sorghum, soybean
Diet of larvae and adultsLarvae: Roots
Adult: Leaves of their host plants

Identifying the Damage Caused By Them

The adult beetles and larvae mainly target corn, alongside other crops like wheat, barley, sweet corn, sorghum, soybean, grains, and vegetables. They feed on the leave’s upper and lower parts damaging the veins and tissues. The leaves may develop scratches that could hamper their health immensely in heavy infestation, making them appear silvery of white. Besides the direct damage, the corn flea beetle is even instrumental in transmitting a bacterial disease, Stewart’s wilt causing the plant to get infected and eventually die in case of severity.

Of the several measures for controlling the corn flea beetle population, one of them includes spraying insecticides.

Corn Flea Beetle Damage

Did You Know

  • The corn flea beetles are excellent jumpers, leaping to a long distance because of their hind legs.
Corn Flea Beetle Picture

Image Source: i.pinimg.com, kentuckypestnews.files.wordpress.com, extension.entm.purdue.edu, m.farms.com

Corn flea beetle of the leaf beetle family belongs to the flea beetle genus and is indigenous to the United States of America, Canada, and Texas. As evident from its name, this beetle is mainly a pest of corn alongside other crops like soybean and sorghum.

Corn Flea Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 2 mm (0.07 inches)

Color: They have a black body with orange antennae and legs.

Other Characteristic Features:  It is small in size, as tiny as a pinhead with a shiny appearance and long hind legs.

Chaetocnema pulicaria

Larva

The cylindrically-shaped larva has a grub-like appearance, with a white body and dark-colored head. They grow to 9 mm (0.35 inches) upon reaching the final instar stage. They mainly feed on the roots of their host plants, causing immense damage.

Pupa

The pupa also appears white, just like the larva, having a soft body. It replicates an adult in shape. Its body color eventually darkens by the time it reaches the end of the pupal stage.

Egg

The eggs have a white coloration with pointed ends. It hatches into a larva between 7 and 14 days and darkens just before that phase.

Quick Facts

Adult lifespanOne month
Duration of larval stageAbout five weeks
DistributionUSA, Canada, Texas
HabitatFields particularly where corn grows, and grasslands
Common PredatorsTachinid flies, wasps
Seasons active fromNot recorded
Host PlantsCorn, sorghum, soybean
Diet of larvae and adultsLarvae: Roots
Adult: Leaves of their host plants

Identifying the Damage Caused By Them

The adult beetles and larvae mainly target corn, alongside other crops like wheat, barley, sweet corn, sorghum, soybean, grains, and vegetables. They feed on the leave’s upper and lower parts damaging the veins and tissues. The leaves may develop scratches that could hamper their health immensely in heavy infestation, making them appear silvery of white. Besides the direct damage, the corn flea beetle is even instrumental in transmitting a bacterial disease, Stewart’s wilt causing the plant to get infected and eventually die in case of severity.

Of the several measures for controlling the corn flea beetle population, one of them includes spraying insecticides.

Corn Flea Beetle Damage

Did You Know

  • The corn flea beetles are excellent jumpers, leaping to a long distance because of their hind legs.
Corn Flea Beetle Picture

Image Source: i.pinimg.com, kentuckypestnews.files.wordpress.com, extension.entm.purdue.edu, m.farms.com

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