Jennifer Otani, Ross Weiss, David Giffen, Serge Trudel, Erl Svendsen, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
Week 15 and our Staff are out performing surveys, in-field monitoring and are active at various tech-transfer events across the prairies! Please bookmark the Blog or subscribe to receive the latest growing season information!
Ross Weiss, David Giffen, Serge Trudel, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
Prairie temperatures continue to be cooler than average. Though temperatures this week were approximately 2 °C warmer than last week (July 8-14, 2019), the seven-day average temperature was 0.5 °C cooler than normal (Fig. 1). The warmest temperatures were observed across MB while temperatures were cooler in western SK and across AB.
Across the prairies, 30-day (June 14 – July 14, 2019) average temperatures have been approximately 1 °C cooler than normal (Fig. 2). Average 30-day temperatures were 0 to 2 °C warmer than average across MB and 0 to 2 °C cooler than average in SK and AB. Growing season temperatures (April 1-July 14, 2019) have been 1 °C cooler than average; the warmest temperatures were observed across the southern prairies (Fig. 3).
This past week significant rainfall amounts were reported MB and southeastern SK while minimal rainfall was reported across southwestern SK and southern AB (Fig. 5).
Across the prairies, rainfall amounts for the past 30 days have been highly variable (Fig. 6). Dry conditions continue across much of southern AB. Rainfall was well above average in SK.
Growing season (April 1 – July 14, 2019) rainfall amounts have been below average across southern regions of AB, central SK, and central MB (Fig. 7).
Based on modeled soil moisture (Fig. 8), recent rains have improved soil moisture values across a large area of SK and MB. Predicted soil moisture continues to be low across large regions of southern and central areas of AB and western SK.
The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5 ºC, April 1-July 14, 2019) is below (Fig. 9):
The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10 ºC, April 1-July 14, 2019) is below (Fig. 10):
The lowest temperatures (°C) observed the past seven days ranged from at least 14 down to at least 2 °C in the map below (Fig. 11).
The highest temperatures (°C) observed the past seven days ranged from less than 16 up to at least 30 °C in the map below (Fig. 12).
The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Growers can bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.
Ross Weiss, David Giffen, Serge Trudel, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
Wheat Midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) – Where wheat midge are present, cool, dry conditions in May and June have resulted in delayed emergence of adults. Wheat midge larvae have moved to the soil surface and pupae are appearing. In some locations adults should be beginning to emerge. The wheat midge model predicts that 44% (45% last week) of the population are in the larval cocoon stage and 37% (47% last week) of the population is predicted to have moved to the soil surface. This week 12% (7% last week) is predicted to be in the pupal stage. Adults continue to emerge in localized areas in localized areas across all three provinces.
The first map (Fig. 1) indicates the percent of the population that is in the pupal stage. The second map (Fig. 2) indicates that less than 10% of the adult population has emerged. The last map (Fig. 3) indicates that oviposition may be occurring in localized areas. It should be noted that, based on fall surveys in 2018, wheat midge populations were expected to be low across most of AB and SK.
Monitoring: When monitoring wheat fields, pay attention to the synchrony between flying midge and anthesis.
In-field monitoring for wheat midge should be carried out in the evening (preferably after 8:30 pm or later) when the female midges are most active. On warm (at least 15ºC), calm evenings, the midge can be observed in the field, laying their eggs on the wheat heads (photographed by AAFC-Beav-S. Dufton & A. Jorgensen below). Midge populations can be estimated by counting the number of adults present on 4 or 5 wheat heads. Inspect the field daily in at least 3 or 4 locations during the evening.
REMEMBER that in-field counts of wheat midge per head remain the basis of economic threshold decision. Also remember that the parasitoid, Macroglenes penetrans (photographed by AAFC-Beav-S. Dufton below), is actively searching for wheat midge at the same time. Preserve this parasitoid whenever possible and remember your insecticide control options for wheat midge also kill these beneficial insects which help reduce midge populations.
Economic Thresholds for Wheat Midge: a) To maintain optimum grade: 1 adult midge per 8 to 10 wheat heads during the susceptible stage. b) For yield only: 1 adult midge per 4 to 5 heads. At this level of infestation, wheat yields will be reduced by approximately 15% if the midge is not controlled.
Inspect the developing kernels for the presence of larvae and the larval damage.
Wheat midge and its doppelganger, the lauxanid fly, were featured as the Insect of the Week (for Wk10). Check that post for help with in-field scouting for this economic pest of wheat! The differences between midges and parasitoid wasps are featured as the current Insect of the Week (for Wk11). Not all flying insects are mosquitoes nor are they pests – many are important parasitoid wasps that actually regulate insect pest species in our field crops.
