Red Headed Flea Beetles in Nurseries

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Adapted from original content by Danny Lauderdale. Several growers have reported red headed flea beetle adults on plants that were either kept in overwintering structures this winter (where beetles may emerge

Red headed flea beetle on hydrangea with feeding damage and frass. Photo: SD Frank

Red headed flea beetle on hydrangea with feeding damage and frass. Photo: SD Frank

earlier) and even some kept outdoors (where beetles may emerge later). Most everyone has made it over or very close to 800 Growing Degree Days by now. Itea virginica and Magnolia grandiflora are in bloom in central eastern NC and this is another sign that adults will be out soon if not already. Make sure to scout frequently now for adults and damage. If you have made systemic pretreatment (neonicotinoid or Mainspring) applications this should be a big help with management early on. Once adults emerge, systemic products are not as effective as if applied as a pretreatment. They may be effective if applied in a tank mix with contact products so you get the early knockdown with some longer lasting effects. Make sure to rotate insecticide classes when applying contact insecticides. IN recent tests we found that Xxpire which contains sulfoxaflor, a Group 4C insecticide, and spinetoram, a Group 5 insecticide and dinotefuran applied to foliage had persistent toxicity to 14 days after treatment. Acephate killed beetles well but only for a day. Hachi-Hachi (tolfenpyrad) was moderately toxic but reduced damage to leaves as well as the other products.

You can review other articles and products available for managing many insect pests including flea beetles in the nursery in the Southern Region IPM Guide.