Developing Sustainable Protection Systems for Flea Beetle Control

Grants and Contracts Details


A multi]disciplinary team of researchers at the University of Kentucky will evaluate several control strategies to develop a research]based production system for controlling flea beetles in a range of crops for organic growers in Kentucky and the southeast. The project will compare current standard but ineffective systems for flea beetle control with a recently developed nylon mesh material called ProtekNet that excludes flea beetles and has numerous advantages over traditional exclusion materials, such as heat dissipation, high strength, and water permeability (]exclusion]insect]netting]knitted.html). The ProtekNet system will also be tested in combination with several different essential oils that have been shown to deter insects in the beetle family. We hypothesize that by saturating the ProtekNet mesh with essential oils we will be able to effectively control flea beetles without the use of insecticides. Additionally, silver]colored plastic mulch, which has been shown to have deterrent effects on flea beetle establishment, will be evaluated in conjunction with the row covers on crops such as eggplant to create a truly integrated system. The outcomes from this research will be disseminated through peer]reviewed scientific publications as well as extension publications, and through extension activities such as field days and conference presentations that will help farmers adopt this new pest management strategy, thereby resolving a critical impediment to successful production in a range of flea beetle susceptible crops. This system will also be applicable to conventional growers interested in reducing pesticide usage and will therefore help increase the overall sustainability of specialty crop production in Kentucky.
Effective start/end date1/1/199/29/21


  • KY Department of Agriculture: $74,705.00


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