Weekly Update

Week 3 and scouting continues for cutworms, flea beetles and wireworms plus there’s more information this week to help prepare for in-field scouting. Be sure to catch the Insect of the Week – it’s wireworms!

Now, more than ever, we wish everyone a safe and productive field season! Stay Safe!

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

Weekly Wind Trajectory Report for May 20

Access background information for how and why wind trajectories are monitored in this post.

1. REVERSE TRAJECTORIES (RT)
Since May 1, 2021 the majority of reverse trajectories that have crossed the prairies originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon and Washington). This week there have been an increasing number of reverse trajectories that moved north from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas and Nebraska (Fig. 1). Though these US regions can be a source of diamondback moths, the ECCC models predict air movement, not actual occurrence of diamondback moths. It should also be noted that host plants of diamondback moth include all plants in the Brassicacea family, including cruciferous weeds and volunteer canola. These plants are suitable hosts until canola emerges.

Figure 1. The average number (based on a 5 day running average) of reverse trajectories that have crossed the prairies for
the period of May 1- 20, 2021.

a. Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington) – This week there have been 44 trajectories (27 last week) that have crossed Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. The majority of Pacific Northwest reverse trajectories usually have been reported to pass over southern Alberta. This growing season, PNW trajectories have crossed all of the prairies (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) and have
crossed the prairies between March 24 and May 20, 2021.

b. Mexico and southwest USA (Texas, California) – This week there have been 15 trajectories that originated in Mexico and the southwestern US that have crossed Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

c. Oklahoma and Texas – This week there have been 16 trajectories that have passed over Manitoba and Saskatchewan (Fig. 3) that originated in Oklahoma or Texas. These are the first trajectories, that originated over Oklahoma and Texas, to enter the prairies during the month of May.

Figure 3. The total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over Oklahoma and Texas and have crossed the
prairies between March 24 and May 20, 2021.

d. Kansas and Nebraska – This week there have been 35 trajectories (8 last week) that originated in Kansas or Nebraska that have passed over Manitoba and Saskatchewan (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. The total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over Kansas and Nebraska and have crossed the
prairies between March 24 and May 20, 2021.

2. FORWARD TRAJECTORIES (FT)
a. Forward trajectories, originating from Mexico and USA, have crossed a number of prairie locations since May 1, 2021. This week, there has been a steady increase in the number of trajectories that are predicted to cross the prairies (Fig. 5). The dates on the graph report when the trajectories originated in the USA (blue bars). These trajectories generally require 3-5 days to enter the prairies (red line). The data suggests that, compared to this week, there may be increased potential for the introduction of DBM to the prairies.

Figure 5. The average number (based on a 5 day running average) of forward trajectories that have crossed the
Canadian prairies for the period of May 1- 20, 2021.

The following map presents the total number of forward trajectories that have crossed the Canadian prairies (since March 24, 2021) (Fig. 6). Results indicate that the greatest number of forward trajectories entering Canada originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington).

Figure 6. The total number of dates with forward trajectories, originating from various regions of the United States and
Mexico, crossed the prairies between March 24 and May 20, 2021.

Earlier in the week, an Alert related to wind trajectories assessed over May 18-19, 2021, was shared by the PPMN. It communicated the anticpated arrival of several air masses arriving across the Canadian prairies over the next few days that originated from multiple areas of USA. Remember, the current WEEKLY REPORT (above) summarizes daily data over a longer, more comprehensive period.

Weather synopsis

TEMPERATURE: This past week the average temperature across the prairies was 2.5 °C warmer than normal (Fig. 1). Temperatures were warmest across the Parkland region in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

Figure 1. 7-day average temperature (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of May 10-16, 2021.

The prairie-wide average 30-day temperature (April 17- May 16) was 0.9 °C less than climate normal values. A region from Winnipeg to Saskatoon has been 2 to 4 °C cooler than average. Temperatures have been warmest across southern Alberta (Table 1; Fig. 2).

Figure 2. 30-day average temperature (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 17-May 16, 2021.

The 2021 growing season (April 1 – May 16) has been characterized by near normal temperatures. Warmest temperatures were observed in a region between Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Edmonton while coolest temperatures were reported from Manitoba (Table 2; Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Growing season average temperature (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 1-May 16, 2021.

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5 ºC, April 1-May 2, 2021) is provided below (Fig. 4) while the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10 ºC, April 1-August 9, 2020) is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 4. Growing degree day map (Base 5 °C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-May 17, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (19May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true
Figure 5. Growing degree day map (Base 10 °C) observed across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-May 17, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (19May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

At this early point in the growing season, cool temperatures pose the risk of frost but the differences between low and high temperatures can exert stress on plants, particularly when field conditions are dry. The lowest temperatures recorded ranged from <-8 to >6 °C (Fig. 6) while the highest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days ranged from <3 to >28 °C (Fig. 7).

Figure 6. Lowest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (May 12-18, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (19May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true
Figure 7. Highest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (May 12-18, 2021).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (19May2021). Access the full map at https://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

PRECIPITATION: Seven-day cumulative rainfall amounts indicate that most of the prairies had less than 2 mm of rain in the past week (Fig. 8). Rainfall amounts for the period of April 17-May 16 (30-day accumulation) were 56 % of long-term average values. Rainfall was greatest for southwestern Saskatchewan and across most of Alberta (Table 1; Fig. 9).

Figure 8 . 7-day cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of May 10-16, 2021.
Figure 9. 30 day cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 17-May 16, 2021.

Average growing season (April 1 – May 16) precipitation has been well below average for most of the prairies (35 % less than normal). Saskatoon has reported 4.3 mm (15 % of normal) and most of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have had less than 15 mm (40 % of normal precipitation) (Table 1; Fig. 10).

Figure 10. Growing season cumulative rainfall (mm) observed across the Canadian prairies for the period of April 1-May 16, 2021.

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

Access ALL the PPMN’s Wind Trajectory reports (Weekly and Daily).

Access Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather radar mapping interface. Options to access preceding precipitation events include clicking off either an 1 or 3 hours time interval, using an 8-colour or 14-colour index. or changing the base map.

Pea leaf weevil

The pea leaf weevil is a slender greyish-brown insect measuring approximately 5 mm in length (Fig. 1, Left image). Pea leaf weevil resembles the sweet clover weevil (Sitona cylindricollis) but the former is distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down thorax and sometimes the abdomen.  All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout.  

Figure 1.  Comparison images and descriptions of four Sitona species adults including pea leaf weevil (AAFC-Otani).

Adults will feed upon the leaf margins and growing points of legume seedlings (alfalfa, clover, dry beans, faba beans, peas) and produce a characteristic, scalloped (notched) edge (Fig. 2).  Females lay their eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.

Figure 2. Examples of adult pea leaf weevil damage on field pea seedlings, (A) seedling with notches on all nodes, (B) stereotypical crescent shaped notches on the leaf margin, (C) clam or terminal leaf of the pea seedling with arrows indicating the feeding notches.
All photos courtesy of Dr. L. Dosdall.

Larvae develop under the soil and are “C” shaped and milky-white with a dark-brown head capsule ranging in length from 3.5-5.5 mm (Figure 3).  Larvae develop through five instar stages.  After hatching, larvae seek and enter the roots of a pea plant.  Larvae will enter and consume the contents of the nodules of the legume host plant. It is the nodules that are responsible for nitrogen-fixation which affect yield plus the plant’s ability to input nitrogen into the soil. Consumption of or damage to the nodules (Figure 4) results in partial or complete inhibition of nitrogen fixation by the plant and results in poor plant growth and low seed yields.

Figure 3. Larva of pea leaf weevil in soil (Photo: L. Dosdall).
Figure 4. Damaged pea nodules (Photo: L. Dosdall).

Biological and monitoring information related to pea leaf weevil in field crops is posted by the province of Alberta and in the PPMN monitoring protocol. Also access the Pea leaf weevil page from the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management field guide. (en français : Guide d’identification des ravageurs des grandes cultures et des cultures fourragères et de leurs ennemis naturels et mesures de lutte applicables à l’Ouest canadien).

Cereal leaf beetle development

The cereal leaf beetle (CLB) model output predicts that oviposition is underway across the prairies. The graphs provide a comparison of development at Saskatoon (Fig. 1) and at Lacombe (Fig. 2). The simulation indicates that first instar larvae may occur during the third week of May near Saskatoon and one week later at Lacombe.

Figure 1. Predicted status of cereal leaf beetle populations near Saskatoon, SK as of May 16, 2021 (projected to May 31, 2021).
Figure 2. Predicted status of cereal leaf beetle populations near Lacombe, AB as of May 16, 2021 (projected to May 31, 2021).

Lifecycle and Damage:

Adult: Adult cereal leaf beetles (CLB) have shiny bluish-black wing covers (Fig. 3). The thorax and legs are light orange-brown. Females (4.9 to 5.5 mm) are slightly larger than males (4.4 to 5 mm). Adult beetles overwinter in and along the margins of grain fields in protected places such as in straw stubble, under crop and leaf litter, and in the crevices of tree bark. They favour sites adjacent to shelterbelts, deciduous and conifer forests. They emerge in the spring once temperatures reach 10-15 ºC and the adults are active for about 6 weeks. They usually begin feeding on grasses, then move into winter cereals and later into spring cereals.  

