Host plants of the tobacco flea beetle, Epitrix parvula F.
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A study of the host plants of the tobacco flea beetle was made in Pittsylvania County from April 1 to September 23, 1939. The work was divided into field observations, rearing experiments end population studies. From field observations made throughout the season it was found that this insect fed mostly on the solanaceous plants. especially tobacco. In the spring before the tobacco was transplanted and in the late summer after the harvesting of the crop, the flea beetle fed on a wide variety or plants.
Rearing experiments were made using 29 plant species representing 11 families most of which were known as hosts of the adult beetle. These were planted in a small plot of land of a common tobacco soi1. Beetles were caged over these for 4 days and records were kept as to the number of adults that developed from the eggs laid. No beetles emerged from any of the non-solanaceous plants, whereas at least a few developed on all the Solanaceae tested. Many more beetles developed on tobacco, potato and jimson weed than on any of the others.
For the population studies tobacco flea beetle and solanaoeous weed counts were made in 14 tobacco fields selected for this purpose. Beetle counts were made at weekly intervals from May 26 until the middle of August and were computed to show the average number of beetles per tobacco plant.
Weed counts were made in June and September and were computed to show the average number of weeds per 100 square yards. The data indicated that only tobacco in the beds and potato in the field were of importance in building up the early flee beetle infestation of tobacco.
- Masters Theses