Tips to minimize the risk of flea beetle damage

Seed treatments are an important tool for flea beetle control. And they perform even better when combined with cropping practices that help make your fields less attractive to flea beetles and foster strong stand establishment.

  • Control cruciferous weeds prior to seeding canola
  • Seed shallow
  • Seed when soil temperatures are warm enough to promote fast germination and quick plant growth
  • Plant large, high-quality, vigorous seed
  • Ensure seed is treated with a premium, long-lasting insecticidal seed treatment. If the seed treatment has a variable rate, use the high rate if flea beetle numbers are expected to be high, in poor growing conditions, or if you use a low seeding rate
  • Use a seeding rate that targets at least seven to 10 plants per square foot
  • Direct seeding reduces flea beetle numbers over conventional tillage
  • Tall stubble impedes the movement of flea beetles
  • Scout fields daily for signs of flea beetle feeding. Be especially vigilant when temperatures are above 14°C
  • If feeding damage reaches 25 per cent, apply a registered foliar insecticide. If plant stands are low (below 10 plants/sq. ft.), this damage threshold should be reduced accordingly
  • Flea beetles tend to move into canola from field borders so pay particular attention to field edges, especially if bordering fields were seeded to canola the year before
  • Occasionally, the requirement for a foliar control might be limited to the first few rounds in a field.
  • If summer fallowing, do not cultivate those fields until canola crops have passed the stage when they are susceptible to flea beetle damage
  • Be aware that flea beetles can move long distances, especially under hot and windy conditions. Even if there was no previous canola in the immediate area, flea beetles can still become a problem

— Sources: Canola Council of Canada, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.

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