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.

The entire list of 2020 Wind Trajectory Reports is available here.

→ Read the WEEKLY Wind Trajectory Report for Wk05 (released May 25, 2020).

Weekly Update

Scouting for insect pests in field crops needs to step up a notch now across the prairies. Several of the economic pests Canadian growers contend with are now developing into the more damaging stages of their lifecycles.

Access information to support your in-field insect monitoring efforts in the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 5 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.

Peas and Faba Beans Pests / Feature Entomologist: Shelley Barkley

This week’s Insect of the Week feature crops are peas and faba beans, two important Prairie pulse crops. Our feature entomologist this week is Shelley Barkley (Alberta Agriculture and Forestry).

Pea Field
cc by 2.0 Gilles San Martin

Peas and faba beans are relative newcomers to Prairie large-scale agriculture. Up until the 70s, a typical crop rotation may have been some combination of cereal and summer fallow. Dr. Al Slinkard was hired by the University of Saskatchewan-Crop Development Centre (CDC) in 1972 as a pulse breeder, starting a major transformation of Prairie agriculture. First came dry peas and lentils followed by many other pulse crops. Now there is a team of four pulse breeders at the CDC to carry on Dr. Slinkard’s legacy. And of course, let’s not forgot about the many federal, provincial, university and private industry Prairie pulse breeders that have come along since the 70s.

In 2019, dry peas were grown on 1.7 million hectares (4.3 million acres) on the Prairies, yielding 4.2 million tonnes (4.6 million US tons). Faba beans were grown (37,300 hectares / 92,100 acres) and yielded 107,000 tonnes (118,000 US tons).

There are a number of pests that attack these crops with several common to both crops. Monitoring and scouting protocols are found in the Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Management and the Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies: Identification and Management Field Guide. More detailed protocols exist for some of the pests.

Pea Pests
  • Alfalfa caterpillar
  • Alfalfa looper
  • Army cutworm
  • Bertha armycutworm
  • Black cutworm
  • Brown marmorated stink bug
  • Clover root curculio
  • Grasshoppers
  • Green cloverworm
  • Pale western cutworm
  • Pea aphid
  • Pea leaf weevil
  • Saltmarsh caterpillar
  • Seedcorn maggot
  • Variegated cutworm
  • Wireworms
Faba Bean Pests
  • Black cutworm
  • Blister beetles
  • Grasshoppers
  • Pea leaf weevil
  • Saltmarsh caterpillar
  • Variegated cutworm
  • Wireworms
Pea leaf weevil
cc by 2.0 Mike Dolinski

Entomologist of the Week: Shelley Barkley

Name: Shelley Barkley
Affiliation: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Contact Information: shelley.barkley@gov.ab.ca, @Megarhyssa                   

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

I am managing the insect monitoring and surveillance program for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in 2020. 

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

It is not a field crop pest, but lily leaf beetle tops my list. So stunningly beautiful, but so devastating to lilies. I am in a war to bring these animals to a tolerable level in my lily bed without having to resort to removing the lilies. 

Of the field crop pests, I think bertha armyworm is very interesting, especially how it has capitalized on the introduction of canola. Bertha armyworm have taught me population dynamics, and shown me biocontrol at work in the field. You can read that stuff in a text book, but once you see it in real life you have a new appreciation for nature…and science fiction movies.

What is your favourite beneficial insect? 

Ambush bugs are my favourite. I think this species was a model for dragons on Game of Thrones and other works of dragon fiction. All the bumps and lumps on its head and thorax. And those front legs…if only I could have guns like that!

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

Delivering insect survey results to the agriculture industry in AB in a timely fashion is my most important current project. I am supporting the industry to the best of my ability.

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

Twitter, and email are my go to. I also enjoy sharing my photography.

Weekly Update

Greetings!

A busy week – seeding is underway across the prairies!  Our many field crop entomologists and their integral cooperators are busy deploying various insect monitoring equipment in fields too. 

This week marks the return of the Insect of the Week for the 2019 growing season!  The initial four weeks will feature invasive species of insects then we will transition to arthropod doppelgangers in an effort to support in-field scouting efforts with identification tips.

The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network is also excited to support the new Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network (PCDMN) by promoting their 2019 Cereal Rust Risk Report.  This is a new initiative and reports will be available to support in-field scouting.

Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 05 (May 9, 2019) OR a downloadable PDF version is available.

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

Subscribe to the Blog by following these easy steps!

Weather synopsis

Weather synopsis – Daily average temperatures continue to be cooler than normal for the early growing season. This past week (April 30-May 7, 2019), the average temperature (0.5 °C) was approximately 6 °C cooler than normal (Fig. 1). The warmest temperatures were observed in southern AB and southeastern SK (Fig. 1).  Average 30-day temperatures were well below normal (Fig. 3). Across the prairies, average temperatures (April 9-May 6)  was 0 to -3 °C below normal (Fig. 2). 

Figure 1.  Average Temperature (°C) across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (April 30-May 7, 2019).
Figure 2.  Average Temperature (°C) across the Canadian prairies the past 30 days (April 7-May 7, 2019).
Figure 3.  Mean temperature differences from Normal across the Canadian prairies from April 9-May 6, 2019.
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the 
Government of Canada and was retrieved (09May2019).  
Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

Seven day cumulative rainfall shows that minimal rain was observed across large areas in MB and SK (Fig. 4). Rainfall (30 day accumulation) amounts (Fig. 5) have been well below average for most of the prairies (66% of average) (Fig. 6). Rainfall amounts across southern SK are normal to above normal (Fig. 6). 

Figure 4. Cumulative precipitation observed the past seven days across the Canadian prairies (April 30-May 7, 2019).
Figure 5. Cumulative precipitation observed the past 30 days across the Canadian prairies (April 7-May 7, 2019).
Figure 6. Percent of average precipitation across the Canadian prairies the past 30 days (as of May 8, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the
Government of Canada and was retrieved (09May2019).  
Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

Soil moisture values are low across large generally low.

Figure 7.  Modelled soil moisture (%) across the Canadian prairies as of May 7, 2019.

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5 ºC, March 1 – June 18, 2017) is below:

Figure 8.  Growing degree day (Base 5 ºC) across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-May 6, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the 
Government of Canada and was retrieved (09May2019).  
Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10 ºC, March 1 – June 18, 2017) is below:

Figure 9. Growing degree day (Base 10 ºC) across the Canadian prairies for the growing season (April 1-May 6, 2019).
Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the 
Government of Canada and was retrieved (09May2019).  
Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true

Wind Trajectories

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have been working together to study the potential of trajectories for monitoring insect movements since the late 1990s.

