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Flea Beetles Feeding on Canola Pods (08/13/20)

Late season feeding injury by flea beetles to canola pods is usually not economic or a pest concern in North Dakota.

Late season feeding injury by flea beetles to canola pods is usually not economic or a pest concern in North Dakota. Pod feeding by flea beetles increases the risk of pod shattering, shriveled seeds and premature pod ripening. Three years of research from western Canada found that flea beetle populations of more than 100 per plant were required to cause yield loss and canola was most susceptible to damage in the early pod stage. Even then, yield loss from flea beetle damage was low, 2.4-3.5 bu per acre, and only occurred during early pod stage.

A nominal threshold of 50+ flea beetles per plant during early pod fill is recommended to help make control decisions. Canola becomes relatively resistant to any more flea beetle damage when the seeds in lower pods are green or changing color. Flea beetles feed mainly on the younger (upper pods). However, pods in the middle of the canopy contribute the most to yield, so watch for large numbers of flea beetles(50+ per plant) feeding on these pods. Flea beetles will continue to feed until pods begin to change color, and then move to other food sources.

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Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist

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