We are all familiar with canola oil. Canola oil can be found in just about every kitchen on the planet. Is is hard to imagine life without canola oil. Canola crops are also grown in order to feed livestock with canola meal. As you can assume, canola crops are important to the economy. In 2017, canola crops have covered 1.93 million acres of land. This is a 12.4 percent increase over the total amount of land used for canola crops in 2016. If canola crops were any less abundant in the United States, prices for canola would skyrocket. The demand for canola is increasing rapidly. Naturally, this higher demand has led to an increase in canola crops. Unfortunately, canola crops are attacked by several different insect pests. The most damaging of all these insect pests is the canola flea beetle. As canola crops increase, crop damage caused by canola flea beetles is becoming more difficult to prevent.
According to an entomologist and ecologist with Montana State University, Dr. Gadi V. P. Reddy, adult flea beetles enjoy feeding on plant leaves, creating small holes in the leaves. The holes left in these leaves will lead to stunted growth of plants in a canola crop. Once a crop becomes exposed to an abundance of flea beetles, they can destroy an entire crop. When the climate is hot and dry, canola flea beetles reproduce faster than usual. These climatic conditions are ideal for canola flea beetles. During its seedling stage in North America canola beetles have caused as much as three hundred million dollars worth of economic damage.
Flea beetles are most damaging to plants when they are in their seedling stage. However, once the plants are about to flower, the cabbage seedpod weevil will move in and cause further plant damage. If more than fifteen percent of canola crops in North America become unusable or damaged, the economy will suffer tremendously.