Friday, June 7, 2013


I believe I have mentioned our struggles with flea beetles before.

And I know that our customers have seen the damage they can do to our crops and understand our need to fight them.

This is what flea beetles do.

Unfortunately, it seems that everything we try is only partially effective. But today, we tried something new.

Nematodes. Specifically, 50 million Steinernema feltiae, soil dwelling parasitic nematodes that attack only insects. Mostly, they only go after the pests - like flea beetles, thrips, and fungus gnats - and leave the beneficial insects alone.

Click here if you want to see where we bought them.

This is what 50 million nematodes look like.

When you get them in the mail, you can't actually see them. All you see is a small package of "inert powder".

So, of course, we had to check and make sure they were really there.

They were.

Then we mixed some of them with water, did a test squirt through our sprayer, and checked under the microscope again to make sure they were still there.

They certainly were.

Finally, I went to the greenhouse and sprayed all the starts that flea beetles find especially tasty, such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Tomorrow I plan to spread some in the field on the flea beetle hosts that we have already planted.

You can't see them, but I assure you they're now here too.

Hopefully, they will keep our flea beetle population under control this year. Cross your fingers with us!

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