Flea beetles are small jumping insects that belong to the order Coleoptera. They undergo complete metamorphosis (holometabolic insects). They pass through the egg, larva and pupa stage before reaching adulthood.
Eggs: Translucent, yellowish and elongated.
Larvae: Elongated, with bristle-like hairs; colour varies depending on the species.
Pupae: Resemble adults, but smaller.
Adults: About 2 to 5 mm long. The shell is shiny brown, black or metallic blue, depending on the species. They have well-developed hind legs for jumping.
Flea beetles overwinter as adults, buried in the soil or hidden under plant litter.
They emerge in early spring (May), at the first signs of warmth. They feed on weeds until the leaves on their favourite plants open, which they then feed on hungrily.
Shortly after emerging, flea beetles mate and the females lay their eggs on leaves, stems or in the soil, depending on the species.
The eggs hatch in about ten days. The larvae feed for about two weeks, but do not usually cause any serious damage. They then pupate, with the adults emerging about 10 days later. Depending on the species, there may be 1 to 3 generations each year.