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

2018 Insect Field Guide

Get your copy of the newly updated version of the Insect Field Guide!

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

Find links to download the FREE Insect Field Guide.

Cutworms

Cutworms (Noctuidae) – A field guide is 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!  

Several species of cutworms can be present in fields (Refer to downloadable PDF below).  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. 

In 2018, the Insect of the Week featured two economically important species of cutworms and some of the important natural enemies that help regulate these pests:

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.  

CutwormSeasonalChart_Floate

For Albertans….. If you find cutworms, please consider using the Alberta Pest Surveillance Network’s “2019 Cutworm Reporting Tool” then view the live 2019 cutworm map which is updated daily.

Flea beetles

Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Phyllotreta species)– Reminder – 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 (AAW) across the prairies are updated weekly to help growers time their in-field scouting for second-instar larvae. 

AAW model runs indicate that oviposition should have begun in the Brooks (Rosemary) AB (Fig. 1) and Regina SK regions (Fig. 2).  Note that this week’s cool temperatures have reduced oviposition rates (based on model predictions). 

Figure 1. Predicted status of alfalfa weevil populations near Swift Current SK as of May 7, 2019.
Figure 2. Predicted status of alfalfa weevil populations near Swift Current SK as of May 7, 2019.

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

Alfalfa growers are encouraged to check the Alfalfa Weevil Fact Sheet prepared by Dr. Julie Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon).  Additional information can be accessed by reviewing the Alfalfa Weevil Page extracted from the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (Philip et al. 2015).  The guide is available in both a free English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– The PLW model was run for Red Deer AB (Fig. 1) and Saskatoon SK (Fig. 2). The predictive model outputs suggest that PLW adults are active but oviposition has not begun. 

Figure 1. Predicted status of pea leaf weevil populations near Red Deer as of  May 7, 2019. 
Figure 2. Predicted status of pea leaf weevil populations near Saskatoon SK as of May 7, 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.

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.

Cereal leaf beetle

Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) – The cereal leaf beetle model indicates that oviposition is well underway in Lethbridge AB as of May 7, 2019 (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.  Predicted status of cereal leaf beetle populations near Lethbridge AB as of April 30, 2019

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 grasshopper development

Grasshopper Simulation Model Output – The grasshopper simulation model will be used to monitor grasshopper development across the prairies. Weekly temperature data collected across the prairies is incorporated into the simulation model which calculates estimates of grasshopper development stages based on biological parameters for Melanoplus sanguinipes (Migratory grasshopper).  

This week, cool temperatures this week were predicted to result in minimal embryological development. As of May 7, 2019, predicted development was 60% and is similar to long term average values (Fig. 1). As embryological development approaches 100%, scouting for  nymphs of pest species of grasshoppers should begin.

Figure 1.  Predicted grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) embryological development across the Canadian prairies as of May 7, 2019. 

Reminder – The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s 2019 Grasshopper Forecast Map was released in March.  Review all the current risk and forecast maps by linking here.  While spring temperatures, soil moisture conditions, and precipitation can all have an impact on overwintered grasshopper eggs, areas highlighted orange or red in the 2019 forecast map should be vigilant this spring by performing in-field scouting to assess nymph densities.

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.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

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

Manitoba‘s Insect and Disease Updates for 2019 will be posted here and includes updates from Dr. John Gavloski.

Saskatchewan‘s Crop Production News for 2019 will be posted here and frequently includes updates from Dr. James Tansey and Mr. Carter Peru.

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

Crop reports

Crop reports are produced by:

The following crop reports are also available:

Previous Posts

Click to review these earlier 2019 Posts:

2019 Risk and forecast maps – Week 2

Insect scouting chart for Canola – Week 4
Insect scouting chart for Flax – Week 4

Ticks and Lyme disease – Week 4

Wind trajectories – Weeks 1-4

Insect of the Week – Brown marmorated stink bug

This week’s Insect of the Week is the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). Stink bugs get their name from the foul odour they release when threatened. Brown marmorated stink bug is not known to be established in the Prairies, but the species has been found in the Southern Interior of BC, in Ontario and Quebec. Feeding causes damage to seeds and seed pods, reducing yield. Nymphs and adults prefer field corn and soybean, but infestations have been reported on rape, pea, sunflower and cereals in the USA. They have also been known to attack tree fruits, berries, vegetables and many ornamental trees and shrubs.

Brown marmorated stink bug – adult (CC-BY 2.0 Katja Schulz)

Additional information and fact sheets for this insect have been posted by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Development, and BC Ministry of Agriculture and Seafood. You can also check out our Insect of the Week page.

This insect is featured in our Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies Field Guide which is available for download from the Insect Field Guide page. 

Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network (PCDMN)

New for 2019 – The Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network (PCDMN) represents the combined effort of our prairie pathologists who work together to support in-field disease management in field crops.  

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

Background:  Agriculture and AgriFood Canada (AAFC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) have been working together to study the potential of trajectories for monitoring insect movements since the late 1990s. Trajectory models are used to deliver an early-warning system for the origin and destination of migratory invasive species, such as diamondback moth. In addition, plant pathologists have shown that trajectories can assist with the prediction of plant disease infestations and are also beginning to utilize these same data. An introduction will be presented of efforts to identify wind trajectory events that may bring rust urediniospores into Western Canada from epidemic areas in the central and Pacific northwest (PNW) regions of the USA. Identification of potential events as well as an assessment of epidemic severity from source locations, and prairie weather conditions, will be used to assess the need for prompt targeted crop scouting for at-risk regions of the Canadian Prairies.

This week, two documents are available from the PCDMN:

Synopsis of May 7, 2019, Weekly Cereal Rust Risk Report: 

1. Pacific Northwest – Given limited stripe rust development in the PNW, a relatively low number of recent wind trajectories from the PNW, cool Prairie weather conditions, and early stages of Prairie crop development, as of early May the risk of stripe rust appearance from the PNW is limited and scouting for this disease is not urgent.  

2. Texas-Nebraska corridor – Given limited leaf and stripe rust development in this corridor, a relatively low number of recent wind trajectories from this area, cool Prairie weather conditions, and early stages of Prairie crop development, as of early May the risk of leaf and stripe rust appearance from the Texas-Nebraska corridor is limited and scouting for these diseases is not urgent.  

