Cabbage stem flea beetle

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The oilseed rape (OSR) pest cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) is widespread in the UK and northern Europe. Since 2013, when neonicotinoid-treated seed was withdrawn from use in OSR, management of this pest has become more challenging.

OSR is most vulnerable at emergence, when the crop can grow more slowly than it is being eaten. The growing point of the crop can also be destroyed.

Resistance to pyrethroid insecticides has been confirmed in the UK CSFB population. Both target-site resistance and metabolic-based resistance, the latter conferring strong resistance to pyrethroids, have been confirmed.

Resistance pressures mean it is essential to use integrated pest management (IPM) approaches to minimise the use of insecticide sprays. In particular, it is important that treatment thresholds are followed.

Where a spray is deemed necessary, full recommended field rates should be applied. If control is poor, pyrethroid sprays should be avoided.

Cabbage Stem Flea Beetles Adults And Larvae

Adults (left) are about 5mm long and shiny black with a hint of green/blue. The larvae (right) are predominantly white, with numerous small dark dots on the back and three pairs of dark legs. Fully grown larvae are about 6mm long and have a black head and a large black plate on the upper surface of the hind end.

Encyclopaedia of pests and natural enemies

The AHDB ‘Encyclopaedia of pests and natural enemies’ provides information on the identification, risk factors, life cycle, monitoring, control thresholds, non-chemical control and insecticide resistance (where known) of major and minor pests commonly associated with cropping systems.

The publication can be downloaded from:

Further information on CSFB, including risk factors, life cycle, monitoring and thresholds, can be accessed from page 21.

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Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle Front Cover