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Cabbage flea beetle

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Cabbage Flea Beetle

Cabbage flea beetle(Phyllotreta cruciferae), The adults are small, hard beetles, have an elongated oval shape with enlarged hind legs and are about 1/12 inch (2 mm) long by 1/10 inch (2.5 mm) wide.

Cabbage flea beetle

Cabbage flea beetle

Two species of flea beetles most commonly found on crucifers are the cabbage flea beetle and the striped flea beetle. The cabbage flea beetle is all black with no markings and the striped flea beetle is black with a crooked yellow stripe on each wing cover. Adults are easily disturbed and jump quickly, often traveling considerable distances.

Egg: The egg is lemon-shaped, orange, and about 0.85 mm long.

Larvae: Larvae are whitish with dark brown plates at both ends and segmented with three pairs of small legs near the head. They grow up to 10 mm long and are often mistaken for corn rootworm larvae.

Pupa: The pupa is soft-bodied, white, and about 5 mm long.

Both adults and larvae feed on cured meats, dried fish, cheeses, raw skins, hides, furs, feathers, hair, fish meal, dry dog and cat food, stored tobacco, stuffed animals, dead insects in wall voids, museum specimens, abandoned bird nests, dead rodents in wall partitions or chimneys, dead beehives, and even rat or mouse poison baits. Infestations are often hard to locate because beetles and larvae can migrate far from the original food source.

Habitat: Snap beans, soybeans, and other legumes. Eggs, larvae, and pupae of the bean leaf beetle occur in the soil and are typically not encountered.

Cabbage flea beetle larvae

Cabbage flea beetle larvae

Life Cycle :1 Year annual generation. The adult having aestivated, resumes its activity at the end of August - beginning of September with important variations depending on the regions, the years and the climatic conditions, a rainy period favouring a mass appearance. Egg Laying begins in autumn and with a break in mid-winterresumes from February to mid-March.

Larvae live in the soil where they feed on plant roots and have three instars. Larvae develop to pupae in about 23 days. Warmer soil temperatures can shorten larval development time. Pupation is completed in about a week and adults emerge from the soil. Total developmental time from egg to adult normally ranges from 25 to 40 days. There are two generations per year in Nebraska.

Damage :Adult flea beetles bite the cotyledons of seedlings, producing holes. Major damage occurs when the apical meristem of the seedling plant is damaged or destroyed, and total stand reduction can result. More typically, approximately 50% of the seedlings survive and produce seed. The flea beetles migrate into the fields from the edges and usually do economic damage no farther than 50 yards or so into the field.

Cabbage flea beetle

Cabbage flea beetle

The larvae of cabbage flea beetle feed on the roots of members of the mustard family and produce no economic damage. However, a second, overwintering generation of adult beetles may emerge and attack the pods just as they mature and cause tremendous shatter damage with loss of seed from the pods reaching 400 pounds of seed per acre. These overwintering adults also attack seedling fall in some locations. It is common for the same fields to be infested year after year, while fields a short distance away are never attacked at an economic level.

Management: Plants raised indoors will not usually be affected. When they are planted out in June and July, they will be too big to be damaged badly and the worst of the flea-beetle attacks will be over by then anyway. Plants raised in moist, wellmanured, fertile soils with a fine tilth or texture, will not be as badly damaged as plants raised in poorer soils.

Raising cabbage family plants in seed beds protected by fleece or insect-proof mesh will exclude flea beetles, if put on soon after sowing. They will also keep the seedlings free of cabbage root fly, cabbage aphid and other pests.

Cultural Control: Cabbage flea beetles seldom invade fields farther than 50 yards from the edge adjacent to a refuge crop such as grass. Most of the severe injury to apical meristem and resulting reduction of stand occur in this edge zone. Therefore, many experienced growers double seed part of this zone—usually the first 100 feet adjacent to the refuge area. The flea beetles damage about half of the seedling plants between emergence and the rosette stage, leaving an adequate stand and not requiring chemical treatment.

Cabbage flea beetle damage

Cabbage flea beetle Damage

This practice is very effective, but can fail under unusual conditions of high flea beetle populations and weather that slows plant growth. Where refuge crops are numerous, invading beetles may cover a large field with damaging numbers. A population of 80+ flea beetles per 6.6 feet of row (one square meter) will cause economic damage loss to the stand if not treated with an insecticide immediately. This is becoming more likely each year in continuous production areas.

Chemical Control: Imidacloprid (Gaucho 480 at 8.0 to 10.0 oz. ai cwt). This seed treatment is applied to the seed in a slurry containing fungicides and is labeled up to 13.3 oz ai cwt. For flea beetle control most seed dealers and conditioners apply the lowest effective rate, 8.0 oz. ai per cwt. This rate is normally effective against moderate levels of flea beetle when rapid growth of the plant occurs.It is effective through the rosette stage of crop growth, after which flea beetle damage is normally not economic in nature. However, when conditions are cool, preventing rapid emergence and growth, the 8.0 oz. ai cwt rate is marginally effective compared to a higher rate of 10.0 oz. ai cwt. Most growers use the higher seed treatment rate at present.

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