Corn Flea Beetle

Chaetocnema pulicaria

Corn flea beetle on a corn leaf
Corn flea beetle on a corn leaf. Photo courtesy of Russ Ottens. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Corn flea beetles are an early season pest of corn. They are a carrier of Stewart's wilt, which is often more serious than the direct feeding damage caused by the beetle.
Corn flea beetles are extremely small (1/16") insects. They have large hind legs which enable them to jump when disturbed.
Corn flea beetle on a corn leaf
Corn flea beetle on a corn leaf. Photo coutresy of Frank Peairs. Licensed under CC BY 3.0.
Corn flea beetles cause damage directly by feeding on the upper surface of corn leaves, resulting in long grey tracks. This feeding is typically only a significant issue on very young plants (< 6"). Corn flea beetles are also a vector for Stewart's wilt, which overwinters in their gut. This disease can cause significant yield losses.
Insecticides are available for controlling corn flea beetles. However, the impact of both feeding and the risk of disease should be considered carefully to ensure that treatment is economically justified. Always read and follow all label instructions.