Figure 3. Adult Oulema melanopus measure 4.4-5.5 mm long (Photo: M. Dolinski).

Egg: Eggs are laid approximately 14 days following the emergence of the adults. Eggs are laid singly or in pairs along the midvein on the upper side of the leaf and are cylindrical, measuring 0.9 mm by 0.4 mm, and yellowish in colour. Eggs darken to black just before hatching.  

Larva: The larvae hatch 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. 4).  When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil. 

Figure 4.  Larval stage of Oulema melanopus with characteristic feeding damage visible on leaf (Photo: M. Dolinski).

Pupa: Pupal colour varies from a bright yellow when it is first formed, to the colour of the adult just before emergence. 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.

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 “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (2018; accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Alfalfa weevil predicted development

Model simulations for alfalfa weevil (AAW) predict that oviposition should be well underway across the prairies. The following graphs indicate that development is similar near Swift Current (Fig. 1) and Brandon (Fig. 2). The model predicts that that hatch may occur during the last week of May.

Figure 1. Projected predicted status of alfalfa weevil populations near Swift Current SK as of May 16, 2021 (projected to May 31, 2021).
Figure 2. Projected predicted status of alfalfa weevil populations near Brandon MB as of May 16, 2021 (projected to May 31, 2021).

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 in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted grasshopper development

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).  

Model simulations were used to estimate percent grasshopper egg development as of May 16, 2021. Average development of eggs is 68 % and is well ahead of the long term average of 59 %. Since last week, developmental rates have increased at all locations (Fig. 1). The simulation predicts that development is greatest in the region that includes Regina, Saskatoon and Lethbridge (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted percent embryonic development of grasshopper eggs across the Canadian prairies as of May 16, 2021.
Figure 2. Predicted grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) embryological development across the Canadian prairies as of May 16, 2021.

Recent warm temperatures near Winnipeg have resulted in faster development rates. The model was projected to May 31 to determine potential development at Saskatoon and Regina (Figs. 3 and 4). Results suggest that initial hatch may occur in the next few days with increased hatch occurring in late May. Current drought conditions tend to favour development of grasshopper populations while delaying crop development. Crop development may be delayed across southern and central regions of Saskatchewan. This may result in conditions conducive for crop damage from grasshoppers as hatch progresses in late May and early June.

Figure 3. Projected predicted development of M. sanguinipes populations near Regina SK as of May 16, 2021 (projected to May 31, 2021).
Figure 4. Projected predicted development of M. sanguinipes populations near Saskatoon SK as of May 16, 2021 (projected to May 31, 2021).

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

Ladybird beetles

Early in the growing season many of the native and introduced species of ladybird beetles become active and are easily observed (Fig. 1). These adults give rise to a whole new legion of voracious larvae and adults so preserve and protect them in fields – it could pay off!

Figure 1. Ladybird beetle (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) hunting on wheat head (photo: AAFC-Otani).

Coccinellids are recognized as general predators with a real taste for aphids. Many species exist in North America but introduced species (either released or adventively establishing on this continent) have displaced many native species. With such a fantastic array of colours, sizes, shapes, and spots, we’re providing a few resources to help you recognize the amazing diversity in fields:
● Access “Bug Guide” and their entries falling within the Family Coccinellidae.
● “Key to the lady beetles of Saskatchewan“, released by D.J. Larson in 2013 – a technical key that includes colour photos of ladybird beetle adults. Species included in this key will most closely resemble what’s present across the Canadian prairies.
● “Ladybugs of South Dakota” is a PDF visual example of several species of coccinellids, some of which will also occur on the Canadian prairies. The poster was produced in conjunction with the “Lost Ladybug Project” and other supporting institutions.
● Consider participating in citizen-science – the Lost Ladybug Project has been in place for many years but the group welcomes reports of coccinellids from anywhere in North America and helps identify from submitted photos. The goal is to keep track of native species in comparison to the helpful but fairly competitive introduced species like Coccinella semptempunctata or Harmonia axyridis (Pallas).
● The Canadian portal of iNaturalist.ca was launched in 2015 and is connected to iNaturalist.org but the premise is the same: By signing up and submitting photos with relevant brief observations (e.g., date, location, e-contact info), users can communicate online with creditable and knowledgeable resources that help identify flora and fauna. Watch their YouTube video to learn more. Download the App (Android Google Play OR iOS App Store).

FYI…. CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium entries contain more information about our most common introduced species of ladybird beetles in North America:
Coccinella septempunctata (seven-spot ladybird)
Harmonia axyridis (asian or harlequin ladybird)

Scouting charts for canola and flax

Reminder – Field scouting is critical – it enables the identification of potential risks to crops. Accurate identification of insect pests PLUS the application of established monitoring methods will enable growers to make informed pest management decisions.

We offer TWO generalized insect pest scouting charts to aid in-field scouting on the Canadian prairies:

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART (click chart to access downloadable PDF copy)

 2. FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART(click chart to access downloadable PDF copy)

These charts feature hyperlinks directing growers to downloadable PDF pages with photos within the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada: Identification and management field guide“.

Whenever possible, monitor and compare pest densities to established economic or action thresholds to protect and preserve pollinators and beneficial arthropods. Economic thresholds, by definition, help growers avoid crop losses related to outbreaking insect pest species.

Field heroes

The Field Heroes campaign continues to raise awareness of the role of beneficial insects in western Canadian crops. Check the recently updated Field Heroes website for scouting guides, downloadable posters, and videos. Learn about these important organisms at work in your fields!  

Two NEW Field Heroes resources for 2021 include:

  1. The NEW Pests and Predators Field Guide is filled with helpful images for quick insect identification and plenty of tips to manage the pests AND natural enemies in your fields. Claim your free copy at http://fieldheroes.ca/fieldguide/ or download for free to arm your in-field scouting efforts!
  2. Real Agriculture went live in 2021 with Season 2 of the Pest and Predators podcast series!
    NEWEpisode 10Good bugs relocate for work (June 1, 2021)
    Episode 9Secret agents in the stubble (May 18, 2021)
    Episode 8Good vs pea leaf weEVIL (May 4, 2021)
    Episode 7Powerful parasitoids: Better than fiction (April 20, 2021)
    Recap of SEASON 1: Episode 1 – Do you know your field heroes? Episode 2 – An inside look at the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Episode 3 – How much can one wasp save you? Episode 4 – Eat and be eaten — grasshoppers as pests and food Episode 5 – Killer wasp has only one target — wheat stem sawfly Episode 6 – Plentiful parasitoids

Access ALL the Field Heroes links here and be sure to follow @FieldHeroes!

Crop protection guides

Access the following links to gain important pesticide application information and registered products for agricultural field crop protection on the Canadian prairies:
Saskatchewan’s Crop Protection Guide – 2021
Manitoba’s Guide to Crop Protection 2021
Alberta’s 2021 Crop Protection or Blue Book
Western Committee on Crop Pests Guide to Integrated Control of Insect Pests of Crops

Provincial insect pest report links

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

MANITOBA’S Crop Pest Updates for 2021 are now available! Access the May 19, 2021, report here. Be sure to bookmark their Crop Pest Update Index to readily access these reports! Also bookmark their insect pest homepage to access fact sheets and more!

Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for MB Refer to the summary updated twice a week. So far extremely low numbers have been intercepted at only 8 sites (e.g., when present, only max. of 2 moths per site) in Manitoba. Read the details towards the end of the May 19, 2021, report.

SASKATCHEWAN’S Crop Production News will soon be available. Access the new Crops Blog Posts and review Saskatchewan’s 2020 insect pest surveying results in order to prepare for 2021. Be sure to bookmark their insect pest homepage to access important information!

Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for SK – follow this link to find current DBM counts. At this point, extremely low numbers have been intercepted but monitoring continues. Two moths were reported (2021May13 Tansey, pers. comm.); one moth near Shaunavon (RM78) and one moth near Raymore (RM 278).

•  ALBERTA’S Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network webpage links to insect survey maps, live feed maps, and insect trap set-up videos and more. Reminder – NEW for 2021 – AAF’s Shelley Barkley has gathered and streamlined information into a Major Crops Insect webpage. The new webpage does not replace the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network page. However, the new Major Crops Insect webpage serves as a table of contents, connecting users to crop insect pest information on alberta.ca. It offers links to specific insect identification, life cycle, damage, monitoring and management. Users will hopefully find pertinent insect information with fewer clicks! Remember, AAF’s Agri-News occasionally includes insect-related information or Twitter users can connect to #ABBugChat Wednesdays at 10:00 am.

Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Refer to the Live Map which reports six sites with very low numbers of moths intercepted (as of 19May2021).

Cutworm reporting tool for AB – Refer to the Live Map which reports two sites with cutworms (as of 20May2021).

Crop report links

Click the provincial name below to link to online crop reports produced by:
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development (subscribe to receive OR access a PDF copy of the May 18, 2021 report).
Saskatchewan Agriculture (or access a PDF copy of the May 11-17, 2021 report).
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (or access a PDF copy of the May 11, 2021 report).

The following crop reports are also available:
• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces a Crop Progress Report (access a PDF copy of the May 17, 2021 edition).
• The USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (access a PDF copy of the May 18, 2021 edition).

ALERT – Wind Trajectory Report for May 19

Access background information for how and why wind trajectories are monitored in this earlier post.

