Can the mortician make him look presentable? Godfather reference aside, what did this? Can he pull through or should I yank and replant?
Looks like Flea Beetle damage to me. I would cover it with a fine mesh for a while after making sure there are no pests on board, and keep an eye out for more beetles. They move fast, but if you can spray them with insecticidal soap, or maybe sprinkle sevin powder around the plant(more extreme), that will help, too.
Don't yank, as it looks like he is trying to put out new growth. Just take care of him and you will be rewarded.
Yeah I tried insecticidal soap, DE, and a few other things and ended up using seven to save mine from the flea beetles. There were literally dozens per leaf on every single plant. They look like Swiss cheese and are actually about 4x that size with much more damage, but they seem to be doing ok now.
Handheld vacuum is working ok for me. When we got back from vacation, we were seeing tons of damage and 8+ flea beetles/plant. After a week of vacuuming 3 times a day, we see 1 or 2/plant. Damage on new growth is much less pronounced.
Kind of a pain, but should get me in the proper mindset for the upcoming Japanese beetle season.
The same thing happened to my plants. I had no idea what the problem was but I took some rose dusting and put it over it. Then I bought a spray that covered 3 things, fungal problems, bug problems and something else. I sprayed that and it seemed to help it. I finally found some seven dust in my garage. I might even use that as well.
Great so I'll let them grow. Would BT help at all?
I'm pretty sure BT is only effective against larvae, grubs, etc. I'm not sure how flea beetles reproduce, but this is the first time there's even been a veggie garden at my house to my knowledge and they're present at epidemic levels so they must fly in so I doubt the BT would do much of anything.
Well I appreciate everyone's input. I thought it was the fire ants causing the damage. I did some searching and I got a game plan for next year. When I put out the eggplants I will harden them off on a tall table 3 feet off the ground One site said that the higher the plants are the less damage the flea beetles can do. They tend to hoover near regular ground level. That makes sense since I have some other eggplants in a taller raised bed that fared better Next year they all go in the 12" beds, third row, middle. I will as put clear milk cartons over them w/o caps in the beginning of the season too. If you guys want to add to this,feel free.
Two years ago I had nasturtium plants in several areas including a raised bed, right next to my zucchini plants, and within a period of a few days they were absolutely covered with flea beetles. None were on my zucchini plants. I grabbed some plastic grocery bags and covered each nasturtium plant as quickly as I could(flea beetles are faaassst!), pulling the plant up and tying it in the bag, then into the dumpster. So, in this case, the nasties were a good trap crop for the flea beetles. Maybe you can research other trap crops.
Just be careful. You might make the fleas mad and you will wake up with a bloody horse head in your bed. :D
My eggplant are getting holes like that as well, But not nearly as many. I have only caught one bug on them ... it looked kinda like a silverfish but more fat and rounded. But it also looked kinda like a little bitty mini scorpion the size of a silverfish, even held its little pincher tail up in the air. Any idea what that might be ? I scooped it up and put it on a flat surface, then I made like M.C.Hammer on it hammer time !
YUK. I think it was a Thrips. If that's not what the bug was, it sure looked a whole lot like this. Although mine may have been one of the largest ones because it was about 1/2 inch long. HOWEVER, from what I have read, the thrips don't eat holes . . .
I did find 2 tomato horn worms on my tomatoes. Would they have started on the eggplant and then moved on to their "preferred diet" ? How fast can they move anyway ? I have been trying to keep an eye on the eggplant to see if there are any new holes but I'm not sure yet.
My eggplant is now starting to look like th OP's. But I have not been finding hardly any bugs on it ! This is only the second bug I have found ... a planthopper nymph. But it can really jump !! So I thought it was a flea beetle. LOL. Any ideas ? Here is what one looks like ...
Here is a link that might be useful: http://bugguide.net/node/view/15670
More info and pics ... http://bugguide.net/node/view/15668