3. Where farmers or consultants noticed stripe rust development on winter wheat in the fall of 2018, it is recommended to scout winter wheat fields that have resumed growth this spring.  Scouting is especially critical where the variety being grown is susceptible to stripe rust.  Currently, there are no early spring reports of stripe rust on winter wheat.

Insect of the Week – Wireworms

This week’s Insect of the Week is a
frustrating pest of many crops: wireworm. Wireworms are the soil-dwelling
larval stage of the click beetles (Elateridae). There are hundreds of click
beetle species in the prairies, but the term wireworm refers to those that are pests,
which in Canada is approximately 20 species. 
With the loss of effective insecticides (e.g. lindane), wireworms have
re-emerged in recent years as primary pests of potato, cereals, and vegetables.
On the prairies, we have 3 predominant pest species (Selatosomus destructor, Limonius
californicus
, and Hypnoidus bicolor;
see photo), and their larvae vary (among other things) in life history (2-7
years), color (white to orange), cuticle thickness, distribution, behaviour, and
susceptibility to insecticides.

Wireworms are patchy in distribution, difficult
to monitor, and difficult to kill. We have a lot to learn about these resilient
pests. Since the mid-1990’s AAFC has had a national research team (Bob Vernon
et al.) screening for effective insecticides and developing trapping and monitoring
methods, cultural controls (e.g., crop rotation), and biocontrols to manage the
adult and larval forms of these pests.

For more information about wireworms, check out our Insect of the Week page!

The three most troublesome wireworm species on the prairies in their adult
and larval stages. Note the different sizes and colours. From left to right,
S. destructor, L. californicus, H. bicolor.
Photo by David Shack, AAFC-Lethbridge.
For more information, please contact Dr. Haley Catton (AAFC-Lethbridge) or Dr. Wim van Herk (AAFC-Agassiz)

Also link here to access a summary of Wireworm surveying (2004-2017) conducted across the Canadian prairies by van Herk and Vernon (AAFC-Agassiz).

Weekly Update

Greetings!

Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 05 (June 7, 2018) OR downloadable PDF version.  Also review the “Insect of the Week” for Week 5!



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

Subscribe to the Blog by following these three steps!

Weather synopsis

Weather synopsis – This past week (May 28-June 4, 2018), the average temperature was very similar to the long term normal (Fig. 1).  The warmest weekly temperatures occurred across Manitoba. The 30-day average temperature (April 29 – May 29) was approximately 2 °C warmer than long term average (Fig. 2).  Across the prairies, the average temperature for May was up to 5 °C warmer than average. 

Figure 1.  Weekly (May 28–June 4, 2018) average temperature (°C) . 


Figure 2.  The 30 day (April 29 – May 29, 2018) average temperature (°C).



Weekly precipitation was above average and 30-day total rainfall is approximately 20% less than average (Figs. 3 and 4). 

Figure 3.  Weekly (May 28 – June 4, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).


Figure 4.  The 30-day (May 28 – June 4, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).

Accumulated precipitation for the growing season (April 01-June 4, 2018) is shown below.

The map below reflects the Highest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days (May 29-June 4, 2018) across the prairies. 


The map below reflects the Lowest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days (May 29-June 4, 2018) across the prairies. 


The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – June 3, 2018) is below:


The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºCMarch 1 – June 3, 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
The number of Reverse Trajectories (RTs), crossing the prairies in May 2018, was lower than the long term average (2007 – 2017). The total number of incoming trajectories (sum of Pacific Northwest and southwest USA/Mexico) for 2018 was less than similar values for 2017 and 2007 – 2017. Based on RTs by region, the number of RTs from the Pacific Northwest (PNW) was less than 2007 – 2017 and 2017. To date, the RTs originating in the southwest USA/Mexico in 2018, have been greater in number than in 2017 and less than the long term average (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.  Total number of reverse trajectories by geographic region (Pacific Northwest and
Mexico and the southwest USA) for May 2018.

Weather forecasts (7 day):

Wireworm distribution map

The following maps summarize the main results of a survey of pest species of wireworms of the Canadian Prairie Provinces.  Samples (both larvae and beetles) were submitted to Dr. Bob Vernon’s lab in Agassiz, BC, from 2004 to 2017, and identified by Dr. Wim van Herk (Fig. 1).  Species identifications were confirmed with barcoding.

Figure 1.  Sampling locations for click beetles and wireworm larvae (Coleoptera: Elateridae) submitted for wireworm surveying from 2004-2017.

Approximately 600 samples were submitted, with the number of larvae per sample typically less than five (Fig. 1).  More samples are welcome, particularly from areas currently not well represented on the maps.  Please provide either the legal land description or latitude and longitude coordinates with a sample.  Any information on the cropping history or whether fields were irrigated is helpful.

The main findings of this survey are that:
1. Wireworms are re-emerging as primary pests of cereals and other crops, particularly in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan.  This can be attributed to several factors, including changes in seeding and cultivation resulting in higher soil moisture and increased food availability, and therefore greater wireworm survival; the elimination of effective insecticides such as lindane and the decline of organochlorine residues in the soil; and the present lack of insecticides that actually kill wireworms.

2. Limonius californicus is generally the predominant pest species in fields reporting heavy wireworm damage, occasionally building up to very high populations and resulting in complete crop wrecks (Fig. 2).  This was not the case when Glen et al. (1943) or Doane (1977) conducted their surveys; L. californicus was considered a minor species at those times.  Selatosomus destructor (Fig. 3) and Hypnoidus bicolor (Fig. 4) are still the most common species.  The pest status of another commonly found species, the predaceous Aeolus mellillus (Fig. 5), is unclear.  The following species listed by Glen et al. (1943) as pests of agriculture in the Prairie Provinces were found also, but infrequently: Agriotes mancusA. criddleiA. stabilisHemicrepidius memnoniusL. pectoralis, and various Dalopius sp.

Figure 2.  Distribution of Limonius californicus (Coleoptera: Elateridae) submitted for
wireworm surveying from 2004-2017.
Figure 3.  Distribution of Selatosomus destructor (Coleoptera: Elateridae) submitted for
wireworm surveying from 2004-2017.
Figure 4.  Distribution of Hypniodes bicolor (Coleoptera: Elateridae) submitted for
wireworm surveying from 2004-2017.
Figure 5. Distribution of Aeolus mellillus (Coleoptera: Elateridae) submitted for
wireworm surveying from 2004-2017.

