Eggplant Leaf – No Flea Beetles

While visiting a cooperative farm in Cuba, I noticed a guy spraying something on vegetables. It was a hot day, but he wore a ball cap, long pants and rubber boots.

When I asked our guide why he was so wrapped up, he laughed and said “That bug spray will kill you! They make it by soaking tobacco leaves in water overnight then spraying the next day.”

I recognized that the worker was using an old-fashioned insecticide once used in the US, but taken off the market due to farm workers being poisoned by it. Good ol’ nicotine!

And that explains why I saw no evidence of flea beetles on the garden’s eggplant leaves. Nicotine is a terrifically effective insecticide…but I never recommend using it.