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Flea Beetles

These are exceptionally devious and objectionable creatures. They winter over in bark and refuse. The adults feed on broad leaf weeds until something better is found like the swollen grape bud pictured here. By the time they climb onto the vines, they have already laid the eggs of the next generation in refuse and in vine bark crevices. When the buds swell, the adults hollow them out, thus destroying your crop plan and some of the strategically located buds for next year.

Control

They are controlled by minimizing habitat, food supply and timely killing. Keep broad leaf weeds and plant refuse out of the vineyard, and clean the floor of any adjacent tree rows and woods borders. Always use a dormant spray before bud swell. Although the timing is not perfect, you will kill some of the adults (see page on dormant spray). Spray the canes again at bud swell (especially if you see hollowed buds). Use a low impact, short lived insecticide such as Sevin TRADE MARK80WP or liquid.

This extremely harmful (if uncontrolled) vineyard pest is extremely controllable if you are watching for its irrefutable evidence of being there and ready to react. Over a couple of seasons you will reduce its population to the point where you won't see ruined buds.


Photo courtesy of Cornell University, J. M. Ogrodnick, Photographer

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