3. Multiple pest species are frequently found in the same fields where damage is reported (i.e. about 25% of the time, despite the small number of larvae per sample).  This is particularly important as pest species can vary considerably in the type of damage they cause (e.g. it remains unclear if H. bicolor is damaging to potato), their life history (e.g. duration of the larval stage), and susceptibility to insecticides.

Details related to the biology and management of these species are reviewed in van Herk and Vernon (2014) and Vernon and van Herk (2013).

Acknowledgements:
These maps are only possible thanks to the collections done by a large team of local entomologists and agrologists.  We are extremely grateful to them; thank you to everyone who participated!  A special thank you to Ted Labun and colleagues at Syngenta Crop Protection (Canada), and to Bayer CropScience, for providing the bulk of the samples. 

Disclaimer: 
Please do not distribute or use the contents of this post, including any maps, without obtaining prior permission.

Obtain further information or arrange shipment of wireworm or click beetle samples by contacting:
Dr. Wim van Herk
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Agassiz Research and Development Centre
6947 Highway 7, Agassiz, BC, V0M 1A0
wim.vanherk@agr.gc.ca

Further wireworm reading:
Burrage RH (1964) Trends in damage by wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in grain crops in Saskatchewan, 1954–1961. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 44: 515–519.  https://doi.org/10.4141/cjps64-102 


Doane JF (1977) Spatial pattern and density of Ctenicera destructor and Hypolithus bicolor (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in soil in spring wheat. The Canadian Entomologist 109: 807–822. https://doi.org/10.4039/Ent109807-6


Doane JF (1977) The flat wireworm, Aeolus mellillus: studies on seasonal occurrence of adults and incidence of the larvae in the wireworm complex attacking wheat in Saskatchewan. Environmental Entomology 6: 818–822. https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/6.6.818 


Glen R, King KM, Arnason AP (1943) The identification of wireworms of economic importance in Canada. Canadian Journal of Research 21: 358-387. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjr43d-030


van Herk WG, Vernon RS (2014) Click beetles and wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  In: Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 4): Biodiversity and Systematics Part 2. (Edited by D.J. Giberson and H.A. Carcamo).  Biological Survey of Canada, pp. 87-117. https://biologicalsurvey.ca/monographs/read/17


Vernon RS, van Herk WG (2013) Wireworms as pests of potato. In: Insect pests of potato: Global perspectives on biology and management.  (Edited by P. Giordanengo, C. Vincent, A. Alyokhin).  Academic Press, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 103–164.  https://www.elsevier.com/books/insect-pests-of-potato/alyokhin/978-0-12-386895-4 


Zacharuk RY (1962) Distribution, habits, and development of Ctenicera destructor (Brown) in western Canada, with notes on the related species C. aeripennis (Kby.) (Coleoptera: Elateridae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 40: 539–552.  https://doi.org/10.1139/z62-046

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 June 4, 2018, predicted hatch was 51% (31% last week; long term average was 11%).  Hatch is predicted to be nearly complete in southeast AB and southern MB (Fig. 1). Grasshopper populations are primarily in the first instar (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Grasshopper hatch (%) based on model simulations, for April 1-June 4, 2018.
Figure 2.  Percent of grasshopper population that is in the first instar, based on model simulations, for April 1-June 4, 2018.
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 indicates that CLB are primarily in the larval stage (Fig. 1). 

Figure 1.  Percent of cereal leaf beetle population that is in the larval stage,
based on model simulations, for April 1-June 4, 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– The BAW model is predicting that pupae are developing rapidly in the soil and that development is well ahead of average (Fig. 1).  Development is expected to be 5 – 6 days faster than average. 


Though cooler temperatures have slowed BAW development, moths are predicted to emerge 10 days ahead of average (Table 1). Pupal development is approximately 82% (Fig. 1).  Model output predicts that emergence may begin as early as June 9th.


Table 1. Projected dates for BAW adult emergence for June 4, 2018 (projected to June 30, 2018).


Figure 1.  Predicted bertha armyworm pupal development (as of June 3, 2018).

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.

Pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– The PLW model predicts that oviposition is occurring across southern and central regions of the prairies (example Red Deer (Fig. 9). 

Figure 1.  Predicted pea leaf weevil phenology at Red Deer AB. 
Values are based on model simulations, for April 1-May 28, 2018 (projected to July 15, 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.

Alfalfa weevil

Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica) – The AAW model runs for Swift Current SK indicate that oviposition is well underway in southern Saskatchewan (Fig. 1).  Larvae should be primarily second and third instars.  Fourth instar larvae may be occurring as well. 

Figure 1.  Average developmental alfalfa weevil stage. 
Values are based on model simulations, for April 1-June 4, 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.

Cabbage seedpod weevil

Cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus) –  There is one generation of CSPW per year and the overwintering stage is the adult which is an ash-grey weevil measuring 3-4mm long (Refer to lower left photo).  Adults typically overwinter in soil beneath leaf litter within shelter belts and roadside ditches.




Monitoring:  
 ● Begin sampling when the crop first enters the bud stage and continue through the flowering. 
 ● Sweep-net samples should be taken at ten locations within the field with ten 180° sweeps per location.  
 ● Count the number of weevils at each location. Samples should be taken in the field perimeter as well as throughout the field.  
 ● Adults will invade fields from the margins and if infestations are high in the borders, application of an insecticide to the field margins may be effective in reducing the population to levels below which economic injury will occur.  
 ● An insecticide application is recommended when three to four weevils per sweep are collected and has been shown to be the most effective when canola is in the 10 to 20% bloom stage (2-4 days after flowering starts). 
 ● Consider making insecticide applications late in the day to reduce the impact on pollinators.  Whenever possible, provide advanced warning of intended insecticide applications to commercial beekeepers operating in the vicinity to help protect foraging pollinators.  
 ● High numbers of adults in the fall may indicate the potential for economic infestations the following spring.


Damage: Adult feeding damage to buds is more evident in dry years when canola is unable to compensate for bud loss.  Adults mate following a pollen meal then the female will deposit a single egg through the wall of a developing pod or adjacent to a developing seed within the pod (refer to lower right photo).  Eggs are oval and an opaque white, each measuring ~1mm long.  Typically a single egg is laid per pod although, when CSPW densities are high, two or more eggs may be laid per pod.

