The flea beetles Phyllotreta cruciferae (Goeze) and Phyllotreta striolata (F.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Alticinae) are significant pests of crops in the Brassicaceae family. From 2001 to 2003, the efficacy of both new and commonly used treatments for the control of flea beetles in brassicas, Brassica rapa L., were evaluated in three small plot, randomized complete block design trials. Row cover and carbaryl (applied as a weekly foliar spray) were found to be the most consistent at reducing damage in comparison with untreated controls in all trials. Two new products that may provide adequate flea beetle control are spinosad (in either conventional or organic formulations) and thiamethoxam. The plant-derived compounds azidiractin and pyrethrin did not protect treated plants from flea beetle feeding. Treatment of plants with kaolin, or removal of the beetles with a vacuum, also did not reduce the level of crop damage. The level of damage at harvest was found to be correlated with population size of flea beetles in each plot, as measured by captures on yellow sticky traps and direct visual counts. Removal of the outer two leaves of individual B. rapa plants reduced the total number of holes per plant by 40%, while only removing 15% of the leaf area.
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Vol. 99 • No. 3