Insect of the Week – Rove beetle

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

This week’s Insect of the Week is the Rove Beetle (Delia spp.). This beetle feeds on aphids, mites, eggs and larvae of many other insects present under plant debris, rocks, stones, carrion, dung, and other materials. It is also an important natural enemy of the pea leaf weevil. One species of the rove beetle, Aleochara bilineata, is an important natural enemy of cabbage, seedcorn, onion and turnip maggots.

Follow @FieldHeroes to learn more about the Natural Enemies that are working for you for FREE to protect your crops!

For more information on the Rove Beetle, see our Insect of the Week page.

Rove beetle – adult (Tyler Wist, AAFC)
Remember the NEW Cutworm Field Guide is free and downloadable in 2017!

Weekly Update – Weather Synopsis

Ross Weiss, David Giffen, Owen Olfert and prairiepest_admin
Week 6

Weather synopsis – Meteorological conditions for the past month of May were generally warmer and dryer than normal. Average May temperatures were in the range of 0 to 2°C warmer than long term averages. 

May precipitation was below average across Manitoba and Saskatchewan; rainfall amounts were greatest across Alberta. The overall precipitation this growing season has been below normal to normal in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, but normal to well above normal in Alberta. 

Over this past week, average temperatures across the prairies were 2°C warmer than last week, and marginally warmer than long term averages for early June. Weekly average temperatures were greatest in southern regions of Manitoba and Alberta. Precipitation over the past week was greatest in central and northern Alberta. Most of Saskatchewan was dry over the past week. 

The map below reflects the Accumulated Precipitation for the Growing Season so far for the prairie provinces (i.e., April 1-June 5, 2017):

The map below shows the Lowest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 30-June 5, 2017) across the prairies:

Whereas the map below shows the Highest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 30-June 5, 2017):

The updated growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – June 4, 2017) is below:

While the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – June 4, 2017) is below:

The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Growers may wish to bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.

Weekly Update – Cereal leaf beetle

Ross Weiss, Owen Olfert and prairiepest_admin
Week 6

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) – As of June 5, 2017, model output indicates that oviposition should be nearly complete and larval populations should peak across the southern prairies

Lifecycle and Damage:
Adult: Adult cereal leaf beetles (CLB) have shiny bluish-black wing-covers (Fig. 2). The thorax and legs are light orange-brown. Females (4.9 to 5.5 mm) are slightly larger than the males (4.4 to 5 mm). Adult beetles overwinter in and along the margins of grain fields in protected places such as in straw stubble, under crop and leaf litter, and in the crevices of tree bark. They favour sites adjacent to shelter belts, deciduous and conifer forests. They emerge in the spring once temperature reaches 10-15 ºC and are active for about 6 weeks. They usually begin feeding on grasses, then move into winter cereals and later into spring cereals.  

Figure 2. Adult Oulema melanopus (~4.4-5.5 mm long).

Egg: Eggs are laid approximately 14 days following the emergence of the adults. Eggs are laid singly or in pairs along the mid vein on the upper side of the leaf and are cylindrical, measuring 0.9 mm by 0.4 mm, and yellowish in colour. Eggs darken to black just before hatching.  

Larva: The larvae hatch in about 5 days and feed for about 3 weeks, passing through 4 growth stages (instars). The head and legs are brownish-black; the body is yellowish. Larvae are usually covered with a secretion of mucus and fecal material, giving them a shiny black, wet appearance (Fig. 3).  When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil. 

Figure 3.  Larval stage of Oulema melanopus with characteristic feeding damage visible on leaf.

Pupa: Pupal colour varies from a bright yellow when it is first formed, to the colour of the adult just before emergence. The pupal stage lasts 2 – 3 weeks. Adult beetles emerge and feed for a couple of weeks before seeking overwintering sites. There is one generation per year.

Fact sheets for CLB are published by the province of Alberta and available from the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Also access the Oulema melanopus page from the new “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide”.

Weekly Update – Alfalfa weevil

David Giffen, Owen Olfert and prairiepest_admin
Week 6

Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) – Reminder – Biological information and photos of all life stages of this insect can reviewed on the Week 4 post.  The larval stage of this weevil feeds on alfalfa leaves in a manner that characterizes the pest as a “skeletonizer”.  

Degree-day maps of base 9°C are now being produced by Soroka, Olfert, and Giffen (2016) using the Harcourt/North Dakota models.  Models predicting the development of Alfalfa weevil across the prairies are updated weekly to help growers time their in-field scouting for second-instar larvae.  Compare the following predicted development stages and degree-day values from Soroka (2015) to the map below.

As of June 4, 2017, the recent warm weather has resulted in rapid development, indicating that 80% of the hatch is probably complete (less than 20% last week). Larval populations should be predominantly in the first and second instars (less than 10% are predicted to be third instars). 

Figure 1.  Heat units accumulated necessary for the development of Alfalfa weevil 
(Hypera posticaacross the Canadian prairies (April 1-June 4, 2017).

