5th August 2019 at 1:37 pm #70670
Like many, many others I’ve had flea beetle Armageddon this year. Trying to do a bit of research, I think in my case this is cabbage stem flea beetle (the larvae tunnel into and eat brassica stems – nice) coming from the oilseed rape fields right next door. I always cover my brassicas from the off with very fine mesh against the multitude of brassica pests, given the dominance of OSR in this area. I couldn’t believe the sudden ‘plague’ though. One day none, next day many thousands. I’ve never seen any thing like it. I suspected the farmer may have recently sprayed the crop with something like glyphosate to act as a ‘drying agent’ (as they do with wheat too) to aid harvest. Whether it was dead rape or just a synchronised mass emergence, the flea beetle arrived in their thousands and proceeded to annihilate all my recently planted swede, kohl rabi, PSB and calabrese plugs, even under the mesh, and had a good go at the slightly bigger sprouts.
That was three weeks ago. The OSR has been harvested and whereas for weeks I had thousands of flea beetles, yesterday I had hundreds, so I’m hoping they will go soon.
Whether the massive increase this year has anything to do with the total EU ban last year on neonics for outside crops I’ll leave to others to decide. Farmers will say yes, environmentalists no.
Anyway, I have a few struggling plugs left at home which have been in their modules far too long waiting to be planted. Assuming the flea beetles go in the next week, will I be ok to plant spring cauliflower, PSB and savoy cabbage, and, if I can still buy plugs of them, swede, kohl rabi, sprouts and calabrese? Or am I just too late and it would be better to cut my losses, plant something else and aim for spring cabbage? Also, is it too late to sow dwarf French bean cupidon for a late harvest?
On a good note the sweet corn has been fantastic this year and am harvesting now. Wow. Shame it’s such a short season with them.
Jan9th August 2019 at 2:58 pm #70675
Jd still just possible to plant those, asap.
Yes even here we had them, way more than usual. Thanks for your description.
I found that June plantings survived better than July planted, smaller brassicas at the time of max. insects in late July.
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