There are four larval instar stages of the CSPW and each stage is white and grub-like in appearance ranging up to 5-6mm in length (refer to lower left photo).  The first instar larva feeds on the cuticle on the outside of the pod while the second instar larva bores into the pod, feeding on the developing seeds.  A single larva consumes about 5 canola seeds.  The mature larva chews a small, circular exit hole from which it drops to the soil surface and pupation takes place in the soil within an earthen cell.  Approximately 10 days later, the new adult emerges to feed on maturing canola pods.  Later in the season these new adults migrate to overwintering sites beyond the field.


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

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

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


Manitoba‘s Insect and Disease Update for 2018 will be posted soon. Review the most recent update (June 4, 2018) prepared by John Gavloski and Holly Derksen. The insect update notes flea beetles in canola and cutworms with monitoring for alfalfa weevil larvae underway. Diamondback moth trap numbers remain low and bertha armyworm pheromone traps will go up this week.

Saskatchewan‘s Crop Production News for 2018 is now posted. Access Report #1 posted May 31, 2018, and be sure to review the articles posted for flea beetles and pea leaf weevils to prepare for field scouting. Also know that Saskatchewan growers can review diamondback moth pheromone trap counts in the upper right of the diamondback moth page.

Access 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 31, 2018) and highlights scouting for flea beetles with the warmer weather, glassy cutworms in perennial forages crops and more recently in the irrigated acres to the south of the province (please report using online cutworm reporting tool), relatively low numbers of diamondback moth on pheromone traps in the 4th week of monitoring and relatively low pea leaf weevil numbers so far based on field assessments completed in southern Alberta to date.

Crop reports

Crop reports are produced by:
• Manitoba Agriculture, Rural Development (June 4, 2018)
• Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report (May 22-28, 2018)
• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Crop Report (May 29, 2018)

The following crop reports are also available:
• The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) produces a Crop Progress Report (view the June 4, 2018 edition).

• The USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (view the June 5, 2018 edition).

Monarch migration

We continue to track the migration of the Monarch butterflies as they move north by checking the 2018 Monarch Migration Map!  A screen shot of the map has been placed below as an example (retrieved 29May2018) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map! 


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

Previous Posts

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

Cereal aphid manager (CAM) – Week 2
Crop protection guides – Week 2
Cutworms – Week 4


Flea beetles – Week 4


PMRA Pesticide Label Mobile App – Week 4

Scouting charts (canola and flax) – Week 3


Ticks and Lyme Disease – Week 4

Weather radar – Week 3

Insect of the Week – Pea leaf weevil

This week’s “Insect of the Week” is the Pea Leaf Weevil. Larval hosts are field peas and faba beans. Adults can spread to other cultivated and wild legumes, such as alfalfa, beans and lentils. Each adult female lays up to 300 eggs in one summer! The eggs hatch in the soil near developing plants and larvae move to feed on nitrogen-fixing nodules. This results in partial or complete inhibition of nitrogen fixation by the plant, causing poor plant growth. Adults feed on leaves and growing points of seedlings, causing notches in leaf margins.

Adult, larval and egg stages overlap and all three can be present over most of the growing season. For more information about Pea Leaf Weevil risk in your area, see the 2017 Insect Risk Maps page. Also, we have posted a NEW Pea Leaf Weevil monitoring protocol.

For more information on the pea leaf weevil, see the Insect of the Week page.

Pea leaf weevil – adult, eggs (Mike Dolinski, MikeDolinsky@hotmail.com)

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 5 (Jun 1, 2017) OR 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 – Across the prairies, this week’s average temperatures were slightly cooler than normal.

After a wetter week in central and northern Alberta, the most current 7-day rainfall was greater in the east of central Alberta into central Saskatchewan down into Manitoba. 

The 30-day rainfall amounts were average to below average across the southern prairies.

The map below reflects the Accumulated Precipitation for the Growing Season so far for the prairie provinces (i.e., April 1-May 31, 2017):


The map below shows the Lowest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 25-31, 2017) across the prairies:


Whereas the map below shows the Highest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 25-31, 2017):


The updated growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – May 28, 2017) is below:



While the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – May 28, 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.

2017 Wind Trajectories

THE WEEK OF MAY 29, 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 23, 2017:

Reverse trajectories (RT)

Overall, the number of RTs entering the prairies from the Pacific
Northwest has been lower than average. The map (Fig. 1) shows that the greatest number
of RTs from the Pacific Northwest continued to be across southern Alberta.


Figure 1. Number of Reverse Trajectories (RT) originating in the Pacific Northwest that
arrived at sites across the Canadian prairies from April 1-May 29, 2017.


Weather forecasts (7 day):

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!  

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 the Manitoba Agriculture cutworm fact sheet which includes action and economic thresholds for cutworms in several crops. 


For Albertans….. If you find cutworms, please consider using the Alberta Pest Surveillance Network’s “2017 Cutworm Reporting Tool”.  The map now has reports of pale western and redbacked cutworms in central and southern Alberta so view the live 2017 cutworm map.


Check the Insect of the Week – the month of May highlighted cutworms!  Be sure to read more about Pale western cutworms, Redbacked cutworms, Army cutwormsDingy cutworms.

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 29, 2017, the CLB model indicates that larvae should be present across the southern prairies (Fig. 1). Compared to Lethbridge AB, populations near Brandon MB are predicted to be delayed by approximately five days. At Lethbridge, the hatch should be almost complete, while hatch should be approximately 50% complete near Brandon.

Figure 1. Predicted percent of Cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus) in larval stage
across the Canadian prairies as of May 29, 2017.

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 (~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. 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.


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) – Reminder – Biological information and photos of all life stages of this insect can reviewed on the Week 4 post.  The larval stage of this weevil feeds on alfalfa leaves in a manner that characterizes the pest as a “skeletonizer”.  


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 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.




As of May 29, 2017, embryological development (hatch) is predicted to be greatest across south and central regions of the prairies (Fig. 2). 

Figure 1.  Heat units accumulated necessary for the development of Alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica)
across the Canadian prairies (April 1-May 29, 2017).

The map below reflects the predicted stage of development of alfalfa weevil (as of May 29th) and suggests the percent of the population at first instar stage across the Canadian prairies (as of May 29th).

