25 August 1995

Treating for flea beetle will pay

OILSEED rape growers drilling crops into dry conditions would do well to have seed treated with gamma-HCH insecticide to control small flea beetles, advises ADAS Reading based entomologist Jon Oakley.

He reports a "plague" of the pest moving off harvested crops in south England. Unlike cabbage stem flea beetle the small flea beetles are susceptible to insecticide. Where no seed treatment is used check crops for damage after emergence and be ready to use a pyrethroid spray, he adds.

"If there is a year when treating for flea beetle is going to be worthwhile then it looks like being this year," he comments. Only significant rain will reduce the pests threat.