Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have been working together to study the potential of trajectories for monitoring insect movements since the late 1990s.
Jennifer Otani, Ross Weiss, Serge Trudel, Tamara Rounce, Erl Svendsen, Maya Evenden, Owen Olfert, Kelly Turkington and Meghan Vankosky
Another BIG Weekly Update – several predictive model updates have been generated this week! Find updated information for bertha armyworm, grasshoppers, cereal leaf beetle, alfalfa weevil, wheat midge and pea leaf weevil. Keep scrolling down and it’s time to get in fields to scout!
This week’s Insect of the Week feature crop is corn, which has become more prominent on the Prairies. Our feature entomologist this week is Maya Evenden (Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta).
While the bulk of Canadian corn is grown in Ontario and Quebec, the Prairies are not without robust corn production, split between corn for grain and corn for silage. In 2019, corn was grown on 404,800 hectares (992,300 acres) across the Prairies, producing 5.44 million metric tonnes (6 million US tons). Over three quarters of this amount was corn for silage, and the remainder corn for grain.
Name: Maya Evenden Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org; @MayaEvenden on twitter
How do you contribute in insect monitoring or surveillance on the Prairies?
My research group develops semiochemical-based monitoring tools that target insects of environmental and economic impact in Alberta. For field crop pests, we have developed and tested semiochemical-based monitoring tools for 1) diamondback moth; 2) pea leaf weevil; 3) red clover casebearer 4) cutworms and 5) wheat midge.
We also work on other non-target species that are captured in monitoring traps (bycatch). This provides information on biodiversity and community composition of arthropods in managed agroecosystems.
I am an active member of the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.
In your opinion, what is the most interesting field crop pest on the Prairies?
I am partial to the Bertha armyworm because:
It’s a moth (and I love moths)
Larvae march like an army
It is a native insect that exploits agricultural crops planted in its habitat
Pheromone-based monitoring is useful because moths can be caught before eggs are laid in the field to warn producers of the current season’s feeding damage
What is your favourite beneficial insect?
I like the diamondback moth parasitoid, Diadegma insulare because:
It is a specialist on diamondback moth (although it will parasitize other Lepidoptera)
It tracks diamondback moth migration to the Prairie Provinces
It can result in a high level of parasitism of diamondback moth populations
It is highly susceptible to pesticide applications
Tell us about an important project you are working on right now.
We are currently documenting the biodiversity and abundance of ground beetles in pulse crops in Alberta. We will find out the community composition of ground beetle predators in pulse fields, the landscape features with which they are associated, and what they eat. My PhD student Maggie MacDonald is leading this research and we are collaborating with Dr. Boyd Mori on the assessment of beetle gut content using molecular methods.
What tools, platforms, etc. do you use to communicate with your stakeholders?
We communicate with stakeholders through in-person updates at field days and annual meetings. In addition, we publish updates in grower magazines (i.e. Top Crop Manager), newsletters and grower websites. We communicate with grower organizations through research updates. I also communicate directly with stakeholders through email and twitter @MayaEvenden.