In recent years, the popularity of Asian leafy vegetables, such as bok choi, has been increasing, providing a valuable crop for many growers in Massachusetts. However, the marketability of the greens has been reduced by the severe damage caused by two species of flea beetles, Phyllotreta cruciferae and Phyllotreta striolata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Feeding by adult beetles results in numerous tiny holes in the leaves, slows plant growth, and can kill young plants. Currently, organic growers lack effective means to limit flea beetle damage. In the summers of 2001 and 2002, we evaluated a total of 12 different treatments or control methods in randomized complete block designs at the University of Massachusetts farm. For cultural controls, we tested row covers and vacuuming of plants. We evaluated neem, pyrethrin, kaolin, hot pepper wax, carbaryl, spinosad, indoxycarb, and imidacloprid (Avaunt) as foliar treatments. Imidacloprid (Provado) and thiamethoxam were applied at seeding as systemic pesticides. These materials exhibited a range of efficacy, with the most effective being the use of row cover, followed by carbaryl and thiamethoxam. Spinosad, indoxycarb, imidacloprid, hot pepper wax, vacuuming, and kaolin were less effective. Neem and pyrethrin were not significantly different than the untreated control.
Species 1: Coleoptera Chrysomelidae Phyllotreta cruciferae
Species 2: Coleoptera Chrysomelidae Phyllotreta striolata
Keywords: organic agriculture
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