What is eating my vegetables?

Asked July 3, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

In my garden the leaves of tomato,bush beans and potato plants are covered with pin size holes, the leaves of the beans and tomatos start to turn brown and curl up. I have not been able to locate any insects. The plants are located in different raised beds, I added new soil to the beds this spring that appear to have alot of wood mulch in it could there be any connection? Thanks

Columbia County Oregon fruits and vegetables horticulture

1 Response

Thank you for asking about the leaf damage to your garden plants. Catching the culprit is the way to be sure what is going on. This looks a lot like flea beetle damage. They jump or drop to the ground as soon as the leaf is touched, and they are small, so seeing them requires stealth, sharp eyes, and sometimes a cloth or paper slid under a leaf to see what drops off.
The new soil is not necessarily the culprit, and removing the soil now isn't something I'd recommend. Here is an article with good basic pest information: "Less toxic ways to battle bugs in your summer garden" http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/less-toxic-ways-battle-bugs-your-summer-garden It mentions flea beetles and other pests, so is good to read depending on what you catch on your plants.
When the plants are grown enough, the leaf-damaging pests don't always need to be controlled, as the plants can keep growing and still produce well. Here is a link to information from UN IPM Online, How to manage pest--flea beetles: http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/fleabeetles.html
If you choose insecticides, read and follow label directions carefully. If you need advice based on different pests you discover, please contact us again.