NEW for this growing season – the website has been updated to create a Field Guides page linking to free, downloadable, AND searchable PDF copies of some of the key field guides used to support in-field insect monitoring in field crops on the Canadian prairies.
Review the historicalRisk Maps for our most economically important insect pests of field crops on the Canadian prairies. These prairie-wide geospatial maps offer insight into potential risk and help growers prioritize their scouting lists.
Remember, insect Monitoring Protocols containing helpful insect pest biology, how and when to target in-field scouting, and even thresholds to help support in-field management decisions are all available for review or download.
Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
TEMPERATURE: Since April 1, the 2022 growing season has been marginally cooler than normal. Conditions continue to be dry across Alberta and western Saskatchewan while rainfall amounts have been well above normal for eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This past week (May 9-16, 2022), the average temperature across the prairies was 0.5 °C cooler than normal (Fig. 1). Temperatures were warmest across southern Manitoba. The average 30-day temperature (April 16-May 15, 2022) was 1.5 °C less than climate normal values (click to view Fig. 2) and the growing season (April 1-May15, 2022) has been 1.8 °C cooler than average (click to view Fig. 3). The growing season and 30-day temperatures have been coolest in Manitoba (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3).
PRECIPITATION: Average seven-day cumulative rainfall ranged between 0 and 76 mm with the highest rainfall amounts occurring across eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba (Fig. 4). Western Saskatchewan and most of Alberta have received little or no rain over the past seven days. Rain accumulation over the past 30 days has been well above average across the eastern prairies, particularly in southeastern Manitoba (click to view Fig. 5). Growing season rainfall for April 1-May 15, 2022, has been greatest across Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. Conditions have been drier across most of Saskatchewan and Alberta (click to view Fig. 6).
Jennifer Otani, John Gavloski, Shelley Barkley and Kevin Floate
Cutworm scouting spans April to late June across the Canadian prairies! Scout fields that are “slow” to emerge, are missing rows, include wilting or yellowing plants, have bare patches, or appear highly attractive to birds – these are areas warranting a closer look. Plan to follow up by walking these areas either very early or late in the day when some cutworm species (or climbing cutworms) move above-ground to feed. Start to dig below the soil surface (1-5 cm deep) near the base of symptomatic plants and also any healthy plants immediately adjacent to missing rows or wilting or clipped plants. Some cutworms feed by remaining just below the soil surface, clipping then pulling the plant below as they munch away! If the plant is well-established (e.g., perennial grass or legume), check within the crown in addition to the adjacent soil. The culprits could be cutworms, wireworms, or more!
Important: Several species of cutworms (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) can be present in fields. They range in colour from shiny opaque, to tan, to brownish-red with chevron patterning. A field guide is available to help growers scout and manage the various species of cutworms that can appear in field crops grown on the Canadian prairies. Cutworm Pest of Crops is available free in either English or French! Download a searchable PDF copy to access helpful diagnostic photos plus a table showing which larvae are active at different points in the growing season!
Other vital resources to scout and manage cutworms include:
Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
The grasshopper (Acrididae: Melanoplus sanguinipes) model predicts development using biological parameters known for the pest species and environmental data observed across the Canadian prairies on a daily basis. Review lifecycle and damage information for this pest. Review the historical grasshopper maps based on late-summer adult in-field counts performed across the prairies.
Model simulations were used to estimate percent grasshopper embryonic (egg) development as of May 15, 2022. Model results indicate that egg development ranges between 55 and 71 % across most of the prairies (average=61 %) (Fig. 1). Based on climate normals data, long-term average egg development should be 60 % (Fig. 2). Cool conditions in Manitoba and the Peace River region have resulted in slower development rates. The simulation indicates that egg development is greater than average across southern Alberta (Fig. 2). This region has had the least amount of rain over the past 30 days.
Grasshopper risk can be greater when conditions are warm and dry. The initial hatch may begin this week near Medicine Hat and Brooks in Alberta.
Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Julie Soroka, Owen Olfert, Meghan Vankosky and Jennifer Otani
The alfalfa weevil (AAW) (Curculionidae: Hypera postica) model predicts development using biological parameters known for the pest species and environmental data observed across the Canadian prairies on a daily basis. Review lifecycle and damage information for this pest.
Model simulations for alfalfa weevil (AAW) indicate that oviposition should be well underway across the prairies as of May 15, 2022. The following graphs indicate, based on potential number of eggs, that development is slower near Lethbridge (Fig. 1) than Saskatoon (Fig. 2).
Development for both locations is ahead of average. The model predicts that eggs may begin hatching next week.
Alfalfa growers are encouraged to check the Alfalfa Weevil Fact Sheet prepared by Dr. Julie Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon). 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” (2018; accessible as a free downloadable PDF in either English or French on our new Field Guides page.
Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, David Giffen, Owen Olfert, Jennifer Otani and Meghan Vankosky
The cereal leaf beetle (CLB) (Chysomelidae: Oulema melanopus) model predicts larval development using biological parameters known for the pest species and environmental data observed across the Canadian prairies on a daily basis. Review lifecycle and damage information for this pest.
Cereal leaf beetle (CLB) model output suggests that overwintered adults are active and that oviposition is underway across southern regions across the southern prairies. Compared to simulations for climate normals, development is generally slower than average. The following graphs provide a comparison of development for Swift Current (Fig. 1) and Winnipeg (Fig. 2). Warmer conditions in southwestern Saskatchewan are expected to have contributed to more rapid development of CLB populations whereas cool conditions have contributed to slower development of CLB populations in southern Manitoba.
The simulation predicts that first instar larvae may occur during the third or fourth week of May.
Access scouting tips for cereal leaf beetle or find more detailed information by accessing the Oulema melanopus page from the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (2018; accessible as a free downloadable PDF in either English or French on our new Field Guides page.
1. REVERSE TRAJECTORIES (RT) Since May 1, 2022, the majority of reverse trajectories crossing the prairies originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon and Washington) (Fig. 1).
a. Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington) – The majority of Pacific Northwest reverse trajectories have passed over south-central Alberta and western Saskatchewan (link to view Fig. 2).
b. Mexico and southwest USA (Texas, California) – Since April 1, reverse trajectories were reported for Manitoba (Portage, Selkirk, Brandon, Carman, Russell) and eastern Saskatchewan (Gainsborough, Grenfell) (link to view Fig. 3).
c. Oklahoma and Texas – Since April 1, reverse trajectories were reported for Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan (link to view Fig. 4).
2. FORWARD TRAJECTORIES (FT) The following map presents the total number of dates (since April 1, 2022) with forward trajectories (originating from Mexico and USA) predicted to cross the Canadian prairies (Fig. 5). Results indicate that the greatest number of forward trajectories entering Canada originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington).
Review the Sweep-net Video Series including: • How to sweep a field. Meghan Vankosky (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-Saskatoon). Published online 2020. • What’s in my sweep-net? Meghan Vankosky (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-Saskatoon). Published online 2020. • Why use a sweep-net? Meghan Vankosky (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada-Saskatoon). Published online 2020.
Another option is the free eTick APP, a public platform for image-based identification and population monitoring of ticks in Canada. Both Google Play and iOS versions of the App enable users to upload tick photos for help with identification.
Public Health Agency of Canada’s 2018 infographic (published 2021; retrieved 2022May18 for downloading) summarizing Lyme disease surveillance in Canada is worth a quick scan (see image snip below).
Tracey Baute, Meghan Vankosky, Tracy Hueppelsheuser, James Tansey, John Gavloski, Brigitte Duval, Suqi Liu, Caitlin Congdon and Jennifer Otani
The European corn borer (ECB; Ostrinia nubilalis), can be an important pest of corn. Despite its name, ECB is actually a generalist feeder, having a wide range of hosts.
