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(subfamily Halticinea), beetles of the family Chrysomelidae. The body is 1.5–5 mm long; the antennae are beaded, and the hind legs are saltatory, with thickened femurs and elongated tibiae. Approximately 5,000 species are known throughout the world; in the USSR there are about 400 species. All flea beetles are herbivorous. The majority of species develop in one generation; in the south some species take two or three generations. The beetles (in some flea beetles, the larvae or eggs) hibernate primarily in the soil or under plant remains. In the spring, when the surface of the soil heats up to 10°-12°C, they revive, and when the temperature rises further they make small migrations, concentrating on the shoots of food plants. The most favorable weather for the beetles is clear and not very windy, with a temperature of 22°–26° C. The beetles gnaw small round or oval holes in the leaves, destroying the growing point; on trees and shrubs they skeletonize the leaves. Flea beetles deposit their eggs primarily in the soil, more rarely in or on a plant. The larvae live mainly in the soil, feeding on roots; sometimes they live within stems or openly on the plant.
In the USSR, 129 species of harmful flea beetles are known, which damage many crops. Much damage is done to Cruciferae crops (cabbage, garden radish, and black radish) by the striped turnip, striped steppe, large striped, cabbage, common turnip, turnip, and bronze turnip (Phyllotreta fucata Wse.) flea beetles; beets are damaged by the mangold, the western (Chaetocnema tibialis III.) and southern (Chaetocnema breviuscula Fald.) mangold and the root-and-fruit (Psylliodes cupreata Duft.) flea beetles; flax is attacked by the large flax flea beetle (Aphthona euphorbiae Schrank) and the black flax skipper; and cereal crops are damaged by large stem (Chaetocnema aridula Gyll.), common stem (Chaetocnema hortensis Geoffr.), millet, and barley flea beetles, among others. The hop flea beetle is a dangerous pest to hemp and hops; the potato flea beetle damages potatoes and tomatoes.
Methods of control include destruction of weeds, which serve as the basic food plants for the majority of flea beetles; early sowing (late sowing in some cases); and treatment of the crops with insecticides.
REFERENCESPalii, V. F. Fauna vrednykh zemlianykh bloshek SSSR. Frunze, 1961.
Palii, V. F. Rasprostranenie, ekologiia i biologiia zemlianikh bloshek fauny SSSR. Frunze, 1962.
V. F. PALII