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.
Ross Weiss, David Giffen, Serge Trudel, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
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).
Cool temperatures continue to result in reduced grasshopper developmental rates. Based on model runs, approximately 7% (12.5% last week) of the population is in the first instar, 12% (23% last week) is predicted to be in the second instar, and 27% (32% last week) is in the third instar, 30% (21% last week) are predicted to be in the fourth instar and 18% (4% last week) are predicted to be in the fifth instar. As of July 14, 1% of melanopline species are predicted to be in the adult stage.
The following map (Fig. 1) indicates that grasshopper populations across the southern prairie are mostly in the third and fourth instars. Grasshopper development has been greatest near Winnipeg MB.
Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata) – Predictive model updates are completed for the growing season but can be reviewed here (Wk 14).
Important – Watch for updates from your provincial monitoring networks who are compiling cumulative pheromone-baited trap interceptions to assess risk levels in Alberta, Saskatchewan (updated 10Jul2019), and Manitoba (look on pg 7).
Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting. Use the images below (Fig. 3) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.
Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest. Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!
Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – The Insect of the Week’s doppelganger is the lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug. It includes tips to to discern the difference between these plant bug complexes when doing in-field scouting!
The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.
Damage: Lygus bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and physically damage the plant by puncturing the tissue and sucking plant juices. The plants also react to the toxic saliva that the insects inject when they feed. Lygus bug infestations can cause alfalfa to have short stem internodes, excessive branching, and small, distorted leaves. They feed on buds and blossoms and cause them to drop. They also puncture seed pods and feed on the developing seeds causing them to turn brown and shrivel.
Scouting tips to keep in mind: Begin monitoring canola when it bolts and continue until seeds within the pods are firm. Since adults can move into canola from alfalfa, check lygus bug numbers in canola when nearby alfalfa crops are cut.
Sample the crop for lygus bugs on a sunny day when the temperature is above 20°C and the crop canopy is dry. With a standard insect net (38 cm diameter), take ten 180° sweeps. Count the number of lygus bugs in the net.
Sampling becomes more representative IF repeated at multiple spots within a field. For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field. Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C).
If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.
The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.
Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop.
Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production. The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage. In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.
Table 1. Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).
Table 2. Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).
Biological and monitoring information related to Lygus in field crops is posted by the provinces of Manitoba or Alberta fact sheets or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s monitoring protocol. Also refer to the Lygus pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.
Cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus) – There is one generation of CSPW per year and the overwintering stage is the adult which is an ash-grey weevil measuring 3-4mm long (Refer to lower left photo). Adults typically overwinter in soil beneath leaf litter within shelter belts and roadside ditches.
Begin sampling when the crop first enters the bud stage and continue through the flowering.
Sweep-net samples should be taken at ten locations within the field with ten 180° sweeps per location.
Count the number of weevils at each location. Samples should be taken in the field perimeter as well as throughout the field.
Adults will invade fields from the margins and if infestations are high in the borders, application of an insecticide to the field margins may be effective in reducing the population to levels below which economic injury will occur.
An insecticide application is recommended when three to four weevils per sweep are collected and has been shown to be the most effective when canola is in the 10 to 20% bloom stage (2-4 days after flowering starts).
Consider making insecticide applications late in the day to reduce the impact on pollinators. Whenever possible, provide advanced warning of intended insecticide applications to commercial beekeepers operating in the vicinity to help protect foraging pollinators.
High numbers of adults in the fall may indicate the potential for economic infestations the following spring.
Damage: Adult feeding damage to buds is more evident in dry years when canola is unable to compensate for bud loss. Adults mate following a pollen meal then the female will deposit a single egg through the wall of a developing pod or adjacent to a developing seed within the pod (refer to lower right photo). Eggs are oval and an opaque white, each measuring ~1mm long. Typically a single egg is laid per pod although, when CSPW densities are high, two or more eggs may be laid per pod.
There are four larval instar stages of the CSPW and each stage is white and grub-like in appearance ranging up to 5-6mm in length (refer to lower left photo). The first instar larva feeds on the cuticle on the outside of the pod while the second instar larva bores into the pod, feeding on the developing seeds. A single larva consumes about 5 canola seeds. The mature larva chews a small, circular exit hole from which it drops to the soil surface and pupation takes place in the soil within an earthen cell. Approximately 10 days later, the new adult emerges to feed on maturing canola pods. Later in the season these new adults migrate to overwintering sites beyond the field.
Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Once diamondback moth is present in the area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvae. Warm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short period!
