Flea beetles, mainly striped flea beetle, Phyllotreta striolata (Fabricius), are being captured in pheromone traps by Lesley Lubenow at the Langdon REC.
Flea beetles, mainly striped flea beetle, Phyllotreta striolata (Fabricius), are being captured in pheromone traps by Lesley Lubenow at the Langdon REC. The striped flea beetle is small, 1/32 to ⅛ in. in length, with two yellow stripes on their black wing covers (Figure 1). They emerge earlier than the more common crucifer flea beetle, Phyllotreta cruciferae Goeze. Crucifer flea beetles are black beetles with an iridescent blue sheen on the wing covers. Flea beetles have enlarged hind femora (thighs) on their hind legs which they use to jump quickly when disturbed. Their name, flea beetle, arose from this behavior.
Phyllotreta flea beetles have a single generation in the northern Great Plains. They overwinter as adults in the leaf litter of shelterbelts or grassy areas and rarely overwinter in canola stubble. Beetles emerge when temperatures warm up to 57 to 59°F in early spring. Flea beetles feed on volunteer canola and weeds, such as wild mustard, before moving to spring planted canola fields. Depending on the temperature, it may take up to three weeks for adults to leave their overwintering sites. Warm, dry, and calm weather promotes flea beetle flight and feeding activity throughout the field, while simultaneously slowing canola growth. When weather conditions are cool, wet, and windy, flea beetles may creep slowly into the field and concentrate feeding on the field edges.