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Cabbage flea beetles

My entire first plantings of cabbages and kohl rabi have been completely destroyed by hundreds of huge flea beetles. I've had small ones before on rocket and other salad leaves but I've never had them on brassicas. I have some more seedlings growing (now under microfleece!) but how can I protect them when it's time to plant them out? Any tips would be very welcome.

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  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,337
    Flea beetles love hot dry weather and dislike rain, so the weather this year has made things much worse than usual.  Spraying/misting the plants regularly should help.  You could try covering the whole area with the enviromesh type stuff immediately when you plant them out which will prevent any adults entering the area, but some may emerge from the soil.
    You could do some research into something called 'spinosad' which is produced from soil bacteria, but I have no idea whether it's as safe as they say or whether it is available in the UK (or whether it's something you would even consider!)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,195
    Thanks @BobTheGardener. I had assumed it must be the hot, dry weather as it's not happened before but it was too late for the first lot of seedlings by the time I identified the problem. I'll definitely cover the next lot with mesh to try to keep them out but they're sneaky little things in my experience and manage to find their way in somehow. Maybe the change in the weather will help.

    I did come across some biological controls on the internet but couldn't find any available in the UK but I'll look into spinosad. Thanks.
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