Alert: Yesterday and today ECCC models produced results that suggest a number of RT’s for prairie locations. Compared to previous dates, the ECCC model output predicts that trajectories are passing almost the entire prairie region over a very short period of time. The weather forecast may result in downward movement of DBM.

Details: There has been a significant increase in the number of trajectories, originating over a number of states in the USA, that have crossed the prairies (Fig. 1). These air currents may introduce diamondback moths to the prairies. ECCC trajectory models indicate that air trajectories, originating over the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington), have crossed Alberta, Saskatchewan and western Manitoba (Fig. 2). Trajectories originating over Texas and Oklahoma have passed over eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Fig. 3). A third group of trajectories, originating across Kansas and Nebraska have also crossed eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Fig. 4).

Though these US regions can be a source of diamondback moths, the ECCC models predict air movement, not actual occurrence of diamondback moths. It should also be noted that host plants of diamondback moth include all plants in the Brassicaceae family, including cruciferous weeds and volunteer canola. These plants are suitable hosts until canola emerges.

Action: The ECCC model output predicts that trajectories are passing almost the entire prairie region over a very short period of time. Areas highlighted in green in Figures 2, 3, and 4 of this alert may receive downward movement of DBM very shortly. The presence of any Brassicaceae plant will provide a host for incoming DBM so scout volunteers and emerging canola. If DBM were carried north on air currents it may take a few days for DBM to show up in traps.

Figure 1. Summary of the average number (5 day running average) of reverse trajectories that have crossed the Canadian prairies (May 1-19, 2021) 
Figure 2. The green region indicates the potential for introduction of diamondback moths from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) to the Canadian prairies (May 18-19, 2021).
Figure 3. The green region indicates the potential for introduction of diamondback moths from Texas and Oklahoma to
the Canadian prairies (May 18-19, 2021).
Figure 4. The green region indicates the potential for introduction of diamondback moths from Kansas and Nebraska to the Canadian prairies (May 18-19, 2021).

PRAIRIE GRAIN WIREWORM CAN TAKE A BITE OUT OF CROP YIELDS

This week’s instalment is a sneak peak at the soon-to-be published manual “Field Guide of Pest Wireworms in Canadian Prairie Crop Production,” written by Haley Catton, Wim van Herk, Julien Saguez, and Erl Svendsen! (stay tuned to this channel)

Wireworms are soil-dwelling insects that have challenged crop production on the Canadian Prairies since farming began in this region. They damage crops by feeding on seeds, roots or lower stems of almost all field crops, and are especially damaging to cereals. Since wireworms are often the only reason growers use insecticide-treated seed in cereals on the Prairies, understanding more about these pests can save costs and reduce unnecessary pesticide use.

Despite their common name and worm-like appearance, wireworms are not actually “worms.” Rather, they are the larval stage of a group of beetles called click beetles (Elateridae family). Their “clicking” is a defensive behaviour that when placed on their backs, projects them up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) or more into the air to escape danger and literally get them back on their legs

Selatosomus aeripennis destructor, or the Prairie grain wireworm, is the largest of Prairie pest wireworms, reaching up to 23 millimetres (1 inch). It is hard-bodied, segmented and yellowish in colour, with three pairs of legs. Adults are 8-13 mm long, black, hairless and have distinct hind angles.

More information about these pests (lifecycle, damage, control options, etc.) and others is available in the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management field guide. (en français : Guide d’identification des ravageurs des grandes cultures et des cultures fourragères et de leurs ennemis naturels et mesures de lutte applicables à l’Ouest canadien). Biological and monitoring information related to wireworms in field crops is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Prairie grain wireworm, larva. Photo: J. Saguez, CÉROM
Prairie grain wireworm, adult (click beetle). Photo: J. Saguez, CÉROM

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.

Access the 2020 Wind Trajectory Reportsfor the first WEEKLY REPORT (11 May 2020).

New – Review the DAILY REPORT (released 15May2020).

Weekly Update

A bit of sun, some snow, some rain, a bit too hot and still too cold in other areas – typical spring weather for our prairie producers!

This week the incredible team working to provide weather-related data for PPMN forecasting is coping with technical difficulties so several of the normal updates are not available but stay tuned!

Access information to support your in-field insect monitoring efforts in the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 3 OR  a downloadable PDF.

Stay Safe!

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

Wheat Pests / Feature Entomologist: Dr. Meghan Vankosky

This week’s Insect of the Week feature crop is wheat (durum, spring and winter) and Dr. Meghan Vankosky is our starring entomologist.

Wheat is King on the Prairies and has been since the early 1900s (with recent rivalry for top spot by canola, the Queen of the Prairies). There are many challenges to overcome: droughts, pests, soils and agronomy and scientists and extension specialists have been working alongside farmers to improve the genetics, production practices, equipment and infrastructure. In 2019, despite weather challenges, the area seeded to wheat and the harvest remains impressive:

Area Seeded

Durum:  1,980,200 hectares (4,893,400 acres)
Spring wheat 7,443,500 hectares (18,393,300 acres)
Winter wheat 91,000 hectares (224,900 acres)
Total: 9,514,700 hectares (23,511,600 acres)

Production

Durum: 4,977,000 tonnes (182,872,000 bushels)
Spring wheat: 25,111,000 tonnes (922,672,000 bushels)
Winter wheat: 265,100 tonnes (9,705,000 bushels)
Total: 30,352,100 tonnes (1,115,249,000 bushels)

There are over 30 economic wheat pests. Identification, monitoring and scouting protocols, and management options are found in the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management and the Cutworm Pests of Crop on the Canadian Prairies: Identification and Management Field guide. More detailed protocols exist for some of the pests. In the case of cereal aphids (English, oat-bird cherry, greenbug), AAFC developed the Cereal Aphid Manager app to help with identification and management decisions.

Wheat Pests
  • Army cutworm
  • Armyworm
  • Aster leafhopper
  • Black grass bugs
  • Brown marmorated stink bug
  • Brown wheat mite
  • Cereal leaf beetle
  • Chinch bug
  • Corn leaf aphid
  • Darksided cutworm
  • Dingy cutworm
  • English grain aphid
  • Fall armyworm
  • Fall field cricket
  • Glassy cutworm
  • Grasshoppers
  • Green-tan grass bugs
  • Greenbugs
  • Haanchen barley mealybug
  • Hessian fly
  • Mormon cricket
  • Oat-birdcherry aphid
  • Pale western cutworm
  • Redbacked cutworm
  • Rice leaf bug
  • Russian leaf aphid
  • Say stink bug
  • Variegated cutworm
  • Wheat curl mite
  • Wheat head armyworm
  • Wheat midge
  • Wheat stem maggot
  • Wheat stem sawfly
  • Wireworms
Wheat midge – Dr. Bob Elliot, AAFC

ENTOMOLOGIST OF THE WEEK: Meghan Vankosky

Name: Meghan Vankosky
Affiliation: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Contact Information: meghan.vankosky@agr.gc.ca, @vanbugsky

How do you contribute in insect monitoring or surveillance on the Prairies? 

I am a co-chair of the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. In addition to participating in insect monitoring of cabbage seedpod weevil, pea leaf weevil, and grasshoppers, I help provide supplies for diamondback moth, swede midge, and bertha armyworm monitoring across the prairies. In addition to the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network, I am involved with the Canadian Plant Health Council in the Surveillance Working Group and a member of the new AAFC Prairie Biovigilance Network.

In your opinion, what is the most interesting field crop pest on the Prairies?

The pea leaf weevil is very interesting. I started researching pest management options for pea leaf weevil during my MSc program in 2008. We are still working on this pest and learning so much about it. I like working with this species because it is usually easy to find specimens for lab work, they are fairly large (by insect standards) which makes them easy to handle, and I have to admit that they are kind of cute – for a pest. 

What is your favourite beneficial insect? 

Parasitoids in general are very cool. I spent a year in southern California working on a biological control program for Asian citrus psyllid. During that time, I worked with two parasitoids and studied how they interact with each other and their host. Of the two, I worked most with Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis. It is an endoparsitoid that lays its eggs inside its host and kills the host from the inside out. There are many interesting parasitoids on the prairies that help manage field crop pests and I look forward learning more about them.

Tell us about an important project you are working on right now. 

I just finished two projects (co-led by Dr. Boyd Mori) studying the newly discovered canola flower midge (Contarinia brassicola). We are currently working on writing papers to describe our work, but in three years we learned a great deal about the distribution of this insect in western Canada, its development, population genetics, and potential impact on canola production. 

What tools, platforms, etc. do you use to communicate with your stakeholders? 

I use the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network Blog (soon to be website), Twitter, and extension events to communicate research and insect monitoring results. I am getting better about using Twitter, both in terms of posting and replying, and am looking forward to helping with #abbugchat in 2020.

Weekly Update

Greetings!

We shift back into the more traditional end of the week release of the “Weekly Update”.  

Thanks to David Giffen and Ross Weiss (AAFC-Saskatoon) who again have begun to stream data that enables the generation of the various predictive model updates on a weekly basis throughout the growing season.  This week, their efforts include pea leaf weevil, alfalfa weevil, and grasshopper predictive model outputs.

Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 3 (April 26, 2019) OR a downloadable PDF version.

Good luck with your 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!

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. 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. We receive two types of model output from ECCC: reverse trajectories and forward trajectories.