The recent confirmation of ECB resistance to Cry1F Bt corn in Nova Scotia has increased the need to monitor this pest across Canada. With so many new emerging crops being grown in Canada that are also hosts for ECB (e.g. hemp, cannabis, quinoa, hops, millet and others), there is no better time for us to look at this pest across the Canadian ag landscape.
To monitor for ECB nationwide, the Insect Surveillance Community of Practice of the Canadian Plant Health Council has developed a harmonized monitoring protocol for European corn borer across all hosts. The protocol can be used to report ECB eggs, larvae or damage in any host crop across Canada. Our goal is to better understand the distribution and abundance of ECB in Canada, detect significant infestations, capture observations on any hosts and determine if ECB is shifting to other emerging crops like hops, quinoa, millet, hemp, and others. This harmonized protocol has been designed to complement protocols that are already in use to make management decisions.
Whether you are scouting corn, quinoa, hemp, millet, potatoes, apples, or other crops susceptible to ECB, we encourage you to try the harmonized monitoring protocol and report the data from your field or research plots using the free Survey123 app (available for both desktop and mobile devices):
You do not need a login in to use the survey. Simply download the Survey123 Field App and click on the third option “Continue without logging in”, once on the login screen. To see the French version, click on the button on the top right corner, once in the survey to switch from English to French. A hardcopy version to take out to the field before entering it into Survey123 is also available here in English and French.
Looking for help online to identify unusual flora and fauna? Apps aplenty exist but consider iNaturalist.ca because there are underlying benefits!
iNaturalist.ca helps users identify terrestrial organisms by connecting to online “experts” able to identify and provide information to users but there’s an underlying secondary benefit:Researchers, institutions, and active research projects can set up Lists and access observations within iNaturalist.ca. This is citizen science in action!
“Every observation can contribute to biodiversity science, from the rarest butterfly to the most common backyard weed”, to quote from iNaturalist.ca’s webpage.
Here’s how Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) who are already using and accessing valuable data from this resource to aid in the early detection of invasive species.
What’s best – iNaturalist.ca OR iNaturalist.com? Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the team that focuses on the detection of invasive species generally recommends iNaturalist.ca because it allows Canadians better access to Canadian experts and Canadian data.
Is iNaturalist.ca worth using to identify unknown insects encountered in field crops?iNaturalist.ca is going to be the leader in early detections and is a fairly intuitive and usable tool for everyone. It’s not perfect for all organisms but works well for many. CFIA staff are actively monitoring it and, in the near future, CFIA hopes to set up an account that might allow users to flag observations for their team to see more rapidly.
How does CFIA mine iNaturalist and what is the value? CFIA uses a script through the Intauralist API to query for any mentions of our targeted list under the project here: Important Pest Species List for Canada – Lookout · iNaturalist. CFIA staff members receive a daily email of all the target list mentions (i.e., includes insects, plants, and mollusks). In order to increase early detections, CFIA’s also trying to retrieve data from comments such as when someone mentions a new record or new detection. At this point, only a few pathogens are listed in our pest lookout because many of CFIA’s regulated pests would need more than a picture (so we didn’t add them). CFIA staff believe iNaturalist.ca is a great tool for early detection because the number of observations is very large and growing like crazy AND they are geographically widespread.
The basic steps to get you going are: ◦ Create an account at iNaturalist.ca (https://inaturalist.ca/signup). ◦ Watch your Inbox for a basic how-to guide. ◦ Upload photos or videos (e.g., bird calls) to create an “Observation”. ◦ iNaturalist subscribers considered to be experts will help identify your observation.
Could be coming to a field near you….. Many of Canada’s economically important species of insect pests originated as invasive species that managed to relocate and establish self-sustaining populations. Over time, they become increasingly widespread and so frequently abundant that they are part of the annual list of species we monitor and attempt to manage.
Examples of invasive species existing presently throughout large areas of the Canadian prairies include wheat midge, cereal leaf beetle, cabbage seedpod weevil, pea leaf weevil, swede midge – in fact, the list of invasive species is far longer! Consider the impact of invasive species AND recognize that a growing list of species will likely affect field crops in Canada. Globalization, adaptation, and the development of new cultivars suited to Canada’s growing regions, climate change, plus many other factors will contribute to the reality: we can expect more invasive species to continue to arrive.
