The seasonal occurrence and distribution of the eggplant flea beetle (EFB), Epitrix fuscula Crotch, were monitored on eggplant in south central Arkansas during 1997, 1998, and 1999 and northwestern Arkansas during 1998 and 1999. In south central Arkansas, average numbers of EFB/plant were 11.9, 5.2 and 1.9 in 1997, 1998 and 1999, respectively. EFB numbers per plant decreased during the study in northwestern Arkansas from 13.3 in 1998 to 7.2 in 1999. This decline in numbers of EFB may be related to hot and dry weather during the spring and early summer months of the previous year and differences in transplant dates.
Mapping the distribution of the foliar feeding by EFB indicated that the highest damage ratings (4 and 5) were recorded for eggplants on the north side of the south central field. Also, damage decreased rapidly on interior plants away from the north edge. First or edge plants in rows had damage ratings of 3.9; second and third plants averaged 2.6 and 2.1, respectively; and fourth to tenth plants had values less than 2.
Additional insects encountered during eggplant sampling included the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say); the green tortoise beetle, Nuzonia pallidula (Boh.); the pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano; Euphoria sepulcralis (Fabricius); the eggplant lace bug, Gargaphia solani Heidemann; and the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea (Boddie). With the exception of sporadic damage by the Colorado potato beetle at the southern Arkansas location, damage from these insects was low.