Weather synopsis

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 10

TEMPERATURE: This past week (June 28 – July 4, 2021) an extreme heatwave affected temperatures across most of western North America. The North American heat dome was associated with exceptionally hot weather and resulted in numerous record temperatures across the Canadian prairies. Compared to climate normal temperature values, observed weekly average temperatures were 7.4 °C warmer than average! The warmest temperatures were observed across southern Alberta and western Saskatchewan. Table 1 provides a comparison between observed and average temperatures for the ten warmest locations across the prairies.

Similar to last week, the warmest temperatures were observed across Alberta (Fig. 1). Across the prairies, the average 30-day (June 5 – July 4, 2021) temperature was almost 3 °C warmer than climate normal values. The warmest temperatures were observed across southern Manitoba and southeastern Alberta (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. 7-day average temperature (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of June 28 – July 4, 2021.
Figure 2. 30-day average temperature (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of June 5 – July 4, 2021.

The 2021 growing season (April 1 – July 4, 2021) has been characterized by temperatures that have been 1.5 °C warmer than average. The warmest temperatures have occurred across southeastern Manitoba, west-central Saskatchewan and southern Alberta (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Growing season average temperature (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 1 – July 4, 2021.

Growing degree day (GDD) maps for Base 5 ºC and Base 10 ºC (April 1-July 5, 2021) can be viewed by clicking the hyperlinks. Over the past 7 days (July 1-7, 2021), the lowest temperatures recorded across the Canadian prairies ranged from < 0 to >12 °C while the highest temperatures observed ranged from <28 to >39 °C. With the incredible heat experienced so far, check the number of days of >25 °C or >30 °C across the Canadian prairies (April 1-July 7, 2021). Access these maps and more using the AAFC Drought Watch webpage interface.

PRECIPITATION: This past week, minimal rainfall was reported across most of the prairies with most locations reporting weekly amounts of less than 2 mm (Fig. 4). Higher rainfall amounts were reported across central Alberta and northern areas across the Peace River region. Rainfall amounts for the period of June 5 – July 4 (30-day accumulation) have been well below average across most of the prairies. The lowest rainfall amounts have occurred across most of Saskatchewan as well as southern and northern regions of Alberta (Fig. 5).

Figure 4. 7-day cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of June 28 – July 4, 2021.
Figure 5. 30-day cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of June 5 – July 4, 2021

The average growing season (April 1 – July 4) precipitation was 90 % of normal with the greatest precipitation occurring across eastern Saskatchewan, including Regina. Below normal rainfall has been reported across western Saskatchewan, southern Alberta and the Peace River region(Fig. 6).

Figure 6. Growing season cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 1 – July 4, 2021.

The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Growers can bookmark the AAFC Current Conditions Maps for the growing season. Historical weather data can be access at the AAFC Drought Watch Historical website, Environment Canada’s Historical Data website, or your provincial weather network.

Predicted wheat midge development

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 10

The recent warm temperatures have resulted in rapid development of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) populations. Dry conditions in the Peace River region have contributed to delayed development of larval cocoons with 30-75 % of the population not expected to emerge this growing season. Unlike the larval cocoon stage (located in the soil), development of pupal, adult, egg and larval stages (in wheat heads) is not dependent on moisture. Development of these stages are dependent on temperature.

Where present, wheat midge populations should be entering the adult stage across most of the prairies (Fig. 1). This is a substantial change from last week where less than 10 % of the population was predicted to be in the adult stage. Oviposition is predicted to be occurring across most of the prairies and the initial hatch is now expected for southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan (Figs. 2 and 3).

Figure 1. Percent of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) population that is in the adult stage, across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.
Figure 2. Percent of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) population that is in the egg stage, across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.
Figure 3. Percent of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) population that is in the larval stage (in wheat heads), across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.

The model was projected to July 20 to determine potential development at Regina (Fig. 4), Lacombe (Fig. 5), and Grande Prairie (Fig. 6) over the next two weeks. Output suggests that oviposition will rapidly increase over the next 10 days and wheat crops near all three locations may be susceptible for the next two weeks. Based on the predicted occurrence of adults and eggs, development is most rapid where populations were predicted to be greatest in 2021 (based on 2020 fall survey).

Figure 4. Predicted development of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) and wheat development near Regina, Saskatchewan as of July 4, 2021 (projected to July 20, 2021).
Figure 5. Predicted development of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) and wheat development near Lacombe, Alberta as of July 4, 2021 (projected to July 20, 2021).
Figure 6. Predicted development of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) and wheat development near Grande Prairie, Alberta as of July 4, 2021 (projected to July 20, 2021).

