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Grape flea beetle

Altica chalybea Illiger
Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae

The grape flea beetle (or steely beetle) is a shiny, metallic dark blue. It may jump when disturbed. Larvae are yellow-brown with a dark head and feed on clusters and leaf surfaces. The insect overwinters as an adult. This stage feeds directly on young buds, beginning when conditions warm in the spring. Vineyard borders adjacent to woods or other protected areas are most affected.


Adults damage swelling buds by hollowing them out. Their damage may be confused with cutworm damage because both species feed during bud swell. The level of injury varies from year to year and is worse when cool temperatures slow bud development. Larvae damage is greatest at borders but rarely reaches economic levels.

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The MSU IPM Program maintains this site as an access point to pest management information at MSU. The IPM Program is administered within the Department of Entomology, fueled by research from the AgBioResearch, delivered to citizens through MSU Extension, and proud to be a part of Project GREEEN.