Battle of the pests-Flea Beetles

This is my second year growing eggplant and oddly enough I did not have issues with flea beetles last year.  I don't know why they suddenly decided that THIS year they will come to my yard to munch on my eggplants and tomatilloes.  One day I walked out and just suddenly noticed all these tiny holes in my leaves of my eggplant.  Upon closer inspection I found the tiny beetles sitting all over the leaves, munching away. 
Now I do know after a bit of research that from now on I will probably always have them in this garden, thats even with tilling come Autumn. Unfortunately once the flea beetles figure out you have yummy plants in your garden the adults will hide in your soil during the winter and then emerge once again in the spring to feast on your young seedlings.  Especially if you have mulch or straw on your bed. 
There are very limited ways to get rid of these guys unfortunately, especially using organic means. 

Flea Beetles
  • Diatomaceous earth: This is by far the most effective way to keep the flea beetle population down. I did notice a dramatic reduction in population numbers but they still managed to keep going after my eggplants.  The tomatilloes fare the worst.  One plant never got above seedling stage.  The other one got about four feet tall but the dang little buggers kept eating at it incessantly.  It's still alive but it never produced anything.  Mostly I think the trick to using Diatomaceous earth is you cannot let up.  You have to keep applying over and over.  It's not like BT with Cabbageworms where you can let up every so often on applications.  That's where we failed.  Each time we let up the population just boomed again.  

Oddly enough, that is ALL we used to battle those.  Like some of the other Battle of the pests episodes I won't remark a whole lot on ways to fight pests that I've never tried before.  I'll list them here but I just simply cannot give any feedback on it.  I have read that if you use floating row covers before the flea beetles invade it'll help.  But you have to get the covers on BEFORE the invasion.  In our case that wouldn't have worked.  I've also read about using nematodes.  I might try that next year.  Nematodes are microscopic worms that will feed on bacteria, fungi, and even other nematodes.  Sometimes these are good, like in the case of the flea beetles.  Sometimes they're not so good because some types will eat your roots of your tomato plants which will lead to your tomato not thriving as well as it should.  
I've also read about using sticky traps but I really hate those things.  They almost never seem to work on fruit flies, fungas gnats, and aphids.   

I guess next year I'll be getting more experience fighting these guys.

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