Macroglenes penetrans is a parasitoid of wheat midge that is active in wheat fields when wheat midge adults are present. Model simulations indicate that the parasitoid has begun to appear in wheat crops in fields near Regina (Fig. 7).

Figure 7. Predicted occurrence of wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) and Macroglenes penetrans adults near Regina, Saskatchewan as of July 4, 2021 (projected to July 20, 2021).

If not already underway, scouting for wheat midge adults should continue this week and especially in regions where higher densities are predicted to occur. It is especially important to be monitoring for adults at dusk in regions expected to be at high risk, based on the 2020 survey which is mapped here.

Monitoring: When scouting 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 15 ºC), calm evenings, the midge can be observed in the field, laying their eggs on the wheat heads (Fig. 7). 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.

Figure 7. Wheat midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) laying their eggs on the wheat heads 
(Photo: AAFC-Beav-S. Dufton & A. Jorgensen).

REMEMBER that in-field counts of wheat midge per head remain the basis of the economic threshold decision.  Also remember that the parasitoid, Macroglenes penetrans (Fig. 8), is actively searching for wheat midge at the same time.  Preserve this parasitoid whenever possible and remember insecticide control options for wheat midge also kill these beneficial insects who help reduce midge populations.

Figure 8. Macroglenes penetrans, a parasitoid wasp that attacks wheat midge, measures only ~2 mm long.  (Photo: AAFC-Beav-S. Dufton).

Economic Thresholds for Wheat Midge:
a) To maintain optimum No. 1 grade: 1 adult midge per 8 to 10 wheat heads during the susceptible stage.
b) To maintain 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 larval damage.

Wheat midge was featured as the Insect of the Week in 2021 (for Wk07). Be sure to also review wheat midge and its doppelganger, the lauxanid fly, featured as the Insect of the Week in 2019 (for Wk11) – find descriptions and photos to help with in-field scouting!  Additionally, the differences between midges and parasitoid wasps were featured as the Insect of the Week in 2019 (for Wk12).  Remember – 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 OR pollinators that perform valuable ecosystem services!

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.  

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has a YouTube video describing in-field monitoring for wheat midge.  

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.

Predicted grasshopper development

Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 10

Model simulations were used to estimate grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) development as of July 4, 2021. Recent warm conditions have resulted in a noticeable increase in grasshopper development since last week. Grasshopper development, based on average instar, should be greatest across southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Predicted grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) development, presented as the average instar, across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.

Across the prairies, more than 15 % of the population should be in the fifth instar (Fig. 2). Development, as of July 4, 2021, is well ahead of long-term average values (Fig. 3).

Figure 2. Percent of grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) population in the 5th instar across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.
Figure 3. Long-term average predicted grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) development, presented as the average instar, across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, based on climate normals data.

Grasshopper Scouting Steps:
Review grasshopper diversity and scouting information including photos of both nymphs, adults and non-grasshopper species to aid in-field scouting and accurately apply thresholds for grasshoppers.
● Measure off a distance of 50 m on the level road surface and mark both starting and finishing points using markers or specific posts on the field margin.
● Start at one end in either the field or the roadside and walk toward the other end of the 50 m, making some disturbance with your feet to encourage any grasshoppers to jump.
● Grasshoppers that jump/fly through the field of view within a one-meter width in front of the observer are counted.
● A meter stick can be carried as a visual tool to give perspective for a one-meter width. However, after a few stops, one can often visualize the necessary width and a meter stick may not be required. Also, a hand-held counter can be useful in counting while the observer counts off the required distance.
● At the endpoint, the total number of grasshoppers is divided by 50 to give an average per meter. For 100 m, repeat this procedure.
Compare counts to the following damage levels associated with pest species of grasshoppers:
0-2 per m² – None to very light damage
2-4 per m² – Very light damage
4-8 per m² – Light damage
8-12 per m² – Action threshold in cereals and canola
12-24 per m² – Severe damage
24 per m² – Very severe damage
For lentils at flowering and pod stages, >2 per m² will cause yield loss.
For flax at boll stages, >2 per m² will cause yield loss.
● More practically, the following thresholds are offered but, in the event of additional crop stress (e.g., drought), the use of “may be required” versus “control usually required” requires careful consideration:

Biological and monitoring information (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the grasshopper pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted diamondback moth development

Jennifer Otani, Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, James Tansey, Carter Peru, Shelley Barkley and John Gavloski
Categories
Week 10

Diamondback moths (DBM; Plutella xylostella) are a migratory invasive species. Each spring adult populations migrate northward to the Canadian prairies on wind currents from infested regions in the southern or western U.S.A. Upon arrival to the prairies, migrant diamondback moths begin to reproduce and this results in subsequent non-migrant populations that may have three or four generations during the growing season. Diamondback moth is the Insect of the Week for Wk10!

