Winter Update – Reminder: Field Heroes!

Earlier this growing season the Field Heroes campaign began.  The campaign is supported by Western Grains Research Foundation and is aimed at increasing awareness of naturally occurring arthropods that are beneficial to growers owing to their ability to consumer insect pest species!

Make sure to visit their website to learn more about some of the beneficial arthropods active in agricultural field crops on the prairies and consider following @FieldHeroes in your Twitter feed.

Winter Update – True armyworm

Earlier this summer (Week 14), the true armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Mythimna unipunctawas reported on the lower west coast and a summary was provided by Tracy Hueppelsheuser (BC Ministry of Agriculture).

Tracy kindly provided an update to the situation…. The initial true armyworm damage reported earlier did not relent and a second generation of voracious larvae continued to cause damage in late August through to late September in southwestern British Columbia.  In addition to Vancouver Island (hit a second time), true armyworm larvae showed up south of Abbotsford, Sumas, Matsqui, Dereoche, as well as east through Chilliwack (Greendale, Rosedale), and west all the way to Delta and Westham Island.  The outbreak resulted in damage to grass fields and even corn was defoliated and cobs damaged!  

True armyworm pupae were observed mid-September and moths are expected over the next while in lower BC.  A third generation is anticipated but is not expected to cause as much damage owing to the cooler nights (~8°C) which should slow insect development and feeding.  Parasitism was noted which is good news in terms of natural enemies responding to the outbreak.  Also, lots of bird feeding activity has been observed although the birds’ seeking and feeding activities have also damaged grass fields!

The outbreak of true armyworm in lower BC appears to be part of a larger outbreak that has similarly afflicted western Oregon and Washington this year.  

Find more information on true armyworms in the NEW Cutworm Field Guide, free and downloadable in 2017!

Screenshots of true armyworm from the Cutworm Field guide are also shown below:

NEW Cutworm Identification and Management Field Guide

Cutworms are part of Canadian agriculture on the Prairies. Most of the time they are of little concern but outbreaks do occur from time to time, causing significant economic damage if not controlled. Cutworm outbreaks can range from small patches of clipped or missing plants in individual fields to widespread areas with entire quarter
sections needing re-seeding

Cutworm management starts with identification – knowing what species is at work in your fields helps unlock information
that improves cutworm scouting and management. Knowledge of cutworm 
biology, behaviour, preferred habitat, impacts of weather and interaction with its natural enemies will all improve scouting
techniques and pest management decisions for growers. 

Just released, the Cutworm Pests of Crop on the Canadian Prairies – Identification and Management Field Guide describes the economically important cutworm pests in detail and provides the information needed to manage them. [Funding for preparation of this publication was provided by the Canola Council of Canada]

For more information and a download link, go to our Cutworm Field Guide.

Updated Livestock-Poultry Pest Control Guide

Hugh Philip recently updated the guide, “Recommendations for
the Control of Arthropod Pests of Livestock, Poultry and Farm Buildings in
Western Canada
”. This is an 70-page guide and a valuable resource providing an updated list of insecticides used to control pests of
livestock.  The Guide has been posted as a downloadable pdf file.

We are grateful to Hugh for his work and his permission to post the updated Guide here for all to use!  Also find a copy of this guide posted on the Western Forum of Pest Management website.

Please pay special attention to the PREFACE which has been copied below:
“This Guide was originally prepared and updated by the Western Committee on Livestock Pests (WCLP) until 1999. The control products listed in the Guide are recommended for use on livestock and poultry and in farm buildings in Western Canada. Not all of the products listed are available through all agricultural chemical retailers and veterinary clinics. The information presented in this Guide does not supersede or substitute the instructions on the product labels. Always read the label before using any control product recommended in this Guide. The Guide is also subject to all those changes, including deletions and revisions in the label claims of products that are authorized by Health Canada as required under the Pest Control Products Act and the Food and Drugs Act.”

The table of contents for this guide has been copied below:

AAFC posts new IPM video

When encountering insects found in prairie crops, I quite often don’t know if I’ve found a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ insect. In these instances, I feel like Glinda the Good when she asked Dorothy, ‘are you a good witch, or a bad witch?’ Some are ‘good’ insects (predators, parasitoids, pollinators, decomposers) and others are ‘bad’ (defoliators, sap suckers, seed eaters, root eaters, disease vectors). And of course there’s also the great grey middle where some insects have a balance of good and bad traits, while others are seemingly and completely benign. Many times, you can’t tell simply by their appearance which category an insect falls in (unlike Glinda in identifying a bad witch: ‘Only bad witches are ugly.’). Especially when you encounter their adult form as it’s often the larvae or nymphs that cause most of the damage.

AAFC entomologists
study many aspects of the insects that make their home in our crops and nearby
land. One of those aspects is how the ‘good’ insects contribute to the
producers’ bottom line in terms of the pest control services they provide. Economists estimate that for
every $1 invested in Integrated Pest Management research, the industry gets
back about $15 in benefits. For a brief look at some of the work AAFC
entomologists do in Saskatchewan, make some popcorn, sit back and watch our new video.

I would be remiss
if I didn’t add that AAFC entomologists partner with provincial, university, industry
and private entomologists in the region and across Canada to discover, monitor and
publicize the latest findings and trends in crop pests and beneficials.
You might also
like to take a look at ‘Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies
in Western Canada: Identification and Management Guide’ for information and
full colour pictures of important economic Prairie crop insects and spiders. Download
links are available on the ‘Insect of Week’ page.

2016 Cutworm Monitoring

Today Alberta Agriculture & Forestry posted the link to their online 2016 Cutworm reporting tool which is located at:$Department/deptdocs.nsf/all/prm13779

Cutworm reports are mapped in real-time to help keep the agricultural industry informed.

Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide

Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide (2015) by Hugh Philip is a new publication from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Two downloadable (~8 MB) versions of the complete field guide are available:

– ‘Regular’, best for printing: EnglishFrench
– ‘Enhanced’, best for viewing electronically with active internal and external hyperlinks: English-enhancedFrench-enhanced

Here’s what the cover looks like:

Link to our Insect of the Week feature from 2015 to view more!

Canola Insect Scouting Chart

Have you used the new Canola Insect Scouting Chart?  

  • The Canola Insect Scouting Chart helps growers anticipate and identify insect pests according to relative crop stages.  
  • Insect pest names have been hyperlinked to pages published within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide”.  
  • Growers can link to photos and to fact sheets by clicking each insect name on the chart.
Link here to access the Canola Insect Scouting Chart.