Thursday, May 22, 2014

How to Control Flea Beetles

Have you noticed those little pin holes in leaves of brassica plants like kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Well those are cause by tiny beetles that are no bigger than a grain of sand.We often ignore them as they don't really cause more than cosmetic damage. However, there are two excellent organic controls.

The first is to cover your brassicas with spun polyester row cover. It is about 95% permeable to light and water, but the openings are small enough to keep out the flea beetles. You have to get this on the plants before the beetles move in. It is also reuseable for several seasons and pretty inexpensive. Plants love this stuff and will often be several weeks ahead of uncovered plants of the same maturity.

The second is "spinosand" which is derived from soil fungi and is very effective at interrupting the beetle life cycle, and is totally non toxic to humans and pets. You can get it a Fleet Farm, Sargent's and Whiting's in Rochester, MN. I'll let you follow the label for the correct application method.

I had several growers that use chemicals ask me a few years ago about how to control some of these issues and my method worked hands down better than what they had been using. It was safer too. Imagine that!

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