Model simulations to July 4, 2021, indicate that the second generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 1). Across the prairies, development, as of July 4, 2021, is well ahead of long-term average values (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) that are expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.
Figure 2. Long-term average predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of July 4 (based on climate normals data).

Monitoring: Remove plants in an area measuring 0.1 m² (about 12″ square), beat them onto a clean surface and count the number of larvae (Fig. 2) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

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Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Previous posts

Jennifer Otani
Categories
Week 10

As the growing season progresses, the various Weekly Update topics move on and off the priority list for in-field scouting but they should be kept at hand to support season-long monitoring. Click to review these earlier 2021 Posts (organized alphabetically):
2020-2021 Risk and forecast maps
Alfalfa weevil – predicted development (Wk07)
Aphids in field crops (Wk09)
Bertha armyworm – predicted development (Wk09)
Cabbage seedpod weevil monitoring (Wk09)
Cereal aphid manager APP (Wk07)
Cereal leaf beetle – predicted development (Wk07)
Crop protection guides (Wk03)
Cutworms (Wk02)
European corn borer – nation-wide monitoring project (Wk07)
Field heroes (Wk08)
Flea beetles (Wk02)
Flea beetles – predicted geographic distribution and abundance (Wk04)
Grasshopper diversity and scouting photos (Wk08)
Ladybird beetles (Wk03)
Lygus bug monitoring (Wk09)
Monarch migration (Wk09)
Pea leaf weevil (Wk03)
Scouting charts – canola and flax (Wk03)
Slugs and their parasites (Wk04)
Weather radar mapping interface (Wk06)
Wind trajectories for monitoring insect movement (Wk02)
Wind trajectories – weekly reports (Wk09)
Wireworms (Wk02)

West nile virus risk

David Giffen, Jennifer Otani, Owen Olfert and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 10

The following is offered to help predict when Culex tarsalis, the vector for West Nile Virus, will begin to fly across the Canadian prairies. This week, regions most advanced in degree-day accumulations for Culex tarsalis are shown in Figure 1 but the unusual heat across the prairies greatly accelerated mosquito development!

As of July 4, 2021 (Fig. 1), C. tarsalis development is most advanced in Manitoba, southern Alberta, and in small pockets in southern Saskatchewan. The map will change very quickly to orange then red (i.e., areas with sufficient heat accumulation for C. tarsalis to emerge). Given the forecast, areas highlighted yellow in the map below (as of July 4) should start to use DEET this week! IF C. tarsalis is present in an area where WNV is active, it may take as little as 12 days for adults to become fully infective with the current warm weather.

Figure 1. Predicted development of Culex tarsalis across the Canadian prairies (as of July 4, 2021).

The Public Health Agency of Canada posts information related to West Nile Virus in Canada and also tracks West Nile Virus through human, mosquito, bird and horse surveillance. Link here to access their most current weekly update (reporting date June 21, 2021; retrieved July 8, 2021). The screenshot below (retrieved 08Jul2021) serves as a reference.

Bird surveillance continues to be an important way to detect and monitor West Nile Virus. The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) works with governmental agencies (i.e., provincial laboratories and the National Microbiology Laboratory) and other organizations to report the occurrence of WNV. Dead birds retrieved from areas of higher risk of West Nile Virus are tested for the virus. A screenshot of the latest reporting results posted by Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative is below (retried 08Jul2021).

Anyone keen to identify mosquitoes will enjoy this pictorial key for both larvae and adults which is posted on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website but sadly lacks a formal citation other than “MOSQUITOES: CHARACTERISTICS OF ANOPHELINES AND CULICINES prepared by Kent S. Littig and Chester J. Stojanovich” and includes Pages 134-150. The proper citation may be Stojanovich, Chester J. & Louisiana Mosquito Control Association. (1982). Mosquito control training manual. pp 152.

Provincial insect pest report links

Jennifer Otani
Categories
Week 10

Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so link to their information:

MANITOBA’S Crop Pest Updates for 2021 are now available – access the July 7, 2021 report here. Be sure to bookmark their Crop Pest Update Index to readily access these reports! Bookmark their insect pest homepage to access fact sheets and more!
Bertha armyworm pheromone trap monitoring update for MB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available here. The initial counts are categorized as “low risk” so far (i.e., 0-300 moths).
Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for MB – Trapping has drawn to a close for 2021. Access the summary here. Only 65 traps intercepted moths and the highest cumulative count was 171 moths near Selkirk. Access the summary (as of June 30, 2021). At this point, in-field scouting for larvae remains important.