Remember – Use the photo below as a visual reference to identify alfalfa weevil larvae.  Note the white dorsal line, the tapered shape of the abdomen and the dark head capsule.

Alfalfa growers are encouraged to check the Alfalfa Weevil Fact Sheet prepared by Dr. Julie Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon) and additional information can be accessed by reviewing the Alfalfa Weevil Page extracted from the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (Philip et al. 2015).  That guide is available in both a free English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Pea leaf weevil

Ross Weiss, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
Week 6

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– This week, weevil oviposition is predicted to be occurring across central and southern regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan.   

The PLW Blitz continues this week and features:
– The Insect of the Week from June 1st, 
– A NEWLY UPDATED Monitoring Protocol (Vankosky et al. 2017), AND
– The current Insect of the Week features a group of beetles recognized as general predators but one species is an egg predator associated with Pea leaf weevil.

Remember – Pea leaf weevils emerge in the spring primarily by flying (at temperatures above 17ºC) or they may walk short distances. Pea leaf weevil movement into peas and faba beans is achieved primarily through flight.  Adults are slender, greyish-brown measuring approximately 5 mm in length (Fig. 3, Left).  

The pea leaf weevil resembles the sweet clover weevil (Sitona cylindricollis) but the former is distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down thorax and sometimes the abdomen.  All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout.  

Figure 3.  Comparison images and descriptions of four Sitona species adults including pea leaf weevil (Left).

Adults feed upon the leaf margins and growing points of legume seedlings (alfalfa, clover, dry beans, faba beans, peas) and produce a characteristic, scalloped (notched) edge (Fig. 4).  Females lay 1000 to 1500 eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.

Figure 4.  Scalloped notching along leaf margins of pea plant (Photo: L. Dosdall).

Biological and monitoring information related to pea leaf weevil in field crops is posted by the province of Alberta and a NEWLY UPDATED PPMN monitoring protocol is available!

Also refer to the pea leaf weevil page within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions are available.  A review of this insect was published in 2011 in Prairie Soils and Crops by Carcamo and Vankosky.

Weekly Update – Predicted Grasshopper Development

Ross Weiss, Owen Olfert and prairiepest_admin
Week 6

Grasshopper Simulation Model Output – The grasshopper simulation model will be used to monitor grasshopper development across the prairies. Weekly temperature data collected across the prairies is incorporated into the simulation model which calculates estimates of grasshopper development stages based on biological parameters for Melanoplus sanguinipes (Migratory grasshopper).  

As of June 5, 2017, model output suggests that most of the population is still at the egg stage. However, recent warm conditions have advanced grasshopper development. Predicted hatch was 23% (17% first instar and 6% second instar) across the prairies (up from 7% last week). Development was predicted to be most advanced across southern regions in all three provinces, particularly southeastern Alberta and a region extending south from Regina to the USA border. 

Though it is still early in the growing season, grasshopper hatch can vary across the prairies. Model output indicates that development near Vauxhall is one week ahead of Saskatoon and three weeks faster than Grande Prairie. This suggests that peak hatch at Grande Prairie may not occur until late June.

The following image showing various stages of the clearwinged grasshopper is provided below – note that adults have wings extending the length of the abdomen whereas nymphs lack wings but develop wing buds that will eventually mature to wings.  

– The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s 2017 Grasshopper Forecast Map can be viewed here.  

Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural DevelopmentSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the grasshopper pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Wheat midge

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

Wheat Midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana– Predictive modelling will be used again to help  forecast wheat midge emergence across the Canadian prairies.

The wheat midge model indicates that midge larvae should be at the soil surface this week. However, sub-optimal rainfall amounts may result in delayed emergence of adults.

Review the 2017 wheat midge forecast map circulated in January by accessing the Risk and Forecast Maps Post.

Information related to wheat midge biology and monitoring can be accessed by linking to your provincial fact sheet (Saskatchewan Agriculture or Alberta Agriculture & Forestry).  A review of wheat midge on the Canadian prairies was published by Elliott, Olfert, and Hartley in 2011.

More information about Wheat midge can be found by accessing the pages from the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide”.  View ONLY the Wheat midge pages but remember the guide is available as a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Predicted Bertha Armyworm Development

Ross Weiss, Owen Olfert and prairiepest_admin
Week 6

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Warm conditions over the past week has advanced pupal development across the southern prairies. Compared to last week, adult emergence is predicted to be 1-7 days earlier. The first map shows that pupal development is well underway across southern and central regions. Average development was 70% (50% last week). Pupal development at a number of locations was 75%. 

The second map indicates that development, compared to long-term-average, is slightly greater than average development. Model output indicted that first adult emergence may occur this week in the Vauxhall, Brooks and Regina areas. 

IMPORTANT – The table indicates predicted dates of first appearance of adults for specific locations across the prairies. Adult emergence generally occurs within 5-7 days after 80% development. 

Reminder – The video below posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Scott Meers describes how pheromone traps are used to monitor this important pest of canola.

