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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

High Tech Precision Orchard Spraying

July 20, 2020

Join us the afternoon of July 20th to learn what's new in orchard precision spraying technology. We'll be joined by Dr. Jason Deveau, Dr. Heping Zhu, and Steve Booher.  After their presentations, we will open up the meeting for all three presenters to field questions and comments. 

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Announcements

U-Pick Farm Practices During Covid-19 Pandemic

U-Pick is a critical direct marketing approach for many of our farms and provides
customers with a unique connection to fresh produce grown close to home. In light
of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices
will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document
provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick
operations for the 2020 season.

https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_864.pdf

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

2020 Biweekly Vegetable News Podcast - Episode 6 7/1/20

July 2, 2020
The July 1st, 2020 edition of the Eastern New York Vegetable News covers the following topics:

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Update (1:05)
Changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (9:10)
Managing Caterpillar Pests in Brassicas (12:53)
Strawberry Renovation (17:56)
Developing a Safety Plan to Comply with NY Forward Phased Re-Opening Requirements (24:12)

Here are links to additional resources mentioned in the episode:

NY Forward Safety Plans
Introductory “how to” video for writing your plan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2PH3wCgdhc&feature=youtu.be

Cornell Agricultural Workforce Development NY Forward business safety plan support for farms
https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/ny-forward-business-safety-plan/
• Plan templates
• Guidance and considerations for plan writing
• Links to “how to” videos
• Links to additional resources such as log templates, hand washing station plans, and more
• Webinar recordings

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets novel coronavirus page: Guidance documents for farm businesses in multiple languages
https://agriculture.ny.gov/coronavirus

Strawberry Renovation
For more in-depth information re: strawberry renovation, visit http://www.hort.cornell.edu/fruit/nybn/newslettpdfs/2014/nybn1306.pdf.

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