Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pest News for Week of June 4th


From: Steve Frank, Extension Entomologist

Red Headed Flea Beetles in the Nursery

Flea beetles have been an increasing problem in nurseries and landscape in the past couple years. We do not know the reasons why but clinic reports have increased as well as phone calls and other reports from growers. The red-headed flea beetle has been the main culprit attacking roses, hydrangeas, and other nursery crops. The adults are small (2 to 4 mm) and black or iridescent and feed on leaves. Larvae feed on plant roots and are small and cream-colored. Their most notable feature is how hard they are to catch when you want to submit a sample to the North Carolina State University Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. As their name implies they are very good jumpers. Feeding by these beetles produces shot holes in leaves though heavy infestations can skeletonize leaves.

Flea beetles are active now as adults and larvae. They are more likely to cause aesthetic or economic damage in nurseries where many plants are grown in close quarters. In that case, treatment is needed. Available chemicals include spinosad (Conserve), imidacloprid (Merit, Marathon), thiamethoxam (Flagship) and acephate (Orthene).

For more information contact your local Cooperative Extension Center and ask for the Commercial Horticulture Agent.