Where can you play a role??? Early detection and accurate identification are key steps involved in mitigating the risks associated with new invasive species. Many levels of government are active in the ongoing battle against invasive species. Even so, initial detections often arise from keen in-field scouting by producers or agrologists so access these resources to help identify the “that’s weird” or “I haven’t seen that before”. And be sure to thank the many entomologists – regional, provincial, federal, and some amazing amateurs PLUS the folks at Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) who ALL work to stand on guard for thee!
• More specifically, CFIA’s Plant Pests and Invasive Species informationis accessible here.
• Did you know…. CFIA’s top field crop invasive species include anything falling under the List of Pests Regulated by Canada which is accessible here. Caveats are that (i) some species may be on the list (e.g., codling moth) that are not necessarily a high priority but remain to maintain regulatory policy or (ii) list may include species yet to be removed.
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN HELP – Experienced producers and agrologists make important discoveries every day! Keep Canadian agriculture strong and support the detection of invasive species when encountering unusual damage symptoms or unknown insect species. How and what to report plus 3 different pathways to submit your sightings are all described here.
Every year, these guides are updated with product information and so much more! Hard copies can be purchased via the above websites. Alternatively, the 2022 Crop Production Guides are available as a FREE downloadable PDF for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
A few other helpful tools to keep at your finger tips:
ALBERTA’SInsect Pest Monitoring Network webpage links to insect survey maps, live feed maps, 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. Twitter users can connect to #ABBugChat Wednesdays at 10:00 am. • Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available so refer to the Live Map. • Cutworm live monitoring map for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available so refer to the Live Map.
Haley Catton, Wim van Herk, Julien Saguez, Cynthia Schock, Erl Svendsen and Jennifer Otani
Wireworms are the larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae). They are serious pests of many field crops across Canada, particularly cereals, pulses, root crops. Wireworms live for multiple years in the soil, eating crops from below – their underground habitat can make them difficult to detect and diagnose. Damage in cereals and pulse crops will appear as early season crop thinning or yellowing, weakened plants. Root crops may look fine aboveground but at harvest, produce will have feeding holes or disfigurations, decreasing market value.
There are several pest wireworm species in the Prairies and they are different than in other regions of Canada. A 2004-2019 survey of Prairie crop fields published by Wim van Herk and colleagues collected 5,704 specimens. This survey revealed that 97% of specimens belonged to 4 native species: 58% were Hypnoidus bicolor (no common name), 22% were Prairie grain wireworm (Selatosomus aeripennis destructor), 15% were sugarbeet wireworm (Limonius californicus), and 2% were flat wireworm (Aeolus mellillus). Importantly, the invasive wireworm species dominating coastal BC and the Atlantic provinces (Agriotes obscurus, Agriotes lineatus, Agriotes sputator) were NOT found in the survey. Over the next several weeks our Insect of the Week articles will highlight the main pest wireworm species on the Prairies.
Monitoring for wireworms can be done in different ways. Before seeding, bait traps can be placed in the soil. After crop emergence, hand digging in thinned areas of crop may reveal wireworms. Finally, monitoring for adult click beetles may be able to indicate if wireworm populations are high – this method is still in development. Unfortunately, there are no economic thresholds developed for wireworms, farmers need to judge yield loss from thin or bare patches caused by wireworms.
AAFC has recently released a new field guide on Prairie pest wireworms. It has information on biology, monitoring and management and research on wireworms on the Prairies.
Free digital copies in both official languages can be downloaded at these links.
van Herk WG, Vernon RS, Labun TJ, Sevcik MH, Schwinghamer TD (2021) Distribution of pest wireworm (Coleoptera: Elateridae) species in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (Canada). Environmental Entomology 50:663-672. doi: 10.1093/ee/nvab006