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OMRI and Conventional Options for Flea Beetle Suppression

Ethan Grundberg, Vegetable Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

May 24, 2018

Crucifer flea beetles, Phyllotreta cruciferae Goeze, emerged abruptly with some warm weather in mid-May and have been causing damage on susceptible brassica crops. Most growers are all-too-familiar with this pest and have a few strategies to limit damage from flea beetles already in their toolbox. However, this generation of flea beetles will continue to be active through around mid-June, so it's worth revisiting a few of the other options available if your preferred method falls short this season.

 Prevention: Young transplants and recently emerged direct seeded crops at the cotyledon stage are the most susceptible to damage. Rotating spring brassicas as far away from fields that had cole crops the previous fall can help reduce the pressure. Keeping field edges clean of mustard weeds can also reduce flea beetle populations that then migrate into production areas. On a smaller scale, insect netting or floating row cover can also be used, but must be secured at soil level before flea beetle emergence to prevent them from getting underneath and having a feast. Mustard cover crops, as shown in the image, can also be flea beetle magnets and should be carefully managed as far away from brassica cash crop fields as possible. Once flea beetles have reached a threshold of an average of 1 beetle per plant or 10% average leaf damage, it's time to consider chemical control options.

 Conventional Options: There are a number of pyrethroid (IRAC Group 3A) insecticides labeled for flea beetles that provide quick knock downs of populations. A few of the labeled pyrethroids labeled for use in New York are Baythroid XL (beta-cyfluthrin), Brigade 2EC (bifenthrin), Warrior II with Zeon Technology (lambda-cyhalothrin), and Mustang MAXX (zeta-cypermethrin). Given that this generation of flea beetles will still be active for a few weeks, growers may want to consider pre-mix products of pyrethroids and neo-nicotinoids (IRAC Group 4A) that will provide longer residual control. Two common options are Leverage 2.7 (imidacloprid + cyfluthrir) and Endigo ZC (lambda-cyhalothrin + thiamethoxam). One other pre-mix product with longer residual than a straight pyrethroid and with less potential to hurt pollinators than the neo-nic mixes is Voliam Xpress. Voliam Xpress is a mix of lambda-cyhoalothrin and the IRAC Group 28 diamide insecticide chlorantraniliprole (same active ingredient in Exirel). The neo-nicotinoid Admire Pro (imidacloprid) is labeled as a foliar spray for flea beetles. Please note, soil applications of Admire Pro on brassicas are only labeled for aphid, leafhopper, thrip, and white fly control, NOT for flea beetles. In a 2015 field trial conducted in Virginia, Brigade provided the best level of flea beetle suppression when compared to Admire Pro and Exirel.

Organic Options: Like with the conventional options, there are a number of OMRI options labeled for flea beetle suppression. However, in field trials both at UMass and New York State IPM, few provided a statistically significant reduction in flea beetle pressure over untreated controls. Spinosad products, like Entrust, have generally shown the highest efficacy and can be mixed with OMRI-approved spreader-stickers to improve performance. A trial in Maryland from 2011 showed good performance from Azera, a pre-mix of azadirachtin and pyrethrins (IRAC Group 3A), especially when mixed with Surround WP (kaolin clay). Finally, a 2013 trial in New York found that both Grandevo (Chromobacterium subtsugae strain PRAA4-1T and spent fermentation media) and Venerate (Heat-killed Burkholderia spp. strain A396 cells and spent fermentation media) reduced flea beetle damage on cabbage under low pressure.

 This article was printed in the May 24th, 2018 issue of ENYCHP Veg News. To view the full newsletter, click here.

Crucifer BeetleTypcial shotgun type small holes caused by crucifer flea beetle
feeding on white mustard cover crop


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Upcoming Events

Ag Manager Webinar Series: Ag Tax Topics - Sales Tax and Property Tax Issues for Ag in NYS

August 27, 2019
12:30 - 12:50pm

Join Liz Higgins from the CCE ENYCHP every other Tuesday at 12:30pm throughout the summer as she discusses pertinent business topics for busy farm managers.
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Willsboro Farm High Tunnel Twilight Meeting

August 27, 2019
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Willsboro, NY

Join vegetable specialists Elisabeth Hodgdon, Jud Reid, and farm manager Mike Davis for a high tunnel and field tour at Cornell's Willsboro Research Farm, where they will share research results for the following projects: 
  • Striped cucumber beetle management suing netting and row cover
  • Varietal differences in cucumber susceptibility to striped cucumber beetle
  • Ground cherry and goldenberry production in field and high tunnel environments
  • Overwintered high tunnel spinach nitrogen fertility 

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Announcements

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

Biweekly Vegetable News Podcast - Episode 9 - 08/21/19

August 21, 2019
The August 21st, 2019 edition of the Eastern New York Vegetable News covers the following topics:

Changes to Worker Housing Regulations in the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act (1:25)
Managing Alternaria Leaf Spot and Head Rot on Broccoli (4:25)
Gauging Winter Squash Maturity for Harvest (10:05)
Insects in Hemp, especially European Corn Borers (18:33)
Guidance on the Dropped Covered Produce Provision of the Food Safety Modernization Act (22:53)
Cucurbit Downy Mildew Management Update (27:02)
Report from the BioControl Field Day and Weed Management Recommendations (31:07)
Day Neutral Strawberries (40:33)

Here are links to additional resources mentioned in the episode:

Current Housing Regulations for Seasonal and Migrant Farmworkers
(On January 1, 2020, these will now apply to farms housing any number of seasonal and migrant farmworkers)

Public Health Law, section 225, NYCRR Title 10 Health, Part 15, Migrant Housing: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/nycrr/title_10/part_15/

Managing Alternaria Leaf Spot and Head Rot in Broccoli

Sue Scheufele “Can Alternaria Leaf Spot Be Managed Organically?” http://www.hort.cornell.edu/expo/proceedings/2013/Cole%20Crops/Cole%20Crops%20Scheufele%20Alternaria.pdf

Christy Hoepting “Control of Alternaria head rot in broccoli featuring exciting results from 2018 on‐farm fungicide trial” http://www.hort.cornell.edu/expo/pdf/20190115-all-day-hoepting.pdf

Dropped Covered Produce:
FDA Factsheet on Dropped Covered Produce: https://www.fda.gov/media/129568/download

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