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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

ENY Orchard Soil Health and Beneficial Fungi Meeting

August 15, 2024 : ENY Orchard Soil Health and Beneficial Fungi Meeting
Peru, NY

The soils that we grow our trees in play a critical role in the success of our orchard's productivity.  Mycorrhizal fungi provide many benefits to the soils, though it is still unclear to what extent inoculating our soils with commercial blends of these fungi may have on the growth of trees during orchard establishment.

Join the members of CCE ENYCHP and the Cornell Soil Health Program for a field meeting on the basics of soil health, the potential benefits of mycorrhizal fungi, and an update on the current project status of our SARE grant on orchard mycorrhizal products.

This meeting is intended for farmworkers, young and beginning orchardists, and experienced orchard managers wanting to learn about the basics of soil health and mycorrhizal fungi within the orchard.

View ENY Orchard Soil Health and Beneficial Fungi Meeting Details

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Event Offers DEC Credits

August 19, 2024 : North Point Community Farm Twilight Meeting
Plattsburgh, NY

North Point Community Farm Twilight Meeting

Monday, August 19th 4-7 pm (rain or shine)

2172 Military Turnpike, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

$10 per farm

Join us for a tour of North Point Community Farm, a diversified vegetable, berry, and flower operation in the North Country. Farmers Marisa and Mike will give us an overview of their decision-making as they expand their business, increasing their high tunnel production, investing in new tillage equipment, and transforming an old dairy barn into an efficient wash-pack shed with food safety in mind. We'll end the evening with local food refreshments and an opportunity to network with growers from NY and VT.

DEC credits: 1.5 credits in categories 1A, 10, 23

View North Point Community Farm Twilight Meeting Details

Drinkwine Produce Twilight Meeting

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September 16, 2024 : Drinkwine Produce Twilight Meeting
Ticonderoga, NY

Drinkwine Produce Twilight Meeting

Monday, September 16th 4-6 pm (rain or shine)

1512 Street Rd, Ticonderoga, NY 12883

Join us for discussions on high tunnel tomato production and sweet corn and pumpkin IPM at Drinkwine Produce in Ticonderoga. Henry Drinkwine will provide an overview of his practices for maintaining high yields of tomatoes, including pollination and soil fertility management. In the second half of the meeting, CCE specialist Chuck Bornt will review integrated pest management for sweet corn and pumpkins, with hands-on scouting and identification of key pests and diseases.

DEC Credits: 1.5 credits in categories 1A, 10, 23

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This website (https://enych.cce.cornell.edu/) contains our calendar of upcoming programs and registration links. For updated programmatic information, technical resources and links to newsletters please see our program blog site: https://blogs.cornell.edu/enychp/.
We also maintain the following online resources that you can view directly from these links:

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