The impact of plant essential oils and fine mesh row covers on flea beetle (Chrysomelidae) management in brassicaceous greens production

Robert Brockman, Ryan Kuesel, Kendall Archer, Kyla O’Hearn, Neil Wilson, Delia Scott, Mark Williams, Ricardo Bessin, David Gonthier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Brassicaceous leafy greens are an important crop for small growers but are difficult to produce due to damage by flea beetles. Flea beetles are problematic for growers as they chew many small holes through leaves rendering produce unmarketable. We tested the efficacy of several essential oils, the woven-mesh row cover ProtekNet, and the spunbonded row cover Agribon, compared to organic and conventional insecticides and no spray controls in the spring and fall of 2019. We found that the two row cover treatments (Agribon and ProtekNet) provided the best control of flea beetles and associated damage. Thyme oil was highly phytotoxic and killed the crop entirely and rosemary and neem essential oils caused mild phytotoxic burns. Organic insecticides rarely performed better than the no spray control. While conventional insecticides controlled most flea beetles, the crop was often still too highly damaged to sell. The results of our study suggest row covers offer producers an effective method of flea beetle control that reduces their dependence on insecticides for conventional and organic production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number714
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInsects
Volume11
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research and the Article Processing Charge were both funded by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture Hatch Grant (KY008079) and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant (PON2 035 1900003060 AM180100XXXXG007).

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: We would like to thank Daniel Potter for commenting on project design as well as Kantima Thongjued, Nathaniel Colten, Kathleen Fiske, and Karina Garcia for reviewing this manuscript. We would also like to thank Steve Diver and Jay Tucker at the University of Kentucky’s Horticulture Research Farm for all their assistance and guidance with plot setup and maintenance. We could not have done this project without funding from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and through Hatch funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Agribon
  • Arugula
  • Chaetocnema concinna
  • Flea beetle
  • Mizuna mustard
  • Organic agriculture
  • Phyllotreta bipustulata
  • Phyllotreta cruciferae
  • Phyllotreta striolata
  • ProtekNet
  • Row cover

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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