Cultural Management of Flea Beetle on Canola

Flea beetles (Phyllotetra spp.) are among the most serious and widespread pests of canola on the Canadian prairies. Seed-coated insecticides and subsequent applications of foliar sprays are used to reduce flea beetle populations. However, the time frame at which the insecticide is effective is narrow, meaning that the insecticide is unable to protect canola stands throughout all its developmental stages. Chemical applications, therefore, need to be accompanied by cultural methods to reduce flea beetle populations and hence reduce the extent of the damage. With the support of Alberta Canola Producers (ACPC), MARA together with NPARA and SARDA are evaluating the impact of seeding date, seed size, and seeding rate on flea beetle leaf damage and flea beetle population. Flea beetle damage and population will be quantified using sticky traps and leaf damage per plot. In this way, treatments with average values of lower numbers of flea beetles
and lower rates of flea beetle leaf damage will be considered the best-integrated pest management strategies to reduce flea beetles in canola stands.