Laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate the contact and oral toxicity of commercial formulations of spinosad and deltamethrin to adults of the crucifer flea beetle, Phyllotreta cruciferae (Goeze). Method of exposure had a significant effect on flea beetle mortality and feeding damage to canola seedlings. Topical treatment of flea beetles with deltamethrin or different concentrations of spinosad resulted in significantly lower mortality and higher feeding damage than exposure to treated canola cotyledons. Results indicated that spinosad was more toxic by ingestion than by topical contact. Mortality from treated cotyledons was significantly higher with 60 ppm deltamethrin than with 80 or 120 ppm spinosad after 24 h exposure but not after 120 h exposure. Delayed mortality in the spinosad treatments did not result in high feeding damage; damage after 120 h was not significantly different in the spinosad and deltamethrin treatments. Low concentrations of spinosad (40 ppm) strongly inhibited feeding activity within 24 h after exposure. Mortality from spinosad was higher after beetles were exposed to treated cotyledons for 120 h than for 24 h. Mortality from spinosad, but not deltamethrin, was significantly higher at 25 °C than at 15 °C. An ionic surfactant, polyethylenimine, increased the toxicity of 40 ppm spinosad. Our study suggests that spinosad has potential for use as an insecticide against crucifer flea beetles on canola.