‘Reverse trajectories’ (RT) refer to air currents that are tracked back in time from specified Canadian locations over a five-day period prior to their arrival date.  Of particular interest are those trajectories that, prior to their arrival in Canada, originated over northwestern and southern USA and Mexico, anywhere diamondback moth populations overwinter and adults are actively migrating.  If diamondback adults are present in the air currents that originate from these southern locations, the moths may be deposited on the Prairies at sites along the trajectory, depending on the local weather conditions at the time that the trajectories pass over our area (e.g. rain showers, etc.). Reverse trajectories are the best available estimate of the ”true” 3D wind fields at a specific point. They are based on observations, satellite and radiosonde data.

‘Forward trajectories’ (FT) have a similar purpose; however, the modelling process begins at sites in USA & Mexico. The model output predicts the pathway of a trajectory. Again, of interest to us are the winds that eventually end up passing over the Prairies.

Ross Weiss (AAFC), Meghan Vankosky (AAFC) and Serge Trudel (ECCC)

DATE: APRIL 24, 2019

Reverse trajectories (RT)

a. Pacific Northwest (PNW) – For the period of April 17-23, 2019, there have been 55 RT’s (originating over ID, OR and WA) that have crossed over prairie locations (Figs. 1 and 2).  By comparison, for the period of April  10-16, 2019, there were 31 RT’s. The majority PNW RT’s have been reported to pass over southern AB.  Since March 23rd, Lethbridge AB has reported the highest number of PNW RT’s (n=20), Beiseker AB  (n=15) and Gainsborough SK (n=11).

Figure 1.  Daily total number of reverse trajectories originating over ID, OR, and WA that have crossed the prairies.
Figure 2. Total number of dates with PNW reverse trajectories originating over ID, OR, and WA that have crossed the prairies (since March 23, 2019).

b. Mexico and SW USA (TX, CA) – No trajectories, originating over Mexico or southwest USA have crossed the prairies for the period of April 17-23, 2019. Since March 23, 2019 there have been 5 reverse trajectories that originated over Mexico, CA and TX. All five occurred on April 7, 2019.

c. Texas and Oklahoma – No trajectories, originating over TX or OK have crossed the prairies for the period of April 17-23, 2019.  Since March 23, 2019 there have been 18 reverse trajectories that have originated over OK and TX (Fig. 3). Most of these trajectories have crossed eastern SK and MB.

Figure 3.  Total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over OK and TX that have crossed the prairies (since March 23, 2019).

d. Nebraska and Kansas – No trajectories, originating over KS or NE have crossed the prairies for the period of April 17-23, 2019.  Since March 23, 2019 there have been 18 reverse trajectories that have originated over KS and NE (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Total number of dates with reverse trajectories originating over KS and NE that have crossed the prairies (since March 23, 2019).

In a continuing effort to produce timely information, wind trajectory reports will be available both DAILY and WEEKLY:

Ticks and Lyme Disease

As the spring weather improves and people are active outdoors, remember to watch for ticks  Blacklegged (deer) ticks are important because they can carry Lyme Disease.  Continued surveillance activities conducted by Health Canada and the provinces remain important and you can help by identifying / removing / submitting your ticks!

Follow the links to learn more and to submit ticks if you live in British ColumbiaAlbertaSaskatchewanManitobaOntario, or Quebec.

Figure 1. Screenshot of Health Canada’s map of Lyme disease endemic and risk areas in Canada as of 2016 (retrieved 24Apr2019).

Previous Posts

The following is a list of 2019 Posts – click to review:

2019 Risk and forecast maps – Week 2

Wind trajectories – Week 2

Weather Synopsis

Weather synopsis – Temperatures (30 day average) have been warmest in southern AB and western SK. 

Rainfall (30 day accumulation) amounts have been well below average for most of the prairies. 

Percent of normal precipitation for the past 30 days (as of April 23, 2019) across the Canadian prairies.
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (24Apr2019).
Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

The soil moisture model indicates that soil moisture levels are low across most of southern and central AB and western SK. 

Pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– The PLW model was run for Lethbridge AB (Fig. 1) and Saskatoon SK (Fig. 2). Output suggests that PLW are beginning to become active. 

Figure 1. Predicted PLW phenology at  Lethbridge AB based on long term climate data.
Values are based on model simulations (April 1 – April 23, 2019).
Figure 2. Predicted PLW phenology at Saskatoon SK based on long term climate data.
Values are based on model simulations (April 1 – April 23, 2019).

Pea leaf weevils emerge in the spring primarily by flying (at temperatures above 17ºC) or they may walk short distances. Pea leaf weevil movement into peas and faba beans is achieved primarily through flight.  Adults are slender, greyish-brown measuring approximately 5 mm in length (Fig. 3, Left).  

The pea leaf weevil resembles the sweet clover weevil (Sitona cylindricollis) but the former is distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down thorax and sometimes the abdomen.  All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout.  

Figure 3  Comparison images and descriptions of four Sitona species adults including pea leaf weevil (Left).

Adults will feed upon the leaf margins and growing points of legume seedlings (alfalfa, clover, dry beans, faba beans, peas) and produce a characteristic, scalloped (notched) edge.  Females lay 1000 to 1500 eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.

Reminder – The risk map for pea leaf weevils was released in March 2019.  The map is based on the number of feeding notches observed in peas (Fig. 4).  

Figure 4. Estimates of pea leaf weevil (S. lineatus) densities based on feeding notches observed in peas grown in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2018.

Biological and monitoring information related to pea leaf weevil in field crops is posted by the province of Alberta and in the PPMN monitoring protocol.

Also refer to the pea leaf weevil page within the “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.  A review of this insect was published in 2011 in Prairie Soils and Crops by Carcamo and Vankosky.

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 (Hypera postica) across the prairies are updated weekly to help growers time their in-field scouting for second-instar larvae. Compare the following predicted development stages and degree-day values from Soroka (2015) to the map below (Fig. 1).  

Alfalfa weevil (AAW) model runs indicate that oviposition may have begun in fields near Swift Current SK.

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.

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).  

Model runs were conducted for Lethbridge AB and Saskatoon SK.  As of April 23, 2019, predicted development was 57% for both locations and is similar to long term average values. The following graph illustrates that gradual development has occurred during the past three weeks. Hatch is expected to occur in mid to late May.

More information can be found by accessing 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

Greetings!

Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 03 (May 24, 2018) OR downloadable PDF version.  Also review the “Insect of the Week” for Week 3!




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 – Across most of the prairies, weather conditions continue to be warmer and dryer than average. This past week (May 14-21, 2018), the average temperature was approximately 2 °C warmer than long-term average temperatures (Fig. 1).  The warmest weekly temperatures occurred across AB and west-central Saskatchewan. The 30-day average temperature (April 21-May 21) was 1-2 °C warmer than  long term average temperatures with the warmest conditions occurring the western half of the prairies (Fig. 2). 

Figure 1. Weekly (May 14 – May 21, 2018) average temperature (°C) .


Figure 2. 30-day (April 21 – May 21, 2018) average temperature (°C). 



Weekly precipitation was well below average and 30 day total rainfall is approximately 50% less than average (Figs. 3 and 4). Manitoba continues to be very dry, though this week southeast Manitoba did receive rainfall amounts that were greater than 30 mm. 

Figure 3.  Weekly (May 14 – 21, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).


Figure 4. 30 day  (April 21 – May 21, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).



The map below reflects the Highest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days (May 17-23, 2018) across the prairies. 


The map below reflects the Lowest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days (May 17-23, 2018) across the prairies. 


The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – May 21, 2018) is below:


The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºCMarch 1 – May 21, 2018) 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.

Wind trajectories

Background.  Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have been working together to study the potential of trajectories to deliver an early-warning system for the origin and destination of migratory invasive agricultural pests. 

We receive two types of model output from ECCC: reverse trajectories (RT) and forward trajectories (FT): 


(i) ‘Reverse trajectories’ (RT) refer to air currents that are tracked back in time from specified Canadian locations over a five-day period prior to their arrival date. 


(ii) ‘Forward trajectories’ (FT) have a similar purpose; however, the modelling process begins at sites in USA and Mexico. The model output predicts the pathway of a trajectory. Again, of interest are the winds that eventually end up passing over the Prairies. 

Current Data

Pacific Northwest (PNW) – The total number of RT’s from the Pacific Northwest of the United States, for the period between May 1 – 22, 2018, was n=67.  This was significantly less than in 2017 (n=226), as well as the long term average (n=166) (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Daily total number of reverse trajectories originating over the Pacific Northwest of
the United States that have entered the prairies (May 1-22, 2018).

Weather forecasts (7 day):

Cutworms

Cutworms (Noctuidae) – A field guide is now available to help growers scout and manage Cutworms!  Cutworm Pest of Crops is available for free in either English or French and is posted on the Cutworm Field Guide page!  Also be sure to check the Insect of the Week through May – it highlights cutworms.  

Several species of cutworms  can be present in fields.  They range in colour from shiny,  opaque, to tan, to brownish-red with chevron patterning.  Cutworm biology, species information, plus monitoring recommendations are available in the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s Cutworm Monitoring Protocol.  Also refer to Manitoba Agriculture cutworm fact sheet which includes action and economic thresholds for cutworms in several crops. 

