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Ask Aaron: Eggplant Pests

Q: My eggplant has tons and tons of tiny holes, it almost looks like lace. What could be eating it and how do I deter it? - Grace

Hi Grace,

It sounds like you might have flea beetles. To confirm, you should look for small, 1/16 to 1/8th inch insects around your eggplant leaves and stems to confirm. They can be black, brown, blue, or more depending on the species. If your eggplants are fairly well established in the soil, the pest damage shouldn't affect the growth of the eggplants much as the damage is the worst in the spring to early summer and will decrease as the season goes on.

If you'd like to tackle managing the problem now and in the future, you can focus on controlling any weeds around your vegetable garden and landscape. Removing that area can help decrease the environment the pest has to overwinter in and come back the next year. You can also look into using a physical barrier like a row cover to cover your plants when they are young, and then remove right when they begin to flower, so they can be pollinated. And if you'd like to draw them away from fruiting plants like tomatoes you an always look adding plants from the cabbage family in the area that you don't plan to use, so they focus on those instead.

Hope that helps and happy gardening!

- Aaron French | Urban Farm Manager


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