Figure 2.  Predicted percent of H. postica population at first instar stage
across the Canadian prairies (as of May 29, 2017).
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) and additional information can be accessed by reviewing the Alfalfa Weevil Page extracted from the “Field crop and forage pests and their natural enemies in western Canada – Identification and management field guide” (Philip et al. 2015).  That guide is available in both a free English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Pea leaf weevil

Pea Leaf Weevil (Sitona lineatus– This week is our PLW Blitz featuring this pest with:
  -The Insect of the Week
  -Updated model outputs and phenological predictions for 2017 (as of May 29, 2017), and 
  – A NEWLY UPDATED Monitoring Protocol (Vankosky et al. 2017)!


The PLW model was run for Lethbridge AB and Saskatoon SK. Current weather data was used then extended by Long Term Normal climate data (May 30-Jun 30) in order to predict pea leaf weevil phenology.  Compared to last week, model output indicated that oviposition has been delayed by ~5-7 days.  As of May 29th, phenologies for eggs and larvae were predicted to be similar for both locations (Fig. 1-2)

Figure 1. Pea leaf weevil model predicting phenology for 2017 near Saskatoon SK.


Figure 2. Pea leaf weevil model predicting phenology for 2017 near Lethbridge AB.





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 and a NEWLY UPDATED PPMN monitoring protocol is available!


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 29, 2017, predicted mean embryological development was 77% (70% last week); the greatest development was predicted to be across southern regions in all three provinces, particularly southern Alberta (Fig. 1). Hatch was predicted for a few, isolated locations with approximately 7% hatch (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Predicted embryological development of Migratory grasshopper  (Melanoplus
sanguinipes
) eggs across the Canadian prairies as of May 29, 2017.



For comparison, the map below (Fig. 2) indicates that the predicted M. sanguinipes hatch is actually slower than normal. This week, 93% of the population should be in the egg stage and 6.5% in the first instar. Predicted warm conditions for May 31 and June 1 should result in completion of the egg stage.  Though it is still early in the growing season, grasshopper hatch can vary across the prairies. 

Figure 2.   Predicted embryological development of Migratory grasshopper  (Melanoplus sanguinipes) eggs
across the Canadian prairies as of May 29, 2017, using Long Term Normal data
.





Reminders:
– Review the predicted M. sanguinipes phenologies generated for Week 4 for Regina SK, Lethbridge AB and Grande Prairie AB.
– The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s 2017 Grasshopper Forecast Map can be viewed here.  

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 – Wheat midge

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


Since last week, the wheat midge model indicates that wheat midge larvae should be moving to the soil surface this week and the adult emergence has been delayed by 5-7 days (i.e., now predicted to start the first week of June).


Review the 2017 wheat midge forecast map circulated in January by accessing the Risk and Forecast Maps Post.


Information related to wheat midge biology and monitoring can be accessed by linking to your provincial fact sheet (Saskatchewan Agriculture or Alberta Agriculture & Forestry).  A review of wheat midge on the Canadian prairies was published by Elliott, Olfert, and Hartley in 2011.


More information about Wheat midge can be found by accessing the pages from the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide”.  View ONLY the Wheat midge pages but remember the guide is available as a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Weekly Update – Predicted Bertha Armyworm Development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– As of May 28th, predicted pupal development is well underway. We are fortunate to have two methods projecting pupal development:
–> Figure 1 reflects pupal development BASED ON DEGREE DAYS ONLY.
–> Figure 2 reflects pupal development BASED ON CLIMEX MODELLING (i.e., incorporates environmental data + biological data for organisms) AND legend is designed to estimate WHEN PHEROMONE TRAPS SHOULD BE DEPLOYED (i.e., pheromone traps are best deployed at ~80% pupal development). 

Figure 1. Predicted stage of pupal development of overwintered Bertha armyworm (based on Degree-Day heat units) set to emerge in 2017.


FIGURE 2. Predicted pupal development of Bertha armyworm (based on Climex model and legend designed to reflect that pheromone traps are best deployed at ~80% pupal development).



More specifically, Figure 2 shows the average pupal development is 50% (36% last week), and as high as 75% at a number of locations. The three graphs below show that adult emergence is predicted to be six days sooner in the Winnipeg region than in fields near Vegreville and ten days sooner than the Yorkton area.  





IMPORTANTThe table indicates predicted dates of first appearance of adults for specific locations across the prairies. We generally suggest that traps go out when pupal development is at 80%. Adult emergence generally occurs within 5-7 days after 80% development. As of May 29, 2017, there is a large area in southern Alberta that is greater than 70%. 






Reminder – 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.

Provincial Insect Pest Reports

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


Manitoba’s Insect and Disease Update for 2017 is prepared by John Gavloski and Pratisara Bajracharya and have now been posted (May 24, 2017, May 31, 2017). Read the latest issue which:
– Reports low insect pest issues so far in that province.
– Notes a limited amount of spraying for cutworms.
– Includes detailed flea beetle monitoring tips.
– Reports low numbers through May in Diamondback pheromone traps.
– And finally, Manitoba Agriculture is advising Manitoban cooperators to deploy Bertha armyworm pheromone traps June 5-10, 2017.

Saskatchewan’s 2017 Crop Production News – Issue #1 (date) is now posted and includes insect pest information prepared by Scott Hartley and Danielle Stephens.  Read the latest update including:
– Information on wireworms, cutworms and other arthropods that will be present in the soil during scouting.

Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land and access the most recent Insect Update (June 1, 2017) provided by Scott Meers who:
– Emphasized the importance of scouting for flea beetle feeding in canola and application of action threshold of 25% when examining the cotyledons.
– Noted lower reports of cutworms last week.
– And finally, Albertan cooperators are advised to target June 12, 2017 to deploy Bertha armyworm pheromone traps across that province.

Crop reports

Crop reports are produced by:
• Manitoba Agriculture, Rural Development (May 29, 2017)
• Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report (May 23-29, 2017)
• Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Crop Report (May 23, 2017)

International reports are produced by:
• The United States Department of Agriculture’s Crop Progress Report (May 30, 2017)

Weekly Update – Weather Radar

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.



Weekly Update – PMRA Pesticide Label Mobile App

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 31May2017).

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 01Jun2017) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map!  They’ve migrated into southern Ontario and Quebec! 

Weekly Update – Brood X Cicadas

Cicadas are well known for their long life cycles.  Some species follow an annual life cycle but the more “famous” have broods that emerge on 13- or 17-year cycles.  The big news this year in North America is that Brood X cicadas are emerging 4 years earlier than anticipated!


Researchers originally following the emergence of Brood VI cicadas in South Carolina and Georgia observed Brood X cicadas emerging this spring.  The phenomenon was then observed in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Ohio and Indiana.  