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 later in the day when some cutworm species move above-ground to feed.  Start to dig below the soil surface (1-5 cm deep) near the base of a symptomatic plant or the adjacent healthy plant.  If the plant is well-established, check within the crown in addition to the adjacent soil.  The culprits could be wireworms or cutworms.  


The following page extracted from the new “Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies” (Floate 2017; Page 5) shows the seasonal occurrence of lifecycle stages for different species of cutworms.  To aid scouting, the seasonal chart outlines what time of year larvae of different pest species are present (i.e., when to scout) but it also describes larval feeding habit (i.e., where to look for them relative to the plant host). 









For Albertans….. If you find cutworms, please consider using the Alberta Pest Surveillance Network’s “2018 Cutworm Reporting Tool”.  Once data entry occurs, growers can view the live 2018 cutworm map which is updated daily (see below for the map retrieved May 24, 2018).


Flea beetles

Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Phyllotreta species) – Be on the lookout for flea beetle damage resulting from feeding on canola cotyledons but also on the stem.  Two species, Phyllotreta striolata and P. cruciferae, will feed on all cruciferous plants but they can cause economic levels of damage in canola during the seedling stages.


Remember, the Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is 25% of cotyledon leaf area consumed.  Watch for shot-hole feeding in seedling canola but also watch the growing point and stems of seedlings which are particularly vulnerable to flea beetle feeding.


Estimating flea beetle feeding damage can be challenging.  Using a visual guide to estimate damage can be helpful.  Canola Watch circulated this article but also use the two images (copied below for reference) produced by Dr. J. Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon)  – take it scouting!

Figure 1. Canola cotyledons with various percentages of leaf area consume owing to 
flea beetle feeding damage (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).

Figure 2.  Percent leaf area consumed by flea beetles feeding on canola seedlings 
(Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).


Refer to the flea beetle page from the “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 (Hypera postica) across the prairies are updated weekly to help growers time their in-field scouting for second-instar larvae. Compare the following predicted development stages and degree-day values from Soroka (2015) to the map below (Fig. 1).  


The AAW model runs suggest that oviposition should be well underway in southern Saskatchewan Larvae should be in the first and second instars.

Figure 1. Predicted development of alfalfa weevil as of May 21, 2018.

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.  



Use the photo below as a visual reference to identify alfalfa weevil larvae.  Note the white dorsal line, the tapered shape of the abdomen and the dark head capsule.



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.

Pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– The PLW model predicts that adult weevils should be out and that oviposition may be occurring in fields with emerging peas.  An example of PLW predicted phenology for Swift Current SK is presented in Figure 1. 

Figure 1. Predicted PLW phenology at Swift Current, SK. Values are based on model simulations,
for April 1 – May 21, 2018 (projected to July 1, 2018).



Pea leaf weevils emerge in the spring primarily by flying (at temperatures above 17ºC) or they may walk short distances. Pea leaf weevil movement into peas and faba beans is achieved primarily through flight.  Adults are slender, greyish-brown measuring approximately 5 mm in length (Fig. 2, Left).  

The pea leaf weevil resembles the sweet clover weevil (Sitona cylindricollis) but the former is distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down thorax and sometimes the abdomen.  All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout.  


Figure 2.  Comparison images and descriptions of four Sitona species adults including pea leaf weevil (Left).


Adults will feed upon the leaf margins and growing points of legume seedlings (alfalfa, clover, dry beans, faba beans, peas) and produce a characteristic, scalloped (notched) edge.  Females lay 1000 to 1500 eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.


Reminder – The 2017 risk map for pea leaf weevils was released in March 2018.  The map is based on the number of feeding notches observed in peas (Fig. 3).  

Figure 3. Estimates of pea leaf weevil (S. lineatus) densities based on feeding notches observed in
peas grown in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2017.

Biological and monitoring information related to pea leaf weevil in field crops is posted by the province of Alberta and in the PPMN monitoring protocol.

Also refer to the pea leaf weevil page within the “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.  A review of this insect was published in 2011 in Prairie Soils and Crops by Carcamo and Vankosky.

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).  


Recent warm conditions have advanced egg development. As of May 21, 2018, predicted mean egg development was 78% (68% last week) and model output indicates that embryological development was 10% greater than long term average. Greatest development was predicted to be across Alberta, particularly in an area extending from Lethbridge to Edmonton (Fig. 1 and 2). Last week first instar grasshoppers were collected near Rosetown SK. 

Figure 1. Grasshopper embryological development (%) for
April 1 – May 21, 2018, based on model simulations.
Figure 2. Grasshopper hatch (%) for April 1 – May 21, 2018, based on model simulations.

Reminder – The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s 2018 Grasshopper Forecast Map was released in March (Fig. 3).  Spring temperatures, soil moisture conditions, and precipitation all have an impact on survival of overwintered grasshopper eggs. Growers in areas highlighted orange or red in the map below should be vigilant this spring.

Figure 3.  Grasshopper forecast map (M. sanguinipes) for 2018 growing season.

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.

Cereal leaf beetle

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) – Model output predicts that CLB larvae should be appearing at many locations across the southern prairies. An example of CLB predicted phenology for Lethbridge AB is presented in Figure 1. 

Figure 1. Predicted CLB phenology at Lethbridge. Values are based on model
simulations, for April 1 – May 21, 2018 (projected to June 21, 2018).
Lifecycle and Damage:

Adult: Adult cereal leaf beetles (CLB) have shiny bluish-black wing-covers (Fig. 2). The thorax and legs are light orange-brown. Females (4.9 to 5.5 mm) are slightly larger than the males (4.4 to 5 mm). Adult beetles overwinter in and along the margins of grain fields in protected places such as in straw stubble, under crop and leaf litter, and in the crevices of tree bark. They favour sites adjacent to shelter belts, deciduous and conifer forests. They emerge in the spring once temperature reaches 10-15 ºC and are active for about 6 weeks. They usually begin feeding on grasses, then move into winter cereals and later into spring cereals.  

Figure 2. Adult Oulema melanopus measure 4.4-5.5 mm long (Photo: M. Dolinski).


Egg: Eggs are laid approximately 14 days following the emergence of the adults. Eggs are laid singly or in pairs along the mid vein on the upper side of the leaf and are cylindrical, measuring 0.9 mm by 0.4 mm, and yellowish in colour. Eggs darken to black just before hatching.  


Larva: The larvae hatch 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. 3).  When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil. 


Figure 3.  Larval stage of Oulema melanopus with characteristic feeding 
damage visible on leaf (Photo: M. Dolinski).

Pupa: Pupal colour varies from a bright yellow when it is first formed, to the colour of the adult just before emergence. 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.


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”.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Bertha armyworm (BAW) – BAW pupae, developing in the soil, are predicted to be ahead of average development. Pupal development is predicted at approximately 50% (Fig. 1) whereas the long term average is 36%. 

Figure 1.  Predicted bertha armyworm pupal development across the prairies as of May 21, 2018.





Model output predicts that emergence may begin as early as June 9th for the Regina area. Development is expected to be 5-6 days faster than average (Fig. 2; Table 1).

Figure 2. Predicted bertha armyworm phenology at Regina SK. Values are based on
model simulations, for April 1 – May 21, 2018 (projected to June 30, 2018).


Table 1. Projected dates for bertha armyworm adult emergence.

















Reminder – Review the 2017 bertha armyworm distribution map for the Canadian prairies which reports cumulative pheromone trap counts intercepting male moths during the 2017 growing season.


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.

Scouting Charts – Canola and Flax

Field scouting is critical – it enables the identification of potential risks to crops. Accurate identification of insect pests PLUS the application of established monitoring methods will enable growers to make informed pest management decisions.

We offer TWO generalized insect pest scouting charts to aid in-field scouting on the Canadian prairies:

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART

    

2. A NEW FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART

    
These charts feature hyperlinks directing growers to downloadable PDF pages within the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada: Identification and management field guide“.

Whenever possible, monitor and compare pest densities to established economic or action thresholds to protect and preserve pollinators and beneficial arthropods. Economic thresholds, by definition, help growers avoid crop losses related to outbreaking insect pest species.

Good luck with your scouting!

Ticks and Lyme Disease

As the spring weather improves and people are active outdoors, remember to watch for ticks.  Blacklegged (deer) ticks are important because they can carry Lyme Disease.  Continued surveillance activities conducted by Health Canada and the provinces remain important and you can help by identifying / removing / submitting your ticks!

Follow the links to learn more and to submit ticks if you live in British ColumbiaAlbertaSaskatchewanManitobaOntario, or Quebec.
Figure 1. Screenshot of Health Canada’s map of Lyme disease endemic and risk areas in Canada (retrieved 24May2018).

Weather Radar

Remember – If your fields are near one of Environment Canada’s PRAIRIE Radar Stations, consider accessing weather radar maps in video format show either the past 1 OR 3 hours of spatio-temporal maps of precipitation events.  These maps can help growers review where and how much precipitation fell nearby.

Screen shots of Environment Canada’s webpages are below for reference and red text and arrows have been added to help you navigate the webpage.



PMRA Pesticide Label Mobile App

Remember – Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency launched a new mobile app to access pesticide labels registered for use in Canada. The App helps homeowners, farmers, industry, provincial and federal organizations access details for pest control products from a smartphone or tablet (Fig. 1). 

