Springtail (Bourletiella sp.)
Springtail are found throughout New Zealand and are a major predator of establishing brassica crops. Springtail can be present in huge numbers particularly in situations where crops are established out of old pasture.
Springtail spend most of their lives under or on the soil surface, which is where eggs are laid. Under warm moist conditions development is very rapid, with several generations produced over the spring to autumn periods.
Springtail are very small soft bodied insects, brown in colour and growing to the size of a pin head. Springtail have the ability to spring up very quickly from the soil surface.
Springtail mouth parts are well adapted to chewing. Damage to brassica plants may occur as soon as the cotyledons emerge from the seed shell, with the stems supporting the cotyledons often destroyed before they emerge above the soil surface. Damage to seedlings above ground appears as scalloping to leaf edges or small holes in young leaves.
Prevention and control
- Ultrastrike brassica, Superstrike brassica or Gaucho brassica seed treatment for protection during plant establishment.
- Contact insecticide pre-sowing to reduce adult population, especially out of old pasture.
For more information visit www.agpest.co.nz