SASKATCHEWAN’S Crop Production News are available. Access Issue #2 online which includes information on cabbage seedpod weevil, grasshoppers in Saskatchewan, and wheat midge. Be sure to bookmark their insect pest homepage to access important information!
Bertha armyworm pheromone trap monitoring update for SK – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data is anticipated to be available here.
Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for SK – Monitoring has drawn to a close for 2021. Review the final DBM counts. Extremely low numbers have been intercepted. Province-wide, <65 moths have been intercepted (2021Jun28 Carter, pers. comm.). At this point, in-field scouting for larvae remains important.

ALBERTA’S Insect Pest Monitoring Network webpage links to insect survey maps, live feed maps, and insect trap set-up videos and more. There is also a Major Crops Insect webpage. The new webpage does not replace the Insect Pest Monitoring Network page. Remember, AAF’s Agri-News occasionally includes insect-related information or Twitter users can connect to #ABBugChat Wednesdays at 10:00 am.
Wheat midge pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available so refer to the Live Map. Some sites in central Alberta are beginning to report “high risk” adult counts so synchrony with anthesis will need to be carefully monitored(08Jul2021).
Cabbage seedpod weevil sweep-net monitoring update for AB – In-field counts can be entered here to populate the Live Map. Some sites in southern Alberta are reporting densities at or above the economic threshold in canola (08Jul2021).
Bertha armyworm pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data have begun so refer to the Live Map. Cumulative counts throughout the province report “low risk” numbers of moths so far (08Jul2021).
Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Trapping has drawn to a close for 2021. Refer to the Live Map which reports extremely low numbers of moths intercepted so far (<50 province-wide as of 01Jul2021). At this point, in-field scouting for larvae remains important.
Cutworm reporting tool – Refer to the Live Map which now reports seven sites with cutworms (as of 01Jul2021).

Crop report links

Jennifer Otani
Categories
Week 10

Click the provincial name below to link to online crop reports produced by:
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (subscribe to receive OR access a PDF copy of the July 6 2021 report).
Saskatchewan Agriculture (or access a PDF copy of the June 29-July 5, 2021 report).
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (or access a PDF copy of the June 28, 2021 report).

The following crop reports are also available:
• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces a Crop Progress Report (access a PDF copy of the July 6, 2021 edition).
• The USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (access a PDF copy of the July 7, 2021 edition).

DIAMONDBACK MOTHS: UNWANTED VISITORS TO THE CANADIAN PRAIRIES

Jennifer Otani, Erl Svendsen and Finch Van Baal
Categories
Insect of the Week Week 10
Diamondback moth (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development)

Diamondback moths are a migratory invasive species. Each spring, adult populations migrate northward to the Canadian Prairies on wind currents from infested regions in the southern or western USA. Upon arrival to the Prairies, migrant diamondback moths begin to reproduce, resulting in non-migrant populations that may have three or four generations during the growing season. Host plants include canola, mustard and other cruciferous vegetables and weeds.

Diamondback moths lay their eggs on leaves. Hatchling larvae tunnel into the leaves, later emerging to the surface to feed. Damage begins as shot holes and eventually expands to complete skeletonization, leaving only the leaf veins. Larvae also feed on flowers and strip the surface of developing pods and stems. Damage can lower seed quality and crop yield.

Diamondback moth damage (AAFC)

Adults are active moths measuring 12 millimetres long with an 18-20 millimetre wingspan. When at rest, the forewings form a diamond-shaped pattern along the mid-line. Mature larvae are 8-millimetre-long green caterpillars. Terminal prolegs extend backwards, resembling a fork. When disturbed, caterpillars drop towards the ground on a silken thread to avoid harm.

Diamondback moth larva (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development)

Biological and monitoring information related to diamondback moths in field crops can be found on our Monitoring page as well as on provincial Agriculture Ministry pages (Manitoba, Saskatchewan andAlberta). For more information, visit the diamondback moth page in the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management field guide. (en français : Guide d’identification des ravageurs des grandes cultures et des cultures fourragères et de leurs ennemis naturels et mesures de lutte applicables à l’Ouest canadien).

Weekly Update

Jennifer Otani, Ross Weiss and Meghan Vankosky
Categories
Week 10

Week 10 and our staff are busy out surveying so this is an abridged report! The incredible heat supported the rapid development of field crop insect pests so scouting is absolutely critical! Be sure to review the entire Previous Posts section for help beyond this shorter report. Also catch the Insect of the Week – it’s diamondback moths!

Stay safe and good scouting to you!

Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please contact us so we can connect you to our information. Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.


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