Users can save searches, download product labels to their ‘Favourites’ which can even be accessed while offline. ‘Favourites’ will also auto-update when accessed online. Pesticide labels can be searched based by product name or active ingredient (e.g., to review detailed explanations on proper product use and necessary precautions).

Users can download the app on their mobile device.

If you have any questions, please contact the PMRA’s Information Service.

Figure 1. Screenshot view of Pesticide Label download page (retrieved 24May2018).


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 2018 will be posted soon. Watch for updates prepared by John Gavloski.

Saskatchewan’s Crop Production News for 2018 will be posted soon. Watch for updates prepared by James Tansey and Carter Peru.  

Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land for insect pest updates from Scott Meers. The most recent Call of the Land (posted on May 24, 2018) highlighted flea beetles and need to scout carefully to apply the action threshold of 25% of the cotyledon leaf area consumed, use of the online cutworm reporting tool, and low numbers of diamondback moth so far this spring.

Crop reports

Crop reports are produced by:
• Manitoba Agriculture, Rural Development (May 22, 2018)
• Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report (May 15-21, 2018)
• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Crop Report (May 15, 2018)

The following crop reports are also available:
• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces a Crop Progress Report (view the May 21, 2018 edition).
• The USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (view the May 19, 2018 edition).


Previous Posts

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


Cereal aphid manager (CAM) – Week 2
Crop protection guides – Week 2

Insect of the Week – Ground beetles: cutworm natural enemies

This week’s Insect of the Week is a large group of insects called ground beetles, also known as carabid beetles. Many species feed on cutworms as well as other pests.

Almost 400 different species of ground beetles occur on the Prairies, ranging in size from just a few millimetres to more than 2 centimetres. A field may contain 50 or more species, with densities ranging up to 10 beetles per square meter.

Ground beetles are characterized with long threadlike antennae, have a body that is flattened top-to-bottom, and have strong legs designed for running, large eyes, and obvious jaws (mandibles). Smaller ground beetle species can be important predators of cutworm eggs. Larger species attack and kill fully-grown cutworm larvae.
With all the work they do protecting your crop, ground beetles are real @FieldHeroes.
Find out more about ground beetles at the Insect of the Week page!
Adult Carabus nemoralis attacking a bertha armyworm caterpillar. 
Photocredit – Vincent Hervet, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Species of ground beetles common in agricultural fields on the Prairies. 
From left to right: Bembidion quadrimaculatum, Agonum cupreum, 
Pterostichus melanarius, Calosoma calidum
Photocredit – Henri Goulet (retired), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

For a detailed review of ground beetle research, biology, distribution, habitat, diet, etc., see Chapter 1: Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) of the Prairie Grasslands of Canada.
**NEW – Don’t forget there’s a new cutworm identification manual you can download from the Cutworm Field Guide page – NEW**

 

Insect of the Week – Army cutworm

For many, seed isn’t even in the ground yet, but the cutworms are ready for it when it is. So the time to start scouting for cutworms is now! Even if it is too wet to seed, consider checking volunteer plants for cutworms or feeding damage. General cutworm monitoring protocols can be found on the Monitoring Protocols page. Species-specific protocols can be found in the new Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies (see below for download details).


There are over 20 cutworm species that may cause economic damage to your crop, each with different feeding behaviour, preferred hosts and lifecycle. This is why species identification is so important: it helps growers understand what they are up against: determining how and when to scout, knowing whether the cutworm species is found above-ground (climbing) or below-ground, recognizing damage, choosing control options. Species also impacts the most appropriate time of day for monitoring and applying controls.


Action and economic thresholds do exist for many of the cutworm species – please use them. This will help control costs by eliminating unnecessary/un-economic sprays and reduce your impact on non-target insects – insects that include cutworm natural enemies that work in the background to control cutworm populations.


This week’s Insect of the Week is the army cutworm. This is an above ground species. Young larvae chew holes in leaves and notch leaf margins. Older larvae will consume entire leaves. They get their name from the fact that when food is scarce, larvae move as a large group in the same direction to locate more host plants.


For more information about army cutworms, go to the Insect of Week page.

Army cutworm larva (cc-by 3.0 Whitney Cranshaw, bugwood.org)

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

Weekly Update – Greetings!

Greetings!

Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 3 (May 18, 2017) OR a downloadable PDF version.




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 week’s average temperatures were approximately 2°C cooler than normal and seven-day precipitation accumulations were above normal.  

Over the past month, precipitation was below average in Manitoba, but above average in northwest Alberta.


The map below reflects the Accumulated Precipitation for the Growing Season so far for the prairie provinces (i.e., April 1-May 17, 2017):


The map below shows the Lowest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 11-17, 2017) across the prairies:


Whereas the map below shows the Highest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 11-17, 2017):



The updated growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – May 14, 2017) is below:



While the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – May 14, 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.

Wind Trajectories

THE WEEK OF MAY 15, 2017:  Wind trajectory data processing by AAFC-Saskatoon Staff began in April.  Reverse Trajectories track arriving air masses back to their point of origin while Forward Trajectories predict favourable winds expected to arrive across the Canadian Prairies for the week of May 15, 2017:

Reverse trajectories (RT)

Wind trajectories have been monitored since April 1 this year.  Wind patterns continue to be similar to previous weeks. The first graph (Fig. 1) indicates that winds from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) passed over Carman MB each day of the past week. Though the number of RTs increased over the past week, the overall pattern  has not changed across the prairies. 

Figure 1. Number of Reverse Trajectories (RT) originating in the Pacific Northwest that have arrived at sites across the Canadian prairies from May 9-15, 2017.



Figure 2 shows that the greatest number of RTs continue to be settling at sites across southern Alberta (e.g., areas highlighted red).

Figure 2.  Total number of reverse trajectories originating from the Pacific Northwest of the USA arriving at sites across the Canadian prairies (April 1-May 15, 2017).
Weather forecasts (7 day):

Weekly Update – Diamondback moth

Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Review the post from May 11, 2017 (Wk 02).

Weekly Update – Flea beetles

Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Phyllotreta species) – Be on the lookout for flea beetle damage resulting from feeding on canola cotyledons but also on the stem.  Two species, Phyllotreta striolata and P. cruciferae, will feed on all cruciferous plants but they can cause economic levels of damage in canola during the seedling stages.




Remember, the Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is 25% of cotyledon leaf area consumed.  Watch for shot-hole feeding in seedling canola but also watch the growing point and stems of seedlings which are particularly vulnerable to flea beetle feeding.



Estimating flea beetle feeding damage can be challenging.  Using a visual guide to estimate damage can be helpful.  Canola Watch circulated this article but also use the two images (copied below for reference) produced by Dr. J. Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon)  – take it scouting!

Figure 1. Canola
cotyledons with various percentages of leaf area consume owing to flea beetle
feeding damage (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).

Figure 2.
 Percent leaf area consumed by flea beetles feeding on canola seedlings
(Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).





Refer to the flea beetle page from 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 – Cutworms

Cutworms (Noctuidae) – NEW – Just in time for spring scouting!  A new field guide is now available to help growers scout and manage Cutworms!  Cutworm Pest of Crops is now available for free in either English or French and is featured at our new Cutworm Field Guide!  Also be sure to check the Insect of the Week throughout May – it highlights cutworms!  Be sure to read more about Army cutworms.

Army cutworm larva (cc-by 3.0 Whitney Cranshaw, bugwood.org)


Several species of cutworms  can be present in fields.  They range in colour from shiny opaque, to tan, to brownish-red with chevron patterning.  Cutworm biology, species information, plus monitoring recommendations are available in the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s Cutworm Monitoring Protocol.  Also refer to the Manitoba Agriculture cutworm fact sheet which includes action and economic thresholds for cutworms in several crops. 

Keep an eye on 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 later in the day when some cutworm species move above-ground to feed.  Start to dig below the soil surface (1-5 cm deep) near the base of a symptomatic plant or the adjacent healthy plant.  If the plant is well-established, check within the crown in addition to the adjacent soil.  The culprits could be wireworms or cutworms.  


For Albertans….. If you find cutworms, please consider using the Alberta Pest Surveillance Network’s “2017 Cutworm Reporting Tool”.  Once data entry occurs, growers can view the live 2017 cutworm map which is updated daily.


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

Weekly Update – Cereal leaf beetle

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) – As of May 15, 2017, the CLB model predicts that oviposition should be underway in the Lethbridge, Swift Current and Brandon areas. Compared to southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, populations in southern Manitoba are predicted to be delayed by approximately a week.

Lifecycle and Damage:
Adult: Adult cereal leaf beetles (CLB) have shiny bluish-black wing-covers (Fig. 1). The thorax and legs are light orange-brown. Females (4.9 to 5.5 mm) are slightly larger than the males (4.4 to 5 mm). Adult beetles overwinter in and along the margins of grain fields in protected places such as in straw stubble, under crop and leaf litter, and in the crevices of tree bark. They favour sites adjacent to shelter belts, deciduous and conifer forests. They emerge in the spring once temperature reaches 10-15 ºC and are active for about 6 weeks. They usually begin feeding on grasses, then move into winter cereals and later into spring cereals.  

Figure 1. Adult Oulema melanopus (~4.4-5.5 mm long).


Egg: Eggs are laid approximately 14 days following the emergence of the adults. Eggs are laid singly or in pairs along the mid vein on the upper side of the leaf and are cylindrical, measuring 0.9 mm by 0.4 mm, and yellowish in colour. Eggs darken to black just before hatching.  

Larva: The larvae hatch 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. 2).  When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil. 

Figure 2.  Larval stage of Oulema melanopus with characteristic feeding damage visible on leaf.



Pupa: Pupal colour varies from a bright yellow when it is first formed, to the colour of the adult just before emergence. 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.

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 – Alfalfa weevil

Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) – 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).




Degree-day maps of base 9°C are now being produced by Soroka, Olfert, and Giffen (2016) using the Harcourt/North Dakota models.  Models predicting the development of Alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) across the prairies are updated weekly to help growers time their in-field scouting for second-instar larvae.  Compare the following predicted development stages and degree-day values from Soroka (2015) to the map below.



This week, the predictive model output for Brooks AB suggests that oviposition is well underway (i.e., in areas of the map below highlighted chocolate-brown).  The initial first instar larvae may occur by next week.



Use the figure below as a visual reference to identify alfalfa weevil larvae.  Note the white dorsal line, the tapered shape of the abdomen and the dark head capsule.

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.

Weekly Update – Pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– The pea leaf weevil simulation model will be used to monitor weevil development across the prairies. Weekly temperature data collected across the prairies is incorporated into the simulation model which calculates estimates of weevil development stages based on biological parameters for Sitona lineatus.


Model output predicted that flight of pea leaf weevil adults was significantly earlier in Lethbridge than Saskatoon in 2017.  In the figure below, note the red line predicting adults emerging from overwintering then the yellow line predicting overwintered adults taking flight this spring for Lethbridge AB (Fig. 1, Upper) and Saskatoon SK (Fig. 1, Lower).





Figure 1.  Model output predicting development of pea leaf weevil in Lethbridge AB (Upper) and Saskaton SK (Lower) in the spring of 2017.




Reminder – In 2016, the distribution of pea leaf weevil increased dramatically based on both damage assessments AND collection of adults in 2016 (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Distribution of pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus) based on surveying conducted in 2016 (Olfert et al. 2017).




Pea leaf weevils emerge in the spring primarily by flying (at temperatures above 17ºC) or they may walk short distances. Pea leaf weevil movement into peas and faba beans is achieved primarily through flight.  Adults are slender, greyish-brown measuring approximately 5 mm in length (Fig. 3, Left).  


The pea leaf weevil resembles the sweet clover weevil (Sitona cylindricollis) but the former is distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down thorax and sometimes the abdomen.  All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout.  



Figure 3.  Comparison images and descriptions of four Sitona species adults including pea leaf weevil (Left).


Adults will feed upon the leaf margins and growing points of legume seedlings (alfalfa, clover, dry beans, faba beans, peas) and produce a characteristic, scalloped (notched) edge.  Females lay 1000 to 1500 eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.


Biological and monitoring information related to pea leaf weevil in field crops is posted by the province of Alberta.  Also refer to the pea leaf weevil page within the “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.  A review of this insect was published in 2011 in Prairie Soils and Crops by Carcamo and Vankosky.

Weekly Update – 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 May 15, 2017, the predicted mean embryological development was only slightly ahead of last week at 66% (compared to 62% last week), and similar to long term averages (64%; Fig. 1). Although it is still early in the growing season, grasshopper hatch can vary across the prairies. For example, model output indicated that the hatch in Vauxhall AB was predicted to be about a week ahead of Saskatoon SK. As a result, timing of peak hatch could be 10-14 days earlier in Vauxhall than Saskatoon.


Figure 1.  Simulation model outputs mapped to predict the embryological development of Migratory grasshopper  (Melanoplus sanguinipes) eggs across the Canadian prairies as of May 15, 2017).


Reminder – The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s 2017 Grasshopper Forecast Map (Fig. 2) was released in January.  While spring temperatures, soil moisture conditions, and precipitation can all have an impact on overwintered grasshopper eggs, growers in areas highlighted orange or red in the map below should be vigilant as nymphs begin to hatch this season.

Figure 2. Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s 2017 Grasshopper Forecast Map.


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 – Predicted Bertha Armyworm Development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– The first map (Fig. 1) shows that predicted pupal development is well underway (average 27%)

Figure 1. Predicted stage of pupal development of overwintered Bertha armyworm set to emerge in 2017.



The second map (Fig. 2) indicates that predicted development this year is ahead of long term averages in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

Figure 2. Pupal development of overwintered Bertha armyworm in 2017 compared to long-term averages observed across the Canadian prairies.



These maps will be updated weekly to aid those who deploy and monitor this moth using pheromone traps.  The video below posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Scott Meers describes how pheromone traps are used to monitor this important pest of canola.







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 – Scouting Charts (Canola and Flax)

Field scouting is critical – it enables the identification of potential risks to crops.  However, the identification of these insect pests PLUS the application of established monitoring methods will enable growers to make informed pest management decisions.


For 2017, we offer TWO generalized insect pest scouting charts to aid in-field scouting on the Canadian prairies:

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART

    

2. A NEW FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART

    
These charts feature hyperlinks directing growers to downloadable PDF pages within the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada: Identification and management field guide“.


Whenever possible, monitor and compare pest densities to established economic or action thresholds to protect and preserve pollinators and beneficial arthropods. Economic thresholds, by definition, help growers avoid crop losses related to outbreaking insect pest species.


Good luck with your scouting!

Weekly Update – Crop protection guides

Crop Protection Guides – If you don’t have a copy of your province’s Crop Protection Guide, please make use of these links to access:
• Saskatchewan’s Crop Protection Guide
• Manitoba’s Guide to Crop Protection Guide 
• Alberta’s Crop Protection or Blue Book 
• Western Committee on Crop Pests Guidelines for the Control of Crop Pests

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 will be posted soon. Watch for updates prepared by John Gavloski and Pratisara Bajracharya).

Saskatchewan’s Crop Production News for 2017 will be posted soon. Watch for updates prepared by Scott Hartley and Danielle Stephens.  

Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land for updates from Scott Meers who recently provided an update (posted on May 18, 2017). Flea beetles and seed-feeding carabids and fungus beetles in harvested grain were noted as being insects to watch at this point in Alberta.

Crop reports

Crop reports are produced by:
• Manitoba Agriculture, Rural Development (May 15, 2017)
• Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report (May 9-15, 2017)
• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Crop Report (May 9, 2017)


International reports are produced by:
• The United States Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress Report (May 15, 2017)

• The European Commission’s Monitoring Agricultural ResourceS (MARS) bulletins for March 2017 can be accessed  and include outlooks for Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine, and North Africa.

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 18May2017) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map!  They’ve migrated into the extreme south of Ontario! 


Weekly Update – Weather synopsis

Across the prairies, meteorological conditions for the period May 8-15, 2016, were similar to long term average values for the first half of May. 


The average temperature was 8.7 °C (12 °C last week) and was 0.7 °C warmer than the average temperature for May 8-15. 





This past week, rainfall amounts were minimal across most of Alberta and southern Manitoba. Most of Saskatchewan received normal or above normal rainfall.  This week rainfall amounts greater than 30 mm were reported for a number of locations across southern Saskatchewan. 



The 30-day rainfall amounts were similar to long term average values.  



Compared to last week, soil moisture levels were predicted to improve across most of Saskatchewan.  Low soil moisture values were predicted across central and northern Alberta.


Unfortunately, there were some cool temperatures just as seedlings were emerging….. 
The map below reflects the Lowest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days across the prairies.

Whereas the map below reflects the Highest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days across the prairies.

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.

Wind trajectories

2016 Wind Trajectories – High altitude air masses originate from southern locations and continuously move northerly to Canadian destinations. Insect pest species such as Diamondback moth and Aster leafhoppers, traditionally unable to overwinter above the 49th parallel, can utilize these air masses in the spring to move north from Mexico and the United States (southern or Pacific northwest). Data acquired from Environment Canada is compiled by Olfert et al. (AAFC-Saskatoon) to track and model spring high altitude air masses with respect to potential introductions of insect pests onto the Canadian prairies. 

Reverse Trajectories track arriving air masses back to their point of origin while Forward Trajectories predict favourable winds expected to arrive across the Canadian Prairies.


This week, Reverse Trajectories (RT) originating from southwest USA and Mexico have crossed over more than half of the prairie locations (18 of 29 locations). This week, first reports of these RT’s occurred for Russel MB, Gainsborough SK, Yorkton SK, Grenfell SK, Watrous SK, and Kindersley SK. 








Review earlier 2016 Wind Trajectory Updates in PDF format.


Weather forecasts (7 day):
Winnipeg: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/mb-38_metric_e.html
Brandon: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/mb-52_metric_e.html
Saskatoon: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/sk-40_metric_e.html
Regina: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/sk-32_metric_e.html
Edmonton: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/ab-50_metric_e.html
Lethbridge: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/ab-30_metric_e.html

Grande Prairie: https://weather.gc.ca/city/pages/ab-31_metric_e.html

Weekly Update – Canola scouting chart

Field scouting is critical because it enables the identification of potential risks to crops.  Canola production systems across the Canadian prairies will suffer insect pest outbreaks.  However, the identification of these insect pests PLUS the application of established monitoring methods will enable growers to make informed pest management decisions.

We first offered the chart below in 2015 but we again post our generalized canola scouting chart to aid in-field scouting on the Canadian prairies. Two versions are below – the first version contains hyperlinks to help growers learn more about some of our insect pests and how to monitor while the second version may be easier to view or print.  