Researchers continue to follow the emergence of both broods of cicadas but the earlier-than-expected appearance of Brood X is described to be related to, “warming climate, with more warm weeks a year during which the underground nymphs can grow” which, “could be triggering some cicadas to emerge ahead of their brood”.  Read the Scientific American article to learn more.

Weekly Update – Previous Posts

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

Canola scouting chart

Crop protection guides

Diamondback moth

Flax scouting chart


Iceberg reports



Lily leaf beetle



Ticks and Lyme disease

Forest tent caterpillars in Saskatchewan

Thanks to Scott Hartley who provided this update – Forest tent caterpillars have been reported in
high numbers across the province of Saskatchewan, primarily in urban areas, parks and
shelterbelts. Trees are the main host to this insect. Although there have been reports
of the caterpillars in alfalfa and canola, feeding damage will not be
significant. 

Bacillus thuringiensis
var. kurstaki (Btk) is the recommended control product as it is specific to
moth and butterfly larvae (caterpillars). It is not considered dangerous to
pollinators due to the ingestion mode of action and as they are in a different
insect order the kurstaki strain of Bt is not toxic to the bees that may be
foraging in flowering trees. Although other chemical insecticides are
registered, they tend to affect a broad spectrum of insects including foraging
pollinators. 

Weekly Update – Weather Synopsis

Across the prairies, meteorological conditions were similar to long term average values for the period of May 22-29, 2016. The average temperature was 11.2 °C and was similar to the previous seven days. For the second week in a row temperatures were warmer in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan than western Saskatchewan and Alberta. 


This week’s rainfall was generally greater than long term average amounts. The region northeast of Edmonton and locations within southeastern Manitoba reported significant rainfall amounts while lower amounts were reported for southern Alberta and most of Saskatchewan.  The map below shows the Accumulated Precipitation the past 7 days (i.e., May 22-29, 2016): 



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



Compared to last week, soil moisture levels were predicted improve across most of the prairies:





The west was cooler compared to the east in terms of overnight temperatures over the last week.  The map below shows the Lowest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 24-30, 2016) across the prairies:

The map below shows the Highest Temperatures the Past 7 Days (May 24-30, 2016):

The updated growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºC, March 1 – May 29, 2016) is below:



While the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – May 29, 2015) is below:


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

Weekly Update – Canola scouting chart

We again post our generalized canola scouting chart to aid in-field scouting on the Canadian prairies. The version below contains hyperlinks to help growers learn more about some of our insect pests and how to monitor for them. 

Weekly Update – Diamondback moth

Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Pheromone traps attracting male Diamondback moths (Fig. 1) have been deployed across the prairies.  

Figure 1. Diamondback moth.


Counts will be reported by the provincial staff in Saskatchewan.  Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives posted low DBM counts which can be reviewed within their second Insect Report.  Alberta Agriculture and Forestry has a live 2016 map reporting Diamondback moth pheromone trap interceptions.  A copy of the map (retrieved June 1, 2016) is below for reference.


Larval Monitoring:
Once the diamondback moth is present in the area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvae.  Remove the plants in an area measuring 0.1 m2 (about 12″ square), beat them on to a clean surface and count the number of larvae (Fig. 2) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.
Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.


Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
Economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1 m2 (approximately 2-3 larvae per plant).  Economic thresholds for canola or mustard in the early flowering stage are not available. However, insecticide applications are likely required at larval densities of 10 to 15 larvae/ 0.1 m2 (approximately 1-2 larvae per plant).


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) – 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  them 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.

Also refer to the previous Flea beetle post on the Blog.

Weekly Update – Cutworms

Cutworms (Noctuidae) – Reminder – 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 Manitobans….Last week’s Insect Update includes great photos of dingy and redbacked cutworms plus monitoring tips which include how to discern these two species from one another.


For Saskatchewanians….Cutworms have been reported in several areas of the Province this spring. Affected crops include pea, lentil, barley and canola. If damage is significant and re-seeding is an option, seed first then spray an insecticide registered for cutworms in the applicable crop. Recommended economic thresholds for cutworms are:
   – 25 to 30 per cent stand reduction (canola)
   – 3 to 6 cutworms / square metre (wheat, barley, oats)
   – 2 to 3 cutworms / sq. metre (pea, lentil)
   – 4 to 5 / sq. metre (flax)

For Albertans….. Cutworms have been reported throughout the province the past week!  If you find cutworms, 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 (01Jun2016) below for your reference and this week it includes additional reporting sites!




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.  The aim or the modelling is to predict the development of Alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) across the prairies and to help growers time their in-field scouting as second-instar larvae are predicted to occur.  Compare the following predicted development stages and degree-day values copied below (Soroka 2015) to the map below.


This week, alfalfa growers situated within ANY shade of purple should prioritize scouting for second instar larvae and compare it to the action threshold for alfalfa weevil which varies according to end use and crop stage.  



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


Weekly Update – Predicted Bertha Armyworm Development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Bertha armyworm (BAW) pupal development is progressing well.  Pheromone traps should be deployed in areas highlighted yellow in the map below.


Those monitoring BAW pheromone traps may want to compare trap “catches” to the following reference photo kindly shared by Saskatchewan Agriculture below:


Weekly Update – Predicted Grasshopper Development

Grasshoppers (Acrididae) – This past week, warm conditions conditions in Saskatchewan were predicted to result in enhanced development. 


For the week of May 29, 2016, the predicted mean embryological development was 87% and indicates that grasshopper hatch will continue to progress over the next week to ten days. The model predicted that 23% of the hatch is complete (compared to 13% predicted last week). Approximately 15% of the population was predicted to be in the first instar and 7% in the second instar.



The following image showing various stages of the clearwinged grasshopper is provided below – note that adults have wings extending the length of the abdomen whereas nymphs lack wings but develop wing buds that will eventually mature to wings.  




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.

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 (May 25, 2016, prepared by John Gavloski and Pratisara Bajracharya).

– Saskatchewan’s Unofficial Insect Update – which included Pea leaf weevil, cutworms, and forest tent caterpillars.
– Watch for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Call of the Land for updates from Scott Meers  who recently gave a summary (posted on May 26, 2016).

Weekly Update – Crop Protection Guides

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 – Weather Radar

If fields are near one of Environment Canada’s radar stations, consider accessing weather radar maps in video format that 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.




