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Discussion Starter #1
So did some scouting today. Found something interesting. Contrary to what i would have thought im see alot more fleabeetle pressure in summerfallow vs zero till. I was expecting the opposite as i figured the zerotill would have provided good cover for them to overwinter and for them to eat in spring. The pictures are from the same field in the centre of the quarter. Had some unseeded acres last year due to springs hence why i have some summerfallow. As you can see the zerotilled canola is untouched and 25 yards over its getting raped. Any ideas as to why??
 

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That’s always been the case. The microclimate is a little less hospitable to the beetles direct seeding or a lot of trash around.

This cool rainy stuff sure keeps the beetles sleepy.
 

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My worst last year was plowed hay land. Second worst was direct seeded hay land. Very patchy in the rest of the no till stubble, could find no rhyme nor reason to where they showed up. Had to scout nearly every acre to find the isolated areas where they were decimating everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Interesting to me anyways. I always thiught they liked the trash cover as they are usually found heaviest around perimeters of fields. Always learning...
 

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Are u gonna spray that stuff on summerfallow stsdavew? Checked fields today and have a couple fields of liberty that look fairly worse then that. Never had much flea beetle pressure before so not sure if it can grow through it or not and of course fields are saturated from recent rain. Would post a pic if I had a clue how.
 

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Are u gonna spray that stuff on summerfallow stsdavew? Checked fields today and have a couple fields of liberty that look fairly worse then that. Never had much flea beetle pressure before so not sure if it can grow through it or not and of course fields are saturated from recent rain. Would post a pic if I had a clue how.
Im not going to make a separate pass for insecticide. Might throw some in with the liberty. If we dont get a decent rain soon i may be reseeding areas instead of spraying...
 

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You wonder if as the flea beetles fly if it isn't just easier for them to fly around when the geound is bare rather than bumping into all the stubble. The bare ground would be a lot warmer which may help them hatch earlier.
 

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In my experience with Brix with canola seedlings they almost too small at this stage to get any sort of consistent measurement/variance. For sure the flea beetles do seem to come at same stage of seedling though. Not that it is real useful for anything, but if you take a measurement of Brix on male vs female hemp plants after field has pollinated you can sure see difference - IE brix on male plants very low relative to female plants.

The blacker the ground/warmer it is certainly does increase activity and even though grassy ditches/edges of fields is supposed to be enough to overwinter them think you get even more if you have bales stacked around edges of fields.
 

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I've always found them to be worse along bush lines and low areas and places that are more sheltered. Also find them worse if you have canola beside a field that was canola the year before. Have noticed guys in the area that are a wheat/canola rotation are always having more problems with flea beetles, and obviously their neighbors.
 

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Brix is measure of sugar content of plant. The theory being the higher the Brix, the healthier the plant. Diseases and pests not found in higher brix plants - as plants die brix goes lower. Guess if you believed in it completely you would consider lots of fertility options that not necessarily a product of higher fertilizer analysis - it more of a healthy soil thing. I am a quasi believer.
 

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So basically all it is telling you is that flea beetles don't like their food too sweet?
 

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That would be theory and you can make theory work because at stage they attack canola you typically do not have very significant brix readings. However, not sure how you could ever manage your crop to get high enough brix readings in canola at that stage to use it as an indicator. Also, the time of day, way you sample it it can give you plenty of variation as well - IE it changes a lot. Horse hay people would understand this. While it is interesting think applications in field crops we grow are bit limited.
 

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So basically all it is telling you is that flea beetles don't like their food too sweet?
I was at a producer meeting one time and a snake-oil sales guy was going on about healthy soil and how their product would raise sugar content in plants or basically make them uninteresting to bugs. Once he said "grasshoppers don't have a pancreas" we all just about died laughing. Seemed funny at the time but maybe there is something to it??? I don't know what those things cost but it might be interesting to check some of this stuff for yourself because one can't believe what the product sales guy says all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I would think its pretty safe to assume that a half eaten plant would have less sugar content then a healthy one just for the simple fact of less plant so to me the sugar content would just be a symptom not any sort of indicator or am i missing something?
 

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The device to measure brix is called a refractometer. Once it spits out the numerical sugar reading, you need to look on a brix chart and see what column your number falls under, the higher the number the better the plant health.


There is only a very small acreage of canola grown around here for seed, and flea beetles are not a problem, so I have no experience with them. However, I have seen this play out first hand in alfalfa with aphids. Two separate fields divided only by a fence, the one on the west side needed sprayed nearly every cutting, the one on the east side never needed sprayed for aphids in 5 years, the field on the east was usually around 4 points higher brix. The field on the east was mine that I rented. The neighbor never would believe me that the little fertility differences I did kept the aphids out. He always chalked it up to me being lucky or a difference in varities.


It's true that insects don't have a pancreas, and this makes them unable to metabolize sugar, they basically die of alcohol poisoning. Some insects however, have the ability to "spit out" the excess sugar, hence the sticky honeydew created by some bugs. The higher sugar content isn't necessarily the sole remedy, but rather an indication of a well functioning plant. Sick and healthy plants emit different frequencies and different UV readings, that's how insects find them. Insects have a job in nature, it's to keep the sick and weak plants from reproducing.


I too would be interested to know the OP's difference in brix readings, I would also be interested to see a soil sample and a tissue sample between the infected and noninfected areas. I would almost be willing to bet there would be a difference in calcium contents.




And yes........I'm that weird neighbor down the road that always has to do things differently, and I do enjoy a good snake oil......lol
 

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It's true that insects don't have a pancreas, and this makes them unable to metabolize sugar, they basically die of alcohol poisoning. Some insects however, have the ability to "spit out" the excess sugar, hence the sticky honeydew created by some bugs. The higher sugar content isn't necessarily the sole remedy, but rather an indication of a well functioning plant. Sick and healthy plants emit different frequencies and different UV readings, that's how insects find them. Insects have a job in nature, it's to keep the sick and weak plants from reproducing.


And yes........I'm that weird neighbor down the road that always has to do things differently, and I do enjoy a good snake oil......lol
They must be able to use certain forms of sugar but only in low quantities? Otherwise not sure what would make them tick...
My other thought would be more of some kind of parasitoid bug eating the beetles or larvae that like shelter, but I don't think enough of those would exist. (Apparently some of those bugs do attack flea beetles.)
I have seen something that looks like flea beetles eating brassica type vegetables in the garden before, so they do exist here but don't bother anything else it seems.


Reading all the previous posts sounds like those beetles are rather picky in what habitat they prefer and what can make them worse, down here with soybean aphids some noticed a couple years ago Roundup beans needed spraying for them more often than Liberty beans, theory being the Roundup affected certain nutrients inside the plant. Lately the university discovered a parasitic wasp in the state that lays its eggs in aphids (and the resulting larvae kill the aphid) even though none had been intentionally released, as it is not native.
 
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