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Flea beetles, pollen beetles, oil seed rape and gardens

BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,266
edited April 2019 in Plants
I was talking to a farmer this evening who said that next year he expects there to be a major reduction in the acreage of oil seed rape. With much less of the cultivated crop to act as a host, is it likely that next season, until a more balanced ecosystem is established, there could be infestations of flea beetles and pollen beetles on garden plants? 
Rutland, England


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,658
    I don't know about the beetles, but for me a reduction in oil seed rape will be a bonus. I would say I don't get hayfever, but fields full of the yellow stuff seem to make it hard for me to breathe. The pollen filter on the car blocks up rapidly as well.
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,662
    I'm not sure how much damage pollen beetles do but I have flea beetle on the allotment and they munch their way through baby leaves at a rate, radish, rocket or anything that takes a while to grow like swede struggle having holes chewed in their leaves. The wisdom is to keep the ground wet around the plants or cover with fleece but it doesn't seem to stop them munching.
  • I think it might be too late for me anyway. I used to be able to grow salad leaves etc until the farmer grew rape in the field across the road about 10 years ago and the flea beetles moved in and have been here ever since.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena Posts: 7,824
    I find the rape fields quite a stunning sight, but they seed in nearby gardens and along verges, and from late May through August my garden gets invaded with pollen beetles, at their worst from mid July to mid August, they're gone after that... I had to remove one rose - photo below -  because the flowers got continually decimated and it just wasn't worth it..   I also cannot wear anything yellow in the garden at such times, otherwise I will also be covered in them..

    Agriculture is everywhere here where I am, so it's a side effect..

    East Anglia, England
  • BenCottoBenCotto Posts: 4,266
    The point being made in the conversation I was having, if I understood it correctly, is that neonicotinoid pesticides are being banned to protect bees and this will mean that it will be considerably harder to control the cabbage stem flea beetle.

    The upshot of this is that many more farmers will choose not to grow oil seed rape next year - the acreage has been slightly falling for the past few years - but I am idly and unscientifically imagining a scenario where, next year, lots of flea and pollen beetles will be kicking their heels wondering where their next meal is coming from in the absence of OSR and decide to invade gardens. Perhaps there is a horror film to be made out of this.
    Rutland, England
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,662
    I don't think that flea beetles do that much damage to cabbage or any big leaf plants the problem occurs to plants with a small leaf area like Radish or rocket.
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