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What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

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What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  jthreadsmith1 on 4/30/2011, 10:45 am

My pepper and eggplant seedlings have been planted a couple of weeks. The smallest, weakest ones have developed tiny little holes all over the leaves, and the leaves are not as green as the other plants, but a little pale. Clearly they are under attack but I can't see any kind of culprit. Anyone know what is going on and how to treat it organically?

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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  camprn on 4/30/2011, 12:14 pm

Oh Dear!! so sorry to hear this. Could you post a photo of the plants and then a closer one of a leaf, that would help us to determine what may be going on.
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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  elliephant on 4/30/2011, 1:10 pm

Flea beetles? I'm afraid I don't know what to do about it (mine just seemed to outgrow the problem when I ignored it long enough) but that might at least give you a term to search on.

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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  jthreadsmith1 on 5/2/2011, 11:21 am

Thanks for the responses. I will try to post some photos of the damage. It seems I have had this issue before on eggplants and they did actually outgrow it. I did look up flea beetles and the photgraphs of their "pinholes" looks suspiciously similar to mine. Neem was recommended on one website.

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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  dmsandlin on 5/2/2011, 1:35 pm

Had flea beetles on my eggplant last year. They were small, black bugs that jumped if I didn't get them in time. I made it a habbit of looking at the plants daily and killing whatever bugs I saw. That tended to keep them in check and I got plenty of eggplants, so it must not have hurt production.
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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  jthreadsmith1 on 5/2/2011, 2:21 pm

Thanks, dmsandlin. So far I can't find a single critter on my eggplants. I'm trying to inspect the top and bottom of the leaves daily, but they must be faster than my eye!

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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  GreenBlueberry on 5/2/2011, 3:52 pm

They are flea beetles. They LOVED my only eggplant. I have been going daily to check it and squash the little buggers one by one. I also ready that they don't like wet leaves so I am wetting them for now. I tried Neem and Captain Jack's Dead Bug Brew, but they didn't work.
Now that my peppers are big they have left them alone, but the eggplant is still a seedling. It's a fighter though, and since it is still growing I haven't checked it. Hopefully it will grow big enough soon so that the beetles leave it alone. I read that once it's grown, they don't attack it anymore.
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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  jthreadsmith1 on 5/2/2011, 4:10 pm

Thanks greenblueberry! Is there a specific time of day that you see them? I was just about to try Neem, so maybe I'll try water instead! Hope my little eggplant and pepper seedlings make it to become plants before the nasty flea beetles obliterate their leaves!

If only all vegetables were as easy to grow as okra and Swiss chard have been for me. They seem indestructable and must be totally unappealing to bugs.

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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  GreenBlueberry on 5/2/2011, 4:34 pm

Well, there is no harm in using the neem, try it, maybe it will work for you, but also just keep squashing them and nursing your plants so they make it Smile
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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  busygirl on 5/30/2011, 3:37 pm

jthreadsmith1 wrote:Thanks, dmsandlin. So far I can't find a single critter on my eggplants. I'm trying to inspect the top and bottom of the leaves daily, but they must be faster than my eye!

I was trying to research the same problem two days ago. I also determined flea beetles, but haven't seen any. The info I found said that if the plant makes it to the 5-leaf stage, it would be resistant to the damage. I don't think two of mine (of the 4 that are already in the SFG) are going to make it, but I still have two in peat pots on my deck that the beetles haven't found. Since I haven't caught the little buggers in the act (edited to add that I have looked at different times of day from sunrise to sunset), my current plan is to keep the plants on the deck until they have 5 leaves then transplant them to the squares where the ones are currently being attacked. So far, both the tomatoes and peppers on either side of the egg plants are fine, so I will use the current victims as trap crop until my others are large enough.
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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  jthreadsmith1 on 5/31/2011, 4:48 pm

That sounds like a good idea to have a trap crop. I'm happy to report that my eggplants survived the onslaught of flea beetles. I suppose they must have been in the 5 leaf stage by then. It's amazing that they could have looked so ravished and still made it, but they did! In fact, one of my Ichibans has already given me an eggplant. It was a flower one day and the next time I looked there was a 3-inch eggplant! I let it grow to about 5 inches and then harvested it and threw it on the grill with some other vegetables. Anyone ever heard of grilled radishes? I sliced the eggplant, radishes and spring onions in thick slices, threw in 7 whole filet green beans and sliced sweet peppers (the only item that didn't come from my garden), tossed the mix with 1 T. olive oil and some garlic salt. We sauted them in a "holey" pan on the grill. Divine!!

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Re: What is causing the tiny pinholes in pepper and eggplant leaves?

Post  busygirl on 5/31/2011, 7:34 pm

I am so jealous that you are already getting more than salad! I need to get back to the South!! One of the girls at work today said that she had heard that eggplant is the flea beetles' first choice and they will mostly leave everything else alone if there are eggplants around, so I may PLAN to use them as a trap crop next year instead of it happening by accident like it did this year. That or start them in peat pots and leave not transplant them until they have more leaves.

I am very excited to see what I get this year. bounce
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