Those monitoring BAW pheromone traps may want to compare trap “catches” to the following reference photo kindly shared by Saskatchewan Agriculture below:

Biological and monitoring information related to bertha armyworm in field crops is posted by the provinces of ManitobaSaskatchewanAlberta and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the bertha armyworm pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions are available.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

Scott Hartley, John Gavloski and Scott Meers
Week 6

Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so we have attempted to link to their most recent information: 

● Manitoba’s Insect and Disease Update for 2017 is prepared by John Gavloski and Pratisara Bajracharya the latest issues (June 7, 2017) references:
– Reminder to scout canola and that 3- to 4-leaf canola typically withstands flea beetle feeding when growing conditions are good.
– Reminds to carefully review insecticide label for temperature restrictions PRIOR to application!
– Notes limited spraying for cutworms.
– Reports grasshopper hatch has begun in Manitoba,
– Reports low numbers of Diamondback moths in pheromone traps through May to June 7, 2017.
– And finally, Manitoba Agriculture is advising Manitoban cooperators to deploy Bertha armyworm pheromone traps June 5-10, 2017.

● Saskatchewan’s 2017 Crop Production News – Issue #1 (date) is now posted and includes insect pest information prepared by Scott Hartley and Danielle Stephens.  Read the latest update including:
– Information on wireworms, cutworms and other arthropods that will be present in the soil during scouting.

● Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land and access the most recent Insect Update (June 8, 2017) provided by Scott Meers who:
– Emphasized the importance of scouting for flea beetle feeding in canola and application of action threshold of 25% when examining the cotyledons.
– Reported more incidents of cutworms in central and southern Alberta in all crops so scout and check bare patches in fields.
– Noted cutworm scouting is resulting in reports of other insects including wireworm larvae, crane fly larvae (usually not an economic pest), and stiletto fly larvae (predatory so beneficial).
– And finally, Albertan cooperators are advised to target June 12, 2017, to deploy Bertha armyworm pheromone traps across that province.

Crop reports

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

Crop reports are produced by:
• Manitoba Agriculture, Rural Development (June 5, 2017)
• Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report (May 30-June 5, 2017)
• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Crop Report (May 30, 2017)

International reports are produced by:
• The United States Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress Report (June 5, 2017)

Weekly Update – Field Heroes

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

@Field HeroesWestern Grains Research Foundation is supporting a new initiative to help growers, agrologists and the general public learn more about beneficial arthropods active in field crops.  Provincial entomologists from Manitoba, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, along with input from AAFC researchers, are working with Synthesis, a communications company, to promote and increase awareness of these incredible arthropod heroes!

Follow @FieldHeroes for great information on these beneficials.  Watch for a NEW website coming soon including scouting guides to help identify and link pest/beneficial combinations – all to help growers and agrologists understand and preserve the many arthropods already working in fields across the Canadian prairies.

Weekly Update – Weather Radar

Ross Weiss and prairiepest_admin
Week 6

Remember – If your fields are near one of Environment Canada’s PRAIRIE Radar Stations, consider accessing weather radar maps in video format show either the past 1 OR 3 hours of spatio-temporal maps of precipitation events.  These maps can help growers review where and how much precipitation fell nearby.

Screen shots of Environment Canada’s webpages are below for reference and red text and arrows have been added to help you navigate the webpage.

Weekly Update – PMRA Pesticide Label Mobile App

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

Remember – Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency launched a new mobile app to access pesticide labels registered for use in Canada. The App helps homeowners, farmers, industry, provincial and federal organizations access details for pest control products from a smartphone or tablet (Fig. 1). 

Users can save searches, download product labels to their ‘Favourites’ which can even be accessed while offline. ‘Favourites’ will also auto-update when accessed online. Pesticide labels can be searched based by product name or active ingredient (e.g., to review detailed explanations on proper product use and necessary precautions).

Users can download the app on their mobile device.

If you have any questions, please contact the PMRA’s Information Service.

Figure 1. Screenshot view of Pesticide Label download page (retrieved 31May2017).

Weekly Update – Monarch migration

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

We again track the migration of the Monarch butterflies as they move north by checking the 2017 Monarch Migration Map!  A screen shot of the map has been placed below as an example (retrieved 08Jun2017) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map!  They’ve migrated into southern Manitoba and are spreading northwards in Ontario and Quebec! 

Weekly Update – Painted Lady Butterfly

Jennifer Otani
Week 6

Painted Lady Butterflies – Recent sightings of this butterfly warrant additional information to help scouting.  We link you to the Canadian Biodiversity of Canada website and the Butterflies of Canada which includes incredible information including the following image of Vanessa cardui below.

Access the actual webpage and additional information for this species including comparative photos of similar species, description of range, habitat and flight season plus the fact that this species normally does not overwinter in Canada.

The Butterflies of Canada © 2002, by Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. University of Toronto Press; 1998. Specimen photos courtesy of John T. Fowler.