Minor flea beetles affecting field crops

Flea beetles, such as the Wessex, striped, turnip, adult beet (or mangold) and flax flea beetles, can cause damage to cereals, sugar beet and vegetable brassicas. All these beetles are smaller than the cabbage stem flea beetle. 

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Cabbage stem flea beetle

Wessex, striped and turnip flea beetles

Some flea beetles, including Wessex, striped and turnip flea beetles, cause occasional crop damage. Phyllotreta species can be very damaging pests of seedling crucifers such as swede and rocket.  

The Wessex flea beetle is of increasing importance in southern England and is most likely to severely check earlier sown, slow-growing oilseed rape.  

The striped and turnip flea beetles are principally pests of spring brassicas, of which later-sown crops are most susceptible; however, any crop may be at risk if growth is checked by sunny, dry weather. 

Adult beet (mangold) flea beetles

Adult beet, or mangold flea beetles, can cause serious damage to the upper or lower surface of cotyledons, leaves and petioles of sugar beet.  

They overwinter in sheltered spots (field margins or hedges) and emerge in spring.  

Eggs are laid in late spring and larvae feed on roots before pupating.  

However, most damage is caused by adults feeding in the spring, especially when the pest is present in large numbers and plant growth is slow.  

Flax flea beetle

In recent years, flax flea beetle has emerged as a pest of linseed.  

It can damage emerging crops, especially when growing conditions are poor.  

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