Crop & Pest Report


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Get Ready to Collect Leafy Spurge Flea Beetles (06/16/16)

The noxious weed, leafy spurge, is flowering in ditches and pastures.

Get Ready to Collect Leafy Spurge Flea Beetles

The noxious weed, leafy spurge, is flowering in ditchesent.knodel.1 and pastures. Farmers and land owners can use leafy spurge flea beetles (Aphthona species) for effective biocontrol of leafy spurge. Adult Aphthona flea beetle feed leafy spurge foliage causing severe defoliation and on the roots as larvae. However, the larval root feeding injury causes the major damage to water and nutrient uptake, and storage. These flea beetles are host-specific to the leafy spurge plant, which makes them an ideal biological control choice.

To determine when to begin scouting for adult flea beetles, use the accumulated growing degree days (AGDD) for sunflower (base of 44 F) on NDAWN - sunflower degree days/growth stage application. Select the “Map” tab, enter “2016-03-01” for planting date and select “growing degree day” for map type.

Begin scouting for adult flea beetles when the sunflower AGDD approaches 1,000. Flea beetles should be collected between 1,200 and 1,600 AGDD using the sunflower GDD model. Currently, North Dakota ranges from 806 AGDD in the northeasent.knodel.2t to 1,226 AGDD in the southeast (see map on next page).

Adult flea beetles can be collected easily with sweep nets. After late July (or 1,600 AGDD), flea beetles begin to lay eggs and should not be moved or collected. Leafy spurge flea beetles typically take three to five years to establish and reduce leafy spurge infestations.

To find collecting sites for leafy spurge flea beetle, contact your locaent.knodel.3l county weed office (number listed in local phone book). Leafy spurge flea beetles also are available commercially for purchase at Biological Control of Weeds or WeedBusters BioControl in Montana.

An excellent resource on leafy spurge flea beetles is available on NDSU Extension Service publication website entitled Leafy Spurge Control Using Flea Beetles W1183 by Rodney Lym.




Janet J. Knodel

Extension Entomologist


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