Access background information for how and why wind trajectories are monitored in this post.
1. REVERSE TRAJECTORIES (RT) Since May 1, 2021 the majority of reverse trajectories that have crossed the prairies originated from the Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon and Washington). For the past two weeks there have been an increasing number of reverse trajectories that moved north from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska (Fig. 1). Compared to previous years, the number incoming trajectories (May) has increased. Though these US regions can be a source of diamondback moths, the ECCC models predict air movement, not actual occurrence of diamondback moths. It should also be noted that host plants of diamondback moth include all plants in the Brassicacea family, including cruciferous weeds and volunteer canola. These plants are suitable hosts until canola emerges.
a. Pacific Northwest (Idaho, Oregon, Washington) – This week there have been 36 trajectories (44 last week) that have crossed Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In previous years, the majority of Pacific Northwest reverse trajectories usually have been reported to pass over southern Alberta. This growing season, PNW trajectories have crossed all parts of the prairies (Fig. 2). Compared to this time last year there has been a significant increase in the number of trajectories that have crossed Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan.
b. Mexico and southwest USA (Texas, California) – Compared to previous years, there has been a noticeable increase in number of trajectories from the southern US. This week there have been 54 trajectories (15 last week) that originated in Mexico and the southwestern US that have crossed the prairies (Fig. 3).
c. Oklahoma and Texas – This week there have been 51 trajectories (16 last week) that have passed over Manitoba, Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta that originated in Oklahoma or Texas (Fig. 4).
d. Kansas and Nebraska – This week there have been 63 trajectories (35 last week) that originated in Kansas or Nebraska that have passed over the prairies (Fig. 5). Relative to the reverse trajectories associated with Oklahoma and Texas, the trajectories from Kansas and Nebraska have crossed further into Alberta.
2. FORWARD TRAJECTORIES (FT) a. Forward trajectories, originating from Mexico and USA, have crossed a number of prairie locations since May 1, 2021. This week there has been a decrease in the number of trajectories that are predicted to cross the prairies (Fig. 6). The dates on the graph report when the trajectories originated in the USA (blue bars). These trajectories generally require 3-5 days to enter the prairies (red line). The data suggests that, compared to this week, there may be increased potential for the introduction of DBM to the prairies.
TEMPERATURE: This past week (May 17-23, 2021) began with hot dry conditions followed by cool/wet conditions (mid-week reports of snow and minimum temperatures less than 0 °C). Most of the prairies had significant rainfall over the weekend. The average temperature across the prairies was 1 °C cooler than normal (Fig. 1). For the second week temperatures were warmest across Manitoba. Temperatures were coolest across western Saskatchewan and most of Alberta.
The prairie-wide average 30-day temperature (April 24- May 23) was 0.4 °C less than climate normal values. The warmest temperatures were observed across the southern prairies (Table 1; Fig. 2). The 2021 growing season (April 1 – May 16) has been characterized by near-normal temperatures. Temperatures have been similar across the prairies (Table 2; Fig. 3).
The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5 ºC, April 1-May 24, 2021) is provided below (Fig. 4) while the growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10 ºC, April 1-May 24, 2021) is shown in Figure 5.
Many were uttering the f-word this past week… several areas were on the receiving end of frost and many folks are still watching to see how their crops recover. The lowest temperatures recorded ranged from <-14 to >0 °C (Fig. 6) while the highest temperatures (°C) observed across the Canadian prairies the past seven days ranged from <11 to >25 °C (Fig. 7).
PRECIPITATION: This week average precipitation for the prairies was 17 mm (Fig. 8). Last week the average was less than 2 mm. Conditions continued to be dry in a large region bounded by Swift Current, Saskatoon and Vegreville as well as central and northern areas of the Peace River region. Rainfall amounts for the period of April 24-May 23 (30-day accumulation) were 88 % of long-term average values. Rainfall was greatest for large areas of Alberta, southern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba (Table 1; Fig. 9). Average growing season (April 1 – May 23) precipitation was 86 % of normal (Table 1; Fig. 10). The map indicates that conditions continue to be very dry across the Peace River region, east-central Alberta, and west-central Saskatchewan.
Access Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather radar mapping interface. Options to access preceeding precipitation events include clicking off either an 1 or 3 hours time interval, using an 8-colour or 14-colour index. or changing the base map.
Two species, Phyllotreta striolata and P. cruciferae, are the most chronic and economically important flea beetle pests of cruciferous crops in western Canada. Bioclimate simulation models for the two flea beetle species were developed to assess how climatic factors influence shifts in their geographic distribution and relative abundance. Economic risk was associated with populations in the orange and red zones (Figs. 1-4). It is crucial to note that the following information is NOT based on flea beetle densites BUT IS INSTEAD reflecting the suitability of environmental factors for P. striolata and P. cruciferae to prosper in highlighted areas of the following maps.
This spring has been approximately 1 °C cooler than normal. Recent rain (May 23-24) has resulted in precipitation amounts that are normal to above normal (30-day total) across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Simulations were run to determine how the two flea beetle species might respond to cooler, wetter conditions (compared to average growing seasons). Based on average temperature and precipitation (based on long term climate normals) risk associated with P. cruciferae is most prevalent across the southern prairies and risk related to P. striolata tends to be greatest across the Parkland and Peace River regions (Figs. 1 and 2).
For both species, cooler/wetter conditions generally could result in reduced risk and southward shifts in distribution (Figs. 3 and 4). Cooler and wetter than average growing seasons were predicted to have less negative impact on P. striolata than P. cruciferae. For example, Peace River populations of P. striolata are predicted to present reduced risk with cooler, wetter conditions (compared to average climate). Under similar conditions, P. cruciferae was predicted to have significantly reduced risk in the Peace River region. Wetter than average conditions in Manitoba may result in reduced risk from P. cruciferae and P. striolata. Olfert et al. (2017) reported that both species were more sensitive to temperature than moisture. Potential risk related to warmer temperatures was greater for P. cruciferae than P. striolata. Producers should monitor flea beetle species composition, crop stage and weather to assess potential flea beetle risk to cruciferous crops.
If flea beetle densities are high, seedling damage levels can advance quickly – even within the same day! The cotyledon stage of canola is vulnerable to flea beetle feeding. Review photos of flea beetle feeding damage posted earlier in the Weekly Update (Wk 02 – May 14, 2021) to help assess percent defoliated and to apply the action threshold of 25 % leaf area of cotyledons consumed plus flea beetles were the Insect of the Week (Wk 02 – May 10)!
The cereal leaf beