Weekly Update

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Happy Birthday Canada!

Warmer temperatures last week continue to move our growing season forward and there are more insects to prioritize on scouting lists again this week. Bertha armyworm pheromone monitoring numbers are coming in as cooperators work with their provincial networks to help assess risk levels in the form of cumulative moth counts.  We are also poised for wheat midge emergence across the prairies and we dedicate this Weekly Update and remember Dr. John Doane, an entomologist whose research on this pest and many other species contributed significantly to insect pest management on the Canadian prairies.

Access information to support your in-field insect monitoring efforts in the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 10 OR a downloadable PDF.

Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update? Please email Meghan.Vankosky@canada.ca or Jennifer.Otani@canada.ca. Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update Blog Page.

Sugar Beet Pests / Feature Entomologist: James Tansey

This week’s Insect of the Week featured crop is the sugar beet, a plant that has been grown in southern Alberta since 1925. Our feature entomologist this week is James Tansey.

Sugar Beet
cc by 2.0 Ulrike Leone

Introduced to the Prairies in the mid-20s, sugar beets are the single 100% Canadian sugar source. A crop that loves heat and water, sugar beets require irrigation to thrive. Alberta produces most of the sugar beet in Canada (only Prairie producer) with the rest produced in Ontario. In 2019, sugar beets were seeded on 11,500 hectares (28,500 acres) in Alberta, producing 520,700 metric tonnes (574,000 US tons). This was a 39% decrease compared to 2018 due to unseasonable cold in September and October.

Several pests target sugar beets. Monitoring and scouting protocols as well as economic thresholds (when available) are found in Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management and the Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies: Identification and Management Field Guide. Additional monitoring protocols exist to control certain pests.

Sugar Beet Field
cc by 2.0 Gille San Martin
Sugar Beet Pests
  • Army cutworm
  • Beet webworm
  • Blister beetle
  • Clover cutworm
  • European corn borer
  • Pale western cutworm
  • Redbacked cutworm
  • Saltmarsh caterpillar
  • Sugar beet root aphid
Saltmarsh caterpillar moth – AAFC

Entomologist of the Week: James Tansey

Name: Dr. James Tansey
Affiliation: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Contact Information: James Tansey PhD
Provincial Specialist, Insect/Pest Management
Production Technology
Crops and Irrigation Branch, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
3085 Albert Street; Room 125
Regina, Canada S4S 0B1
Business: 306-787-4669
Cell: 306-520-3525

HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE IN INSECT MONITORING OR SURVEILLANCE ON THE PRAIRIES?

I help to coordinate and conduct insect surveys in several crops throughout Saskatchewan and coordinate diagnostics with the Crop Protection Laboratory located in Regina.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING FIELD CROP PEST ON THE PRAIRIES?

Predatory midges are very cool. Like flea beetles, there is still so much we do not know about these important insects.  

TELL US ABOUT AN IMPORTANT PROJECT YOU ARE WORKING ON RIGHT NOW.

I am working on a project to establish thresholds for pea aphid in field peas and lentils. This project is in collaboration with AAFC and utilizes the expertise of the Redvers, Outlook and Swift Current Agri-ARM sites.

WHAT TOOLS, PLATFORMS, ETC. DO YOU USE TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR STAKEHOLDERS?

I communicate with stakeholders at extension meetings, field days, and Crop Diagnostic School and use tools including webinars, Twitter, and the telephone.

Weekly Update

Hello!

A special thanks ALWAYS to David Giffen (AAFC-Saskatoon) for all his work supporting the PPMN!  We are especially grateful this week for his keen eye!  David detected an issue with the incoming environmental data and, once again, steered us all in the right direction! 

Things are getting busy now for our field research programs so, from now until mid-July, the Weekly Update may need to be posted each week in portions at any point from Wednesday-Saturday.  Please bookmark the Blog or subscribe to receive the latest growing season information!

Please access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 10 (June 13, 2019) OR a downloadable PDF. Be sure to check out the Insect of the Week – the rest of the growing season features doppelgangers to aid in-field scouting!

Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please e-mail either Dr. Meghan Vankosky or Jennifer Otani.  Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.

Subscribe to the Blog by following these easy steps!

Weather synopsis

This week there was an issue with the incoming environmental data but it was thankfully detected by David Giffen (AAFC-Saskatoon).  

A: TEMPERATURES – Temperatures continued to be cooler than average. This past week temperatures were coolest in AB and warmest in MB (Fig. 1). Average temperatures for May 12 to June 11, 2019, were approximately 1°C cooler than average (Fig. 2).   

Figure 1.  Average temperature (°C) across the Canadian prairies over the past SEVEN days (June 5-11, 2019).
Figure 2.  Average temperature (°C) across the Canadian prairies over the past 30 days (May 12-June 11, 2019).
Figure 3.  Percent of Average precipitation across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-June 13, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (14Jun2019).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5 ºC, April 1-June 10, 2019) is below (Fig. 4):

Figure 4. Growing degree day (Base 5 ºC) across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-June 10, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (14Jun2019).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10 ºC, April 1-June 10, 2019) is below (Fig. 5):

Figure 5. Growing degree day (Base 10 ºC) across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-June 10, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (14Jun2019).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

The lowest temperatures (°C) observed the past seven days are reflected in the map below (Fig. 6).

Figure 6. Lowest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (June 7-13, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (13Jun2019).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

The highest temperatures (°C) observed the past seven days are reflected in the map below (Fig. 7).

Figure 7. Highest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (June 7-13 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (14Jun2019).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

B: PRECIPITATION – During the past seven days, rainfall in central regions of AB and southern MB was reported to be greater than 15 mm (Fig. 8). Little or no rain was reported across central areas of SK. Rainfall totals for May 12-June 11 indicated that rainfall amounts were greatest in AB and MB (Fig. 9) while conditions continue to be very dry across most of SK (Fig. 10). 

Figure 8.  Cumulative precipitation (mm) across the Canadian prairies over the past SEVEN days (June 5-11, 2019).
Figure 9. Cumulative precipitation (mm) across the Canadian prairies over the past 30 days (May 12-June 11, 2019).

C: SOIL MOISTURE – Soil moisture values are low across most of the prairies (Fig. 10).

Figure 10. Modeled soil moisture (%) across the Canadian prairies (up to June 11, 2019).

The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Growers can bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.

Cutworms

Manitoba continues to experience cutworm issues this spring!  Thanks to John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture) who was able to provide a quick summary:

There has been a lot of insecticide applications and some reseeding of crops in Manitoba because of cutworms. Damage is to a variety of crops. Redbacked and dingy cutworms have been the two dominant species, although some other species of cutworms are being found. They are starting to turn to pupae, however stages are quite variable in some fields and scouting and insecticide applications continue.

Please refer back to our earlier Cutworm post (Wk05) for help with scouting and identification tips.  Also access the free downloadable Cutworm Field Guide.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Based on BAW model runs, this week pupal development is greater than  80% across most of southern and central areas of the prairies (Fig. 1). Within the next five days BAW adults should begin to emerge in these areas.

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development across the Canadian prairies as of June 11, 2019.

Please ensure pheromone traps are out in SK and AB fields this week!

Table 1. Predicted emergence date of bertha armyworm moths at select locations across the Canadian prairies in 2019.

Biological and monitoring information related to bertha armyworm in field crops is posted by the provinces of ManitobaSaskatchewanAlberta and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Also refer to the bertha armyworm pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

A special thanks to John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture) who helped update the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol.  Use the images below (Fig. 2) to help identify moths from the by-catch that will be retained in phermone-baited unitraps.

Figure 2. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D). 
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Also be sure to review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Predicted grasshopper development

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). 

This week, the grasshopper hatch is well underway across the prairies with most locations having 30% (12% last week) hatch and some areas are predicted to have hatch rates of 75%. Approximately 21% of the population is in the first instar (Fig. 1), 7% (2,5% last week) is predicted to be in the second instar (Fig. 2), and 1% in the third instar.  Grasshopper developmental rates are greatest across southern and central regions of SK. Over the past 30 days this region has experienced the warmest and driest conditions for the prairies. Recent, warm temperatures in southern MB has advanced grasshopper development. 

A survey of roadsides south of Saskatoon this week indicated that melanopline species were primarily first and second second instars.  

Figure 1.  Predicted percent of grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) population at first instar stage across the Canadian prairies (as of June 11, 2019). 
Figure 2. Predicted percent of grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) population at second instar stage across the Canadian prairies (as of June 11, 2019). 

Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the grasshopper pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Alfalfa weevil

Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) – Degree-day maps of base 9°C are produced using the Harcourt/North Dakota models (Soroka et al. 2015).  Models predicting the development of Alfalfa weevil (AAW) across the prairies are updated weekly to help growers time their in-field scouting for second-instar larvae. 

This past week warmer temperatures in southern MB advanced alfalfa weevil development. Weevils are predicted to be primarily in the second (53%) and third instars (22%) across most of southern areas in MB and SK (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Predicted average instar stage of alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica)  acrossthe Canadian prairies as of June 11, 2019.

The larval stage of this weevil feeds on alfalfa leaves in a manner that characterizes the pest as a “skeletonizer”.  The green larva featuring a dorsal, white line down the length of its body has a dark brown head capsule and will grow to 9mm long.  

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” (Philip et al. 2015). The guide is available in both a free English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Recap of earlier predicted model outputs

Last week, predictive model outputs were projected into June.  Please review the information for these insect pests by clicking the hyperlink:

Cabbage seedpod weevil

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.  Monitoring should typically begin for this pest as canola enters the bud stage.

Monitoring – Refer to the 2019 update of the PPMN Cabbage seedpod weevil monitoring protocol for detailed information, photos of all insect stages and canola damage:

  • Sample from the bud to flower stages in canola.  
  • 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.  

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.

Please find additional detailed information for CSPW in fact sheets posted by Alberta Agriculture and ForestrySaskatchewan Agriculture, or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

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

Manitoba‘s Insect and Disease Updates for 2019 are posted here and includes an update posted June 5, 2019.

Saskatchewan‘s Crops Blog Posts includes a segment on “Early season scouting of cutworms” by Sara Doerksen posted in April 2019 and “Economic thresholds” by Kaeley Kindrachuk posted in May 2019.

•  Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land regularly includes insect pest updates from Mr. Scott Meers. The most recent Call of the Land was posted March 18-22, 2019 but did not include an insect update.

Crop report links

Crop reports are produced by:

The following crop reports are also available:

Field Events – Speak to an entomologist

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):

•  June 20, 2019: Solstice Forage and Crops Field Tour to be held at the Beaverlodge Research Farm (Beaverlodge AB).  View event info/registration details.  Entomologists tentatively participating: Jennifer Otani, Keith Uloth

•  June 26, 2019: 2019 CanolaPALOOZA to be held at the Lacombe Research and Development Centre (Lacombe AB).  View event info/registration details.  Entomologists tentatively participating: Jennifer Otani, Amanda Jorgensen, Meghan Vankosky, Scott Meers, Shelley Barkley, Patty Reid, Sunil Shivananjappa, Hector Carcamo, Julie Soroka, Mark Cutts, Jim Tansey, Sherrie Benson and the Junior Entomologists.

•  July 9-12, July 16-18, 2019: Crop Diagnostic School. Held at the University of Manitoba Research Farm at Carman, Manitoba. An 2-week diagnostic school will complete units on entomology, plant pathology, weed science, soil fertility, pulse crop production, and oilseed production. View registration and event information. Entomologists participating: John Gavloski and Jordan Bannerman.

•  July 9, 2019: CanolaPALOOZA Saskatoon, to be held at the SRDC Llewellyn Farm. Read more about this event.  Entomologists presenting: Tyler Wist, James Tansey, Greg Sekulic, Meghan Vankosky

•  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.

•  August 8, 2019:  2019 Wheatstalk to be held at Teepee Creek AB.  View event info/registration details.   Entomologists tentatively participating: Jennifer Otani, 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.

Monarch migration

We continue to track the migration of the Monarch butterflies as they move north by checking the 2019 Monarch Migration Map!  A screen shot of the map has been placed below as an example (retrieved 14Jun2019) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map.  They are moving further north and west in Manitoba!

Visit the Journey North website to learn more about migration events in North America and visit their monarch butterfly website for more information related to this amazing insect.  

Previous Posts

Click to review these earlier 2019 Posts: 

  ● 2019 Risk and forecast maps – Week 2

 ● Cereal Aphid Manager APP – Week 9
   ● Cereal leaf beetle – Week 9
   ● Crop protection guides – Week 6
   ● Cutworms – Week 5

  ● Field heroes – Week 6
   ● Flea beetles – Week 5

  ● Insect scouting chart for Canola – Week 5
   ● Insect scouting chart for Flax – Week 5

  ● Pea leaf weevil – Week 9
   ● Painted lady butterfly – Week 8

  ● Ticks and Lyme disease – Week 4

  ● Weather Radar – Week 6
   ● Wildfires – Week 8
   ● Wind trajectories – Weeks 1-4

Insect of the Week – Doppelgangers: Bertha armyworm and clover cutworm

The case of the bertha armyworm and the clover cutworm (and other cutworm species)

Clover cutworm larva
cc-by 3.0 Lo Troisfontaine
Bertha armyworm – caterpillar 
Mike Dolinski, MikeDolinski@hotmail.com

Are those bertha armyworms (Mamestra configurata) eating your canola, mustard or alfalfa (also found on lamb’s-quarters, peas, flax, potato)? Or is it maybe a clover cutworm (Discestra trifolii)? [Note: not all cutworm species spend their larval stage underground.] The larvae of the two species are doppelgangers as they are similar in appearance, have a large overlap in host crops, and have similar timing (June-September). Telling them apart can be a challenge but here are few tips to focus on to help distinguish:

Colour:

  • there are generally fewer velvety black clover cutworm caterpillars, with most of the clover cutworm larvae being green or pale brown

Lateral stripe:

  • On the clover cutworm it is yellowish-pink
  • On the bertha armyworm it is yellowish-orange
Climbing cutworm larva – from Cutworm Field Guide
Climbing cutworm adults – from Cutworm Field Guide

In terms of scouting, economic thresholds and control options, treat both species as you would bertha armyworms.

Bertha armyworm – adult
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Clover cutworm adult
cc-by-nc-sa 2.0 Ilona Loser

To learn more about bertha armyworms and clover cutworms, go to the Insect of the Week page or download copies of the Field Crop and Forage Pests andtheir Natural Enemies in Western Canada and Cutworm Pests of Crops onthe Canadian Prairies identification field guides.

Wind Trajectories

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.

In a continuing effort to produce timely information, the wind trajectory reports are available in two forms:

Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network

The Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network (PCDMN) represents the combined effort of our prairie pathologists who work together to support in-field disease management in field crops.  

In 2019, the PCDMN will release a series of weekly Cereal Rust Risk Reports throughout May and June.  Information related to trajectory events based on forecast and diagnostic wind fields and cereal rust risk is experimental, and is OFFERED TO THE PUBLIC FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. 

Background:  Agriculture and AgriFood 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. Trajectory models are used to deliver an early-warning system for the origin and destination of migratory invasive species, such as diamondback moth. In addition, plant pathologists have shown that trajectories can assist with the prediction of plant disease infestations and are also beginning to utilize these same data. An introduction will be presented of efforts to identify wind trajectory events that may bring rust urediniospores into Western Canada from epidemic areas in the central and Pacific northwest (PNW) regions of the USA. Identification of potential events as well as an assessment of epidemic severity from source locations, and prairie weather conditions, will be used to assess the need for prompt targeted crop scouting for at-risk regions of the Canadian Prairies.

This week, two documents are available from the PCDMN:

Summary of wind trajectory and cereal rust risk assessment and the need for in-crop scouting in the Prairie region, June 4-10, 2019:

1. Pacific Northwest – Currently there is limited stripe rust development in the PNW, a moderate-high number of recent wind trajectories from the PNW, relatively dry Prairie weather conditions, and generally early stages of Prairie crop development, especially in spring cereals.  Thus, as of June 10, 2019, the risk of stripe rust appearance from the PNW is relatively low and scouting for this disease is not urgent.  

2. Texas-Oklahoma corridor –In general, crops are advancing towards maturity, while in many areas of Texas harvesting has been completed, and thus will become less of a source of rust inoculum.  There has been a limited number of recent wind trajectories from this area, relatively dry Prairie weather conditions, and generally early stages of Prairie spring crop development.  Thus, as of June 10, 2019, the risk of leaf and stripe rust appearance from the Texas-Oklahoma corridor is low and scouting for these diseases is not urgent.  

3. Kansas-Nebraska corridor –Leaf and stripe rust development in winter wheat continues in Kansas, although the winter crop is starting to turn colour in some regions.  Although rusts have only been recently reported in Nebraska, levels are on the rise, and thus over the next few weeks this region could act as a significant source of rust inoculum for the Prairie region.  From June 4-10, 2019 there has been a low-moderate number of wind trajectories from this area.  In general, weather conditions have been relatively dry across the Prairies with generally early stages of Prairie crop development depending on the region.  Thus, as of June 10, 2019, the risk of leaf and stripe rust appearance from the Kansas-Nebraska corridor is relatively low and scouting for these diseases is not urgent; however, further development of rust in these regions, especially Nebraska, may increase the risk.  

4. Where farmers or consultants noticed stripe rust development on winter wheat in the fall of 2018, it is recommended to scout winter wheat fields this spring.  Scouting is especially critical where the variety being grown is susceptible to stripe rust.  Currently, there are no reports of stripe rust in commercial fields of winter or spring wheat across the Prairie region.

5.  Access the full downloadable report.

Insect of the Week – Natural enemies of pea aphids

Populations of pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum Harris (Hemiptera: Aphididae), can be kept below the economic threshold by their natural enemies if these are present early and in sufficient numbers. Natural enemies include parasitoids, predators, and diseases that reduce pest populations.

Predators of pea aphids include ladybird beetles (adults and larvae), syrphid fly larvae, and damsel bugs. These predators catch and eat pea aphids of all ages and sizes. They are classified as generalists because they also prey on other insect species.

The many faces of the adult harlequin ladybeetle 
 (aka multicoloured Asian ladybeetle) (Photo: ©Entomart)
Harlequin ladybeetle larva (Photo: cc by-sa Quartl)

Pea aphids are attacked by several species of parasitoid, including Aphidius ervi Haliday (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae: Aphidiinae). Female parasitoids lay individual eggs inside aphid nymphs. After hatching, the parasitoid larva consumes its host, eventually killing it. The parasitoid pupates inside the dead or mummified aphid before a new adult parasitoid emerges.

Aphid mummies look bloated and discoloured compared to healthy adult aphids. Parasitism rates can be estimated by counting the number of aphid mummies on five host plants at five locations within a field.

Aphidius ervi parasitoid (Photo: cc by Penny Greeves)

For more information about the predators and parasitoids of pea aphids, visit the Insect of the Week page or consult Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management Field Guide.

To learn more about some of the natural enemies fighting pests in background for free, go to www.fieldheroes.ca or follow @FieldHeroes on Twitter.

Blog post submitted by Dr. Meghan Vankosky.
Follow her at @Vanbugsky.

Weekly Update

Greetings!

Field crop entomologists across the prairies are again surveying so the Weekly Update is restricted to the basics for Week 10.

Access the Weekly Update as a series of Posts for Week 10 (July 12, 2018). A similarly abridged downloadable PDF is available.   Review the “Insect of the Week” for Week 10!

Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please e-mail either Dr. Meghan Vankosky or Jennifer Otani.  Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.

Subscribe to the Blog by following these three steps!

Weather synopsis

Weather synopsis – This week staff were again surveying so we direct you to the AAFC Drought Watch maps in addition to the following updates.

This past week (July 2 – 9, 2018), temperatures across the prairies were warmer than long term average values (Fig. 1). The warmest weekly temperatures continue to occur across Manitoba. Compared to last week, daily average temperatures were warmer across southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. The 30-day (June 9  – July 9, 2018) average temperature was similar to the long term average. 

Figure 1. Weekly (July 2 – 9, 2018) average temperature (°C).

Weekly and 30-day total precipitation was slightly above average (Figs. 2 and 3).  Weekly accumulations were generally less than 20 mm with a few areas (northeast Saskatchewan, northwest Manitoba and the south of the Peace River region) reporting greater than 40 mm. The wettest (30-day) regions were across eastern areas in Saskatchewan, and isolated areas in southern Manitoba and the south of the Peace River region. A large region across Saskatchewan and Alberta continues to be dry.

Figure 2. Weekly (July 2 – 9, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).
Figure 3. The 30-day (June 9 – July 9, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – July 8, 2018) is below:

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – July 9, 2018) is available below:

The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Growers may wish to bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.

Wheat midge

Wheat Midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana– As of July 9, 2018, the model runs indicate that wheat midge oviposition is well underway across a large area of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.  Populations in this region are primarily in the egg stage (Fig. 1) with larvae appearing as well. 

Figure 1. Percent wheat midge in the egg stage based on model simulations for April 1 – July 9, 2018.

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. 

Click here to review the 2018 wheat midge forecast map.  

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.  Additionally, more information 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

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).  

As of July 9, 2018, the grasshopper model output indicates that development is approximately 10 days ahead of normal with populations consisting of 4th and 5th instar stages and adults.  The most rapid grasshopper development occurred across southern and central regions (Fig. 1). 

Figure 1.  Grasshopper development (average instar) based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 9, 2018.

Grasshopper Scouting Steps: 

● 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.

● Starting 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 end point 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.

Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the grasshopper pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – Due to warmer temperature data, the Lygus model output has predicted rapid a increase in development across southern and central prairie regions with Lygus adults forecast to occur across most of this area (Fig. 1). 

Figure 1. Lygus development (average instar) based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 9, 2018.

Remember – The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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.

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.

Repeat the sampling in another 14 locations. 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.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

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).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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-enhanced or French-enhanced versions are available.

Abundant parastioids in canola!

The cabbage seedpod weevil is a chronic pest of canola in southern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan; it has recently reached Manitoba as well. The pest is managed with insecticides, which are sprayed at early flower. This year, in some canola fields around Lethbridge AB, an abundant parasitoid wasp was noticed at the time when fields may be sprayed. The wasp was identified as Diolcogaster claritibia (Fig. 1; thanks to Vincent Hervet and Jose Fernandez for confirming identification).

The wasp is a parasitoid that attacks diamondback moth larvae and recently abundant in some fields in 2017. In some of the fields sampled, as many parasitoids as cabbage seedpod weevil (i.e., nearly one per sweep) were observed. In the fields sampled (i.e., around 10), cabbage seedpod weevils were below thresholds on average, though some spots may have been close to the threshold of 2-3 weevils per sweep.

The above observation emphasizes the value of beneficial arthropods like Diolcogaster claritibia.  It is important to recognize that foliar applications of insecticides kill beneficial insects like this small wasp (about 2 mm) which attacks and helps regulate pest populations of diamondback moth or other Lepidoptera, including cutworms and cabbage worms. Thus, think beneficials before you spray!

Figure 1.  Diolcagaster claritibia adult measuring ~2mm in length (Photo credit J. Fernandez, AAFC-Ottawa).

Learn more about beneficials by accessing Field Heroes and all the Blog’s Parasitoid posts.

Download the Field Guide

If you haven’t downloaded the FREE field guide yet, please do so now!

Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: IDENTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT FIELD GUIDE

The 152-page, full-colour field guide, now available online, is designed to help you make informed decisions in managing over 90 harmful pests of field and forage crops in Western Canada. Better decision making helps save time and effort and eliminates unnecessary pesticide applications to improve your bottom line. The guide also helps the reader identify many natural enemies that prey on or parasitize pest insects. Recognizing and fostering populations of natural enemies will enhance their role in keeping or reducing pest populations below economic levels.

Find links to download the FREE Insect Field Guide.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

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

Manitoba‘s Insect and Disease Updates for 2018 can be accessed here. Issue #6 (posted July 4, 2018) included reports of grasshoppers, low numbers of aphids in peas and cereal crops, and importance of protecting and preserving pollinators in any flowering crop.

Saskatchewan‘s Crop Production News for 2018 is posted with Issue #4 now available. This issue includes a report from the Crop Protection Lab summarizing disease and insect samples submitted this growing season. Saskatchewan growers can review articles on how to scout for cutworms, how to assess plant stand densities in flax or canola, and for flea beetles, pea leaf weevils. Also note the following diamondback moth pheromone trap interception counts from across the regions (updated June 27, 2018):

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land regularly includes insect pest updates from Scott Meers. The most recent Call of the Land (posted July 12, 2018) identified that SOME bertha armyworm pheromone traps over a wide geographic range have started to intercept higher numbers of moths. This means in-field scouting will be critical in 10-14 days (as larvae move up from leaves to feed among canola pods). Processing of canola survey samples has begun; initial samples suggest lower diamondback moth and Lygus bug numbers so far compared to 2017 but higher numbers of small parasitoid wasps associated with diamondback moths, and a pocket of grasshoppers (clearwinged) near Carmangay AB.

Previous Posts

The following is a list of 2018 Posts – click to review:

Alfalfa weevil – Week 6

Bertha armyworm – Week 9

Cabbage seedpod weevil – Week 8 
Cereal aphid manager (CAM) – Week 2
Cereal leaf beetle – Week 5
Cereal leaf beetle larvae request – Week 8
Crop protection guides – Week 2
Crop reports – Week 8
Cutworms – Week 4

Diamondback moth – Week 7

Field heroes – Week 8
Flea beetles – Week 4

Monarch migration – Week 8

Pea leaf weevil – Week 8
PMRA Pesticide Label Mobile App – Week 4

Scouting charts (canola and flax) – Week 3

Ticks and Lyme Disease – Week 4

Weather radar – Week 3
West nile virus – Week 8
Wind trajectories – Week 6
Wireworm distribution maps – Week 6
White grubs in fields – Week 8

Cabbage seedpod weevil

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.




Monitoring:  
 ● 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.


Please find additional detailed information for CSPW in fact sheets posted by Alberta Agriculture and ForestrySaskatchewan Agriculture, or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.

Also watch provincial reports for updates on surveying underway now.  Alberta Agriculture & Forestry has posted a live CSPW map and online reporting tool for growers.  A screenshot (retrieved 06Jul2017) is included below.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so we have attempted to link to their most recent information: 


● Manitoba’s Insect and Disease Update for 2017 is prepared by John Gavloski and Pratisara Bajracharya and read Issue #7 (posted July 5, 2017) noting the presence of thistle caterpillar (Vanessa cardui) and larval populations of diamondback moth reaching economically significant levels in the southwest of that province. Cumulative counts of bertha armyworm generated from weekly counts in Manitoba can be accessed here.

● Saskatchewan’s Crop Production News – 2017 – Issue #3 includes the insect update prepared by Scott Hartley and Danielle Stephens. That report includes an update on the red bugs in canola (also described in Week 8) and how to submit samples to that provincial lab, very low numbers of diamondback moth in pheromone traps across that province, initial low numbers of bertha armyworm in pheromone traps, and cabbage seedpod weevil.


● Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land and access the most recent Insect Update (July 5, 2017) provided by Scott Meers. That report notes migration of painted lady butterflies which feed on thistles but also soybeans, sunflowers, and dry beans. Soybean and sunflower producers will need to carefully follow the development of a second generation of V. cardui as it could affect those crops by mid-July. Additionally, d
iamondback moth are more numerous than in previous seasons so careful scouting will be required during early pod stages in canola as that stage is the most susceptible to yield losses.

Crop reports

Crop reports are produced by:
• Manitoba Agriculture, Rural Development (July 4, 2017)
• Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report (June 27-July 3, 2017)

• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Crop Report (June 27, 2017)

Insect of the Week – Aphidius parasitoid wasp

This week’s Insect of the Week is the Aphidius parasitoid wasp. Their hosts include over 40 species of aphids. Egg to adult development occurs inside the host. New adults chew a hole in the mummified aphid to exit and immediately search for new aphid hosts.

For more information on the Aphidius parasitoid wasp, see our Insect of the Week page.

Parasitized English grain aphid (Tyler Wist, AAFC)
Aphidiidae – adult (Aphidius avenaphis) (Tyler Wist, AAFC)

Follow @FieldHeroes to learn more about the natural enemies that are working for you for FREE to protect your crops!

Remember the NEW Cutworm Field Guide is free and downloadable in 2017!

Weekly Update – Greetings!

Greetings!

Please access the Weekly Update for July 6, 2017 (Week 10), as either a series of Posts for Week 10 (Jul 06, 2017) or a downloadable PDF.   


Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please e-mail either Dr. Owen Olfert or Jennifer Otani.  Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.

Subscribe to the Blog by following these easy steps!

Weekly Update – Weather Synopsis

Weather synopsis – This past week, average temperatures were slightly below long-term normals for mid-June.  Average temperatures for June indicate that Alberta temperatures were average, to above average, while Saskatchewan was slightly below than average temperatures. 







Total 30 day rainfall accumulations indicate that conditions are dryer than normal for most of Saskatchewan, the southern Peace River region and large areas of Manitoba.  Central and southern Alberta has had normal rainfall for June.



The lowest temperatures across the prairies over the past seven days (June 29-July 5, 2017) are mapped below.  


In contrast, the highest temperatures recorded over the past seven days (June 29-July 5, 2017) are presented below.  

The updated growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – July 3, 2017) is below:



While the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – July 3, 2017) is below:


The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Growers may wish to bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.

Weekly Update – Predicted Bertha Armyworm Development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Bertha armyworm should be in the adult stage across the prairies this week.  The map illustrates predicted appearance of adults (percent of the population) across the southern prairies.

For those monitoring BAW pheromone traps, compare trap “catches” to the following reference photo kindly shared by Saskatchewan Agriculture:



Biological and monitoring information related to bertha armyworm in field crops is posted by the provinces of ManitobaSaskatchewanAlberta and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the bertha armyworm pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions are available.

Weekly Update – Wheat midge

Wheat Midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana– Reminder – The previous Insect of the Week (Week 7) features wheat midge!  

Simulation modelling is used to predict wheat midge emergence across the Canadian prairies.  P
redicted adult emergence for Saskatoon and Melfort is very similar to last week.  Elliott et al. (2009) reported that adult emergence was affected by inadequate rainfall amounts (May and June). The model was parameterized to take rainfall into account.  Output indicates that emergence at Saskatoon has been limited by inadequate rainfall during June. Rainfall for Saskatoon in June was 37 mm compared to long-term average of 61 mm.  Emergence at Melfort is predicted to be more advanced. June rainfall was 61 mm. 





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. 



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.  

NEW – Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has also released a YouTube video describing in-field monitoring for wheat midge this week.  


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.

Weekly Update – Predicted Grasshopper Development

Grasshopper Simulation Model Output – Based on model output, grasshopper development is very similar to long-term averages.  Across the prairies, grasshoppers should be predominantly in the second and third instar stages with more rapid development across southern Alberta. The greatest development was predicted to be across all of the southern regions.

Grasshopper Scouting Steps: 

● 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.

● Starting 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 end point 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.

Reminder:  Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural DevelopmentSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the grasshopper pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Alfalfa weevil

Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) – Across the prairies, the model indicates that 80% of the population should be in the pupal stage. Adults should be appearing near Saskatoon this week.





In terms of degree-day heat units, the map below reflects the predicted development of alfalfa weevil across the Canadian prairies.



Alfalfa growers are encouraged to check the Alfalfa Weevil Fact Sheet prepared by Dr. Julie Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon) and 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” (Philip et al. 2015).  That guide is available in both a free English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Monarch migration

We again track the migration of the Monarch butterflies as they move north by checking the 2017 Monarch Migration Map!  A screen shot of the map has been placed below as an example (retrieved 06Jul2017) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map! 

Weekly Update – Previous Posts

The following is a list of 2017 Posts – click to review:

Bertha armyworm (Week 9)

Brood X Cicadas

Cabbage seedpod weevil (Week 8)

Canola scouting chart
Cereal leaf beetle
Crickets with your popcorn
Crop protection guides
Crop reports (Week 8)
Cutworms

Diamondback moth


Flax scouting chart

Flea beetles

Grasshopper development (Week 8)

Iceberg reports


Lily leaf beetle



Painted lady butterflies (Week 9)
Pea leaf weevil
PMRA Pesticide Label Mobile App
Provincial Insect Pest Reports (Week 8)

Nysius niger (Week 8)

Ticks and Lyme disease


Weather radar

Wind trajectories

Cabbage seedpod weevil

Cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus) –  Reminders for monitoring:  
 ● 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.



Please find additional detailed information for CSPW in fact sheets posted by Alberta Agriculture and ForestrySaskatchewan Agriculture, or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.

Also watch provincial reports for updates on surveying underway now.  Alberta Agriculture & Forestry has released a new live CSPW map and online reporting tool for growers.  A screenshot (retrieved 06 Jul 2016) is included below.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so we have attempted to link to their most recent information: 

– Manitoba’s Insect and Disease Update (July 4, 2016,
prepared by John Gavloski and Pratisara Bajracharya).
– Saskatchewan’s Insect Report which mentions redbacked cutworms
but emphasizes scouting for cabbage seedpod weevil, wheat midge and
grasshoppers (Issue 4,
prepared by Scott Hartley).

– Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land for
updates from Scott Meers who recently provided an update (posted on July 7, 2016). 

Insect of the Week – Bertha armyworm parasitoids

Bertha armyworm parasitoids – Ichneumonids and Tachinids


Last year, the focus of the Insect of the Week was crop pests. This year, we’re changing things up and highlighting the many natural enemies that help you out, silently and efficiently killing off crop pests. [note: featured Insects of the Week in 2015 are available on the Insect of the Week page] 

This week’s Insects of the Week are tachinids, and ichneumonidae. The adult tachinid will feed on flower nectar, honeydew from aphids, scales, and mealybugs. The tachinid, Athrycia cinerea (Coq.), is a parasitoid of the Bertha armyworm. Ichneumonidae adults also eat nectar and aphid honeydow, however, its larvae (Banchus flavescens, Cresson) are parasitoids of Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, and some spiders. 

For more information about these parasitoids, the other pests they control and other important crop and forage insects, see the new Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada – Identification and Management Field Guide for identification, life cycle and conservation options (download links for field guide available on the Insect of the Week page).

Ichneumonid – adult (Banchus flavescens). © John Gavloski, Manitoba Agriculture

Tachinid- adult. © Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development


Weekly Update

This week, Staff at Saskatoon and Beaverlodge are surveying.  The Weekly Update will be available Friday morning.

Tip: If we’re surveying in fields, you should be too!

Weekly Update

Greetings!


All our Staff are surveying
so a brief version of the Weekly Update is provided for the week of July 6th!


A downloadable PDF version of the complete Weekly Update for Week 10 (July 6, 2016) can be accessed here.  


This edition includes the “Insect of the Week” featuring beneficial arthropods in 2016!


Subscribe to the Blog by following the instructions posted here!  You can receive automatic updates in your inbox through the growing season.



Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please e-mail either Dr. Owen Olfert or Jennifer Otani.  Past “Weekly Updates” are very kindly archived to the Western Forum website by webmaster, Dr. Kelly Turkington.  

Weekly Update – Weather Synopsis

Staff are busy surveying so some maps are not available this week.

The map below reflects the Accumulated Precipitation for the Growing Season so far for the prairie provinces (i.e., May 1-June 30, 2016):



The updated growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – July 3, 2016) is below:



While the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – July 3, 2016) is below:



The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Growers may wish to bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.

Weekly Update – Alfalfa weevil

Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) – Please refer to earlier posts to find information related to the appearance, damage and biology of this insect pest.  



Updated – Degree-day maps of base 9°C are now being produced by Soroka, Olfert, and Giffen (2016) using the Harcourt/North Dakota models.  The aim or the modelling is to predict the development of Alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) across the prairies and to help growers time their in-field scouting as second-instar larvae are predicted to occur.  Compare the following predicted development stages and degree-day values copied below (Soroka 2015) to the map below.




For the week of July 3, 2016, the following map predicts the developmental stages for alfalfa weevil and corresponding degree-days.  Areas highlighted orange are predicted to find fourth instar larvae.



Economic thresholds for Alfalfa weevil (adapted from Soroka 2015) vary by crop type (hay or seed), area fed upon and larval densities.

In hay fields, forage losses can be economic if one or more of the following symptoms are noted:
● if 25-50 % of the leaves on the upper one-third of the stem show damage, or
● if 50-70% of the terminals are injured, or
● if 1 to 3 third or fourth instar larvae occur per stem (with shorter stems having lower economic thresholds and 3 or more larvae requiring treatment no matter what the alfalfa height), or 
● 20-30 larvae per sweep occur when 12% leaf loss is acceptable.
● Also consider these two points:
      1. Early cutting of the first growth of alfalfa or insecticide treatment will reduce alfalfa weevil populations.
      2. If the hay crop value is high and weevil injury is seen or 2 or more larvae per stem reappear in regrowth after cutting, insecticide may be necessary (if a second cut is anticipated). 

In alfalfa seed fields:
● Economic thresholds are 20-25 third to fourth instar larvae per sweep or 35-50% of the foliage tips showing damage. 
● Thresholds increase with the height of the alfalfa, and decrease in drought conditions. 
● Also know that several small wasps parasitize alfalfa weevil larvae and adults, and in the past these natural control agents kept the weevil in check in most years. One of these wasps, Bathyplectes curculionis (Thomson), parasitizes alfalfa weevil in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and is now found in Manitoba.

Weekly Update – Cereal leaf beetle

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) – Reminder – Please refer to earlier posts for information
related to the biology, damage and monitoring of the Cereal leaf beetle.



Cereal leaf beetle larvae hatch from eggs in about 5 days and feed for about 3 weeks, passing through 4 growth stages (instars). The head and legs are brownish-black; the body is yellowish. Larvae are usually covered with a secretion of mucus and fecal material, giving them a shiny black, wet appearance (Fig. 1).  When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil.  The pupal stage lasts 2 – 3 weeks. Adult beetles emerge and feed for a couple of weeks before seeking overwintering sites. There is one generation per year.

Figure 1.  Larval stage of Oulema melanopus with characteristic feeding damage visible on leaf.


Monitoring:
Give priority to following factors when selecting monitoring sites:
   □ Choose fields and sections of the fields with past or present damage symptoms.
   □ Choose fields that are well irrigated (leaves are dark green in color), including young, lush crops. Areas of a field that are under stress and not as lush (yellow) are less likely to support CLB. 
   □ Monitor fields located along riparian corridors, roads and railroads. 
   □ Survey field areas that are close to brush cover or weeds, easy to access, or are nearby sheltered areas such as hedge rows, forest edges, fence lines, etc.

Focus your site selection on the following host plant priorities:
   □ First – winter wheat. If no winter wheat is present then;
   □ Second – other cereal crops (barley, wheat, oats, and rye). If no cereal crops are present then;
   □ Third – hay crops. If no hay crops or cereal crops are present then;
   □ Fourth – ditches and water corridors
Sweep-net Sampling for Adults and Larvae:
 ● A sweep is defined as a one pass (from left to right, executing a full 180 degrees) through the upper foliage of the crop using a 37.5 cm diameter sweep-net. 
 ● A sample is defined as 100 sweeps taken at a moderate walking pace collected 4-5 meters inside the border of a field.  
 ● At each site, four samples should be collected, totaling 400 sweeps per site.  The contents of each sample should be visually inspected for life stages of CLB and all suspect specimens should be retained for identification.  
 ● Because the CLB larvae are covered in a sticky secretion, they are often covered in debris and are very difficult to see within a sweep-net sample. 
 ● To help determine the presence of CLB, place the contents of the sweep net into a large plastic bag for observation.

Visual Inspection:
Both the adults and larvae severely damage plants by chewing out long strips of tissue between the veins of leaves (Fig. 1), leaving only a thin membrane. When damage is extensive, leaves turn whitish. 

Fact sheets for CLB are published by the province of Alberta and available from the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Also access the Oulema melanopus page from the new “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide”.

Weekly Update – Previous Posts

The following is a list of previous 2016 Posts – click to review:


Crop reports

Cereal leaf beetle

Bertha armyworm development and flight
Grasshoppers
Swede midge
Canola scouting chart
Wind trajectories
Cutworms
Flea beetles in canola
Predicted cereal leaf beetle development
Predicted lygus bug development
Predicted wheat midge development
Pea leaf weevil monitoring
Crop protection guides
Using Environment Canada’s radar maps to follow precipitation events
Iceburg reports
Multitude of mayflies

Monarch migration

Weekly Update – Wheat midge

Wheat Midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana) – Predictive modelling will be used again to help  forecast wheat midge emergence across the Canadian prairies.  The map below predicts the geographic distribution and corresponding accumulation of heat units necessary for wheat midge to emerge from puparia developing in the soil.  

Insect of the Week – Blister beetles

The blister beetle (Lytta nuttalli Say and Epicauta spp.)  is this week’s Insect of the Week  (from the new Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada – Identification and Management Field Guide – download links available on the Insect of the Week page).