Weekly Update – Monarch migration

Track the migration of the Monarch butterflies and they move north by checking the 2016 Monarch Migration Map!  Sightings have been reported in southern Ontario and southern British Columbia by now!  A screen shot of the map has been placed below as an example (retrieved 01Jun2016) but follow the hyperlink to check the interactive map!

Insect of the Week – Ground beetles

Ground beetles (predator)


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


This week’s Insect of the Week is the ground beetle. There are nearly 400 known ground beetle species on the prairies. Some of these provide important pest control service: eating redbacked cutworm eggs, grasshopper eggs, pea leaf weevil eggs, cabbage maggots and diamondback moth larvae. See more information in the new Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada – Identification and Management Field Guide for identification, life cycle and conservation options (download links for field guide available on the Insect of the Week page).



The ground beetle Pterostichus melanarius can help prevent pest outbreaks of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella). © Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility (www.cbif.gc.ca)
For those that just can’t get enough about the fascinating world of insects, Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) of the Prairie Grasslands of Canada is a recent literature review on the topic.

Weekly Update

A downloadable PDF version of the complete Weekly Update for Week 5 (June 1, 2016) can be accessed here.  


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

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



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

Wind Trajectories

THE WEEK OF MAY 30, 2016:  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 30, 2016:

Reverse trajectories (RT)
Mexico and southwest USA – Gainsborough SK and Carman MB continue to have RT’s that originate across southwestern USA  and Mexico this week.  





The following are RTs originating from the Pacific Northwest of the USA:




Forward trajectories (FT) 
None to report this week. 



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


Downloadable versions of the Wind Trajectory Updates are available here.

Pea leaf weevil

Pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus) – Be aware that higher densities of pea leaf weevil and higher levels of feeding damage have been observed in 2016 compared to 2015.  The 2015 pea leaf weevil risk map, based on damage observed on peas, is below as reference.

  





Review the updates provided by Carcamo for southern Alberta and Hartley related to southwest Saskatchewan posted last week.  


Reminder – 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 (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The pea leaf weevil, Sitona lineatus, measures ~5mm long (Photo: H. Goulet).


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 (Link here for the Pea leaf weevil monitoring protocol with photos of related weevils).  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 (Figure 2).  Females lay 1000 to 1500 eggs in the soil either near or on developing pea or faba bean plants from May to June.

Figure 2. Feeding notches on clam leaf of pea plant resulting from pea leaf weevil (Photo: L. Dosdall).

Wind Trajectories

THE WEEK OF MAY 30, 2016:  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 30, 2016:

Reverse trajectories (RT) – Mexico and southwest USA
Gainsborough SK and Carman MB continue to have RT’s that originate across southwestern USA  and Mexico this week.  

Reverse Trajectories originating from Mexico and southwest USA between April 1-May 30, 2016:



Forward trajectories (FT) 
No forward trajectories  from southwestern USA so far this week. 





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




Downloadable versions of the Wind Trajectory Updates are available here.

NEW! Field Guide to Support Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Field and Forage Crops – NOW available for download



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

Whether you’re a new or experienced producer, agrologist or field scout in Western Canada, “What’s ‘bugging’ this crop?” and “Does it need to be controlled?” are typical questions raised when scouting for pests in a field of grain, oilseed, pulse or forage.
This new, 152-page, full-colour field guide, now available online, is designed to help you make informed decisions in managing over 90 harmful pests of field and forage crops in Western Canada. Better decision making helps save time and effort and eliminates unnecessary pesticide applications to improve your bottom line. The guide also helps the reader identify many natural enemies that prey on or parasitize pest insects. Recognizing and fostering populations of natural enemies will enhance their role in keeping or reducing pest populations below economic levels.
FREE download from www.publications.gc.ca
Click here to download English, French


What you’ll find inside:
Description of over 90 economic pests and 30+ natural enemy species or species groups:
  • diagnostic characteristics
  • life cycle
  • damage
  • monitoring/scouting techniques
  • economic threshold
  • control options: biological, cultural and chemical
Large full-colour photos depicting various life stages of featured pests and natural enemies
Overview of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies
Natural enemy and pest relationships


Book Description
Author: Hugh Philip, 2015
Published by: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon, SK [with funding from the Pest Management Centre’s Pesticide Risk Reduction Program]
Pages: 152
Downloadable formats: pdf and pdf-enhanced [features internal hyperlinks allowing the reader to quickly jump to referenced pages]
Languages: Available in English and French
French title: 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
Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.6 cm (landscape)
Document numbers – regular pdf
  • ISBN: 978-1-100-25768-6
  • Catalogue Number: A59-23/2015E-PDF
  • Department Number: AAFC No. 12327E
Document numbers – pdf-enhanced
  • ISBN: 978-1-100-25952-9
  • Catalogue Number: A59-23/2015E-PDF1
  • Department Number: AAFC No. 12346E

Insect of the Week – Pea leaf weevil

This week’s Insect of the Week highlights pea leaf weevil (from the new Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada – Identification and Management Field Guide). 

Alfalfa Weevil Biology and Management Fact Sheet

Calling all alfalfa producers: Have you seen this culprit feeding on alfalfa leaves?


Contact julie.soroka@agr.gc.ca for more information about this image.

Research led by Dr. Julie Soroka of AAFC-Saskatoon has resulted in a new Fact Sheet summarizing the biology and management of the Alfalfa weevil (Curculionidae: Hypera postica) which growers can view here.


Textual summary, photos of the weevil, the damage it causes AND the parasitoid that attacks it are all featured to aid in-field scouting and management of the Alfalfa weevil.

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: June 1,
2015
1.  Reverse
trajectories (RT)
Pacific Northwest (PNW) – Relative to the previous week,
there has been an increase in the number of
reverse trajectories that were predicted to cross the prairies over the
last few days (May 30 – 1; May 31 – 10; June 1 – 17).
2.  Forward
trajectories (FT)
 
For the last couple of
weeks the winds originating over southwest USA were generally tracking
eastward, to the Atlantic Ocean. Over the last few days, forward trajectories
are predicted to move north of 49oN before moving in an eastward
direction (e.g. Brownsville TX). Over the next few days these trajectories may
carry insects north to the prairies.
3.  Trajectory
summary for April 1-May 28, 2015
 
Based trajectory data from
April 1 – May 28, 2015, a greater number of trajectories were
predicted to arrive across the prairies originating from the Pacific northwest (Figure 1) compared to southwest USA
(Figure 2).

Figure 1
Figure 2