Remove the plants in an area measuring 0.1 m² (about 12″ square), beat them on to a clean surface and count the number of larvae (Fig. 1) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.
Economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1 m² (approximately 2-3 larvae per plant). Economic thresholds for canola or mustard in the early flowering stage are not available. However, insecticide applications are likely required at larval densities of 10 to 15 larvae/ 0.1 m² (approximately 1-2 larvae per plant).
The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative compiles and posts information related to their disease surveillance for West Nile Virus in birds. Take note of the provincial distribution of positive WNV birds in 2018 (table posted below as reference).
The following is offered to predict when Culex tarsalis will begin to fly across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 2). Protect yourself by wearing DEET! This week, regions most advanced in degree-day accumulations for Culex tarsalis, the vector for West Nile Virus, are shown in the map below. Areas highlighted yellow in the map below (Fig. 2) are on the verge of approaching sufficient heat accumulation for mosquitoes to emerge. Areas highlighted lime green should be preparing for C. tarsalis flight.
Once adults emerge, the following map demonstrates how quickly a Culex tarsalis mosquito carrying WNV can become fully infective (i.e., when it has accumulated 109 base 14.3° degree days) – it’s a matter of days, depending on the region (Figure 3).
Public summer field events – Coming to a field near you – Prairie field crop entomologists are already scheduled to be at these 2019 field tour events from May-August (be sure to re-confirm dates and details as events are finalized):
• July 22, 2019: Pulse grower gathering held near Three Hills AB. Check Alberta Pulse Growers Event Page for more information. Entomologists presenting: Graduate students from Dr. Maya Evenden’s (U of A) working on pea leaf weevil.
• July 23-24, 2019: Crop Diagnostic School, Scott Saskatchewan. Read more about this event. Entomologists presenting: Meghan Vankosky, Tyler Wist.
• July 24, 2019: Crops-a-Palooza. Held at Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre (CMCDC), Carberry, Manitoba. Read more about this event. Entomologist participating: John Gavloski, Vincent Hervet, Tharshi Nagalingam, Bryan Cassone.
• July 25, 2019: SARDA Summer Field Tour, Falher, Alberta. Read more about this event. Entomologist participating: Jennifer Otani, Shelby Dufton.
• August 8, 2019: 2019 Wheatstalk to be held at Teepee Creek AB. View event info/registration details. Entomologists tentatively participating: Jennifer Otani, Shelby Dufton, Amanda Jorgensen, Boyd Mori.
• August 8, 2019. Horticulture School. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Research Farm, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. View event info/registration details. Entomologist presenting: John Gavloski, Kyle Bobiwash.
Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so we link to their most recent information:
• Manitoba‘s Crop Pest Updates for 2019 are posted here. Access Issue #9 posted July 17, 2019 which notes grasshopper, thistle caterpillar, green cloverworm and aphids in peas. There are also helpful photos and descriptions of grasshopper instar stages plus scouting tips to detect European corn borer egg masses.
The case of lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug: It is easy to understand why lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) and alfalfa plant bugs (Adelphocoris lineolatus) are difficult to tell apart as they are closely related, belonging to the same family (Hemiptera: Heteroptera). They are similar in appearance (long narrow body) with the alfalfa bug being slightly longer. Adult lygus bugs have a distinctive triangular or “V”-shaped marking in the upper centre of the their backs and membranous wingtips. The alfalfa plant bug has a similar marking but it is less distinct. One difference between the two is that lygus bug nymphs have five black dots over their thorax and abdomen which alfalfa bug nymphs lack.
Another difference is that lygus bugs have a broader host range that includes canola, alfalfa, soybean, sunflower, strawberry and several other crops. Alfalfa bugs have a much more particular palette and are mainly found in alfalfa crops and only occasionally feed on red and yellow sweet clover or canola when alfalfa is in short supply.
For more information about these species and more tips on telling them apart, see our Insect of the Week page!
The case of the innocuous versus the evil twin: When making pest management decisions, be sure that the suspect is actually a pest. This can be challenge since insects often mimic each other or look very similar. An insect that looks, moves and acts like a pest may in fact be a look-alike or doppelganger.
Doppelgangers may be related (e.g. same genus) or may not be related, as in the case of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) and viceroys (Limenitis achrippus). Doppelgangers are usually relatively harmless but sometimes the doppelganger is a pest yet their behaviour, lifecycle or hosts may be different.
Correctly identifying a pest enables selection of the most accurate scouting or monitoring protocol. Identification and monitoring enables the application of economic thresholds. It also enables a producer to select and apply the most effective control option(s) including method and timing of application. For the rest of the growing season, the Insect of the Week will feature insect crop pests and their doppelgangers.