Whenever possible, monitor and compare to established economic thresholds so pollinators and beneficial arthropods are preserved.  Economic thresholds, by definition, can help growers avoid crop losses due to an insect pest.

Good luck with the growing season!



Weekly Update – Diamondback moth

Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Pheromone traps attracting male Diamondback moths have been deployed across the prairies.  



Counts will be reported by the provincial staff in Manitoba and Saskatchewan soon.  Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has posted their live 2016 map reporting Diamondback moth pheromone trap interceptions.  A copy of the map (retrieved May 18, 2016) is below for reference.



Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Saskatchewan Agriculture, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  




More information about Diamondback moths 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 Diamondback moth page but remember the guide is available as a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Flea beetles

Reminder – Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Phyllotreta species) – Be on the lookout for flea beetle damage resulting from feeding on canola cotyledons but also on the stem.



Remember, the Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is 25% of cotyledon leaf area consumed.  Shot-hole feeding is the traditional damage in seedling canola but watch the growing point and stems of seedlings.


Estimating flea beetle feeding damage can be challenging.  Using a visual guide to estimate damage can be helpful.  Canola Watch circulated this article but also use the images (copied below for reference) produced by Dr. J. Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon)  – take it scouting!

Figure 1. Canola cotyledons with various percentages of leaf area consume owing to flea beetle feeding damage (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).




Figure 2.  Percent leaf area consumed by flea beetles feeding on canola seedlings (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).

Refer to the flea beetle page from 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 – Cutworms

Reminder – Cutworms (Noctuidae) – Keep an eye on 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 later in the day when some cutworm species move above-ground to feed.  Start to dig below the soil surface (1-5 cm deep) near the base of a symptomatic plant or the adjacent healthy plant.  If the plant is well-established, check within the crown in addition to the adjacent soil.  The culprits could be wireworms or cutworms.  

Several species of cutworms  can be present in fields.  They range in colour from shiny opaque, to tan, to brownish-red with chevron patterning.  Cutworm biology, species information, plus monitoring recommendations are available in the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s Cutworm Monitoring Protocol.  Also refer to Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives cutworm fact sheet which includes action and economic thresholds for cutworms in several crops. 

More information about cutworms 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 an excerpt of ONLY the Cutworm pages from the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide”.  The guide is available as a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.



For ALBERTANS….. If cutworms are spotted in Albertan fields, please consider using the Alberta Pest Surveillance Network’s “2016 Cutworm Reporting Tool”.  Once data entry occurs, your growers can view the live 2016 cutworm map.

A screen shot of the live map has been retrieved (18May2016) below for your reference.



Weekly Update – Pea leaf weevil

Reminder – Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– Pea leaf weevils emerge in the spring primarily by flying (at temperatures above 17ºC) or they may walk short distances. Pea leaf weevil movement into peas and faba beans is achieved primarily through flight.  Adults are slender, greyish-brown measuring approximately 5 mm in length.  

The pea leaf weevil resembles the sweet clover weevil (Sitona cylindricollis) yet the former is distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down thorax and sometimes the abdomen (Access the Pea leaf weevil monitoring protocol).  All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout.  


Adults will feed upon the leaf margins and growing points of legume seedlings (alfalfa, clover, dry beans, faba beans, peas) and produce a characteristic, scalloped (notched) edge.  Females lay 1000 to 1500 eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.


Information related to Pea leaf weevil in Alberta and the forecast for 2016 is posted here.  

Weekly Update – Cereal leaf beetle predictions

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) – Based on last week’s warm weather, our bioclimate model predicted rapid development of cereal leaf beetle (CLB) populations.


As of May 15, 2016, the CLB model indicated that oviposition is well underway, though this week’s development was slower than the previous week. Model output predicted that egg populations should be peaking this week in both Alberta and Saskatchewan and next week at Swan River  MB. Larval populations are predicted to peak in mid-June in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan and one week later at Swan River MB locations.


Predicted dates of peak emergence of CLB eggs and larvae:






The following model outputs have been updated this week and reflect the predicted stages of CLB present in fields in relation to its parasitoid, Tetrastichus julis




Fact sheets for CLB are published by the province of Alberta and by 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 – Predicted Bertha Armyworm Development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata) – Bertha armyworm (BAW) pupal development is progressing well, particularly across AB. Predicted pupal development is greater than 50% at Brooks, Vauxhaul, Hanna, Drumheller, Edmonton, AB and at Kindersley, SK.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

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


– Manitoba’s Insect preview article (April 18, 2016, published by the Manitoba Cooperator).
– Saskatchewan’s Insect Pest Outlook article (April 7, 2016,  published by the Western Producer).
– Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land for updates from Scott Meers  (posted on May 19, 2016).

Weekly Update – Crop protection guide

Reminder – Crop Protection Guides – If you don’t have a copy of your province’s Crop Protection Guide, please make use of these links to access:

Weekly Update – Predicted Grasshopper Development

Grasshoppers (Acrididae) – Cooler conditions over the past seven days resulted in a return to average grasshopper development. 


For the week of May 8-15, 2016, the predicted mean embryological development was 75% (last week was 74%).  Grasshopper egg development is greater than 80% across most of southern and central Alberta indicating that hatch will rapidly progress over the next two weeks within the areas highlighted in red on the map below. The model predicted that 5% of the hatch is already underway. Peak hatch (approx. 16%) was predicted to occur in the area around Alsask SK to Hanna AB and south to Brooks and Vauxhall AB.


Recall that the 2016 Grasshopper Forecast Map circulated in January predicted the following risk areas.  




Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by the provinces of ManitobaSaskatchewanAlbertaBritish Columbia 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” – both English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions are available.




Weekly Update

A downloadable PDF version of the complete Weekly Update for Week 3 (May 18, 2016) can be accessed here.

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.  

Saskatchewan Field Notes

Thanks to Scott Hartley for forwarding these quick observations….


Flea beetles:  On Thursday received a report of intense flea beetle
feeding on a young crop at cotyledon stage.  It was reported as striped
flea beetles in high numbers with plenty of stem girdling – very damaging for a
seedling crop.  They are considering re-seeding some of the (substantial)
acres affected. 



Diamondback moths (DBM):  So far, no
significant numbers of DBM picked up in pheromone traps reporting from Saskatchewan.


Wind Trajectories

Wind trajectories Related to
Diamondback Moth (DBM) and Aster Leafhopper Introductions to the Canadian
Prairies in 2015

BACKGROUND:
  Potential wind events
capable of carrying insect pests from source areas in the USA can be identified
by following trajectories for air parcels through time. 
High altitude air masses, originating from southern locations,
frequently move northerly to Canadian destinations. Insect pest species such as
Diamondback moth and Aster leafhoppers, traditionally unable to overwinter
above the 49th parallel, can utilize these air masses in the spring to move
north from Mexico and the United States (southern or Pacific northwest).
Wind trajectory data processing by
AAFC-Saskatoon Staff (Weiss & Olfert) began in April.  Reverse
Trajectories
 track air masses arriving across the prairies back to
their point of origin.  Forward Trajectories predict favorable winds expected to arrive across the Canadian Prairies.  
Updated: May 20, 2015
1. 
Reverse trajectories (RT)
During the early part of May, reverse
trajectories (RTs) were originating over the Arctic, but have recently shifted
southward.  This week a number of RTs, originating from California, Texas
and Mexico have passed over a number of prairie locations. The following table provides
an overview of were RTs originating across southwest USA and Mexico have
crossed the prairies.
Number
of Dates Reverse Trajectories Were Tracked to these Prairie Sites (between
May 13-20, 2015)
Location
Latitude
Longitude
Number
of Dates
BRANDON_MB
49.8
-99.9
3
SELKIRK_MB
50.1
-96.9
3
YORKTON_SK
51.2
-102.4
2
RUSSELL_MB
50.8
-101.3
2
CARMAN_MB
49.5
-98
2
GRENFELL_SK
50.4
-102.9
2
PORTAGE_MB
50
-98.3
2
LETHBRIDGE_AB
49.7
-112.8
1
KINDERSLEY_SK
51.5
-109.1
1
DAUPHIN_MB
51.1
-100
1
GAINSBOROUGH_SK
49.2
-101.4
1
PROVOST_AB
52.4
-110.3
1
2.  Forward trajectories (FT)
Environment Canada models indicate that
most of the forward trajectories crossing the prairies are expected to
originate over northwestern USA (Pacific).

Insect of the week – Aster and potato leafhoppers

See this week’s Insect of the Week for descriptions and pictures of the aster and potato leafhoppers (Macrosteles quadrilineatus and Empoasca fabae) from the new Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada – Identification and Management Field Guide

Ongoing Monitoring Efforts for 2015

In 2014, the PPMN compiled data for the following sites highlighted in the map below.  The monitoring data collected from these sites forms invaluable sources of information both now and into the future.

Agricultural people from federal, provincial, regional and industry sectors all contribute to this tremendous effort!  Monitoring at sites like these below provides crucial information on insect pest risk before and during the growing season.  Some sites are visited annually while others are checked weekly and all that data enables the synthesis and generation of risk and forecast maps like those posted here.

THANK YOU to all who contribute!
Please contact Dr. Owen Olfert at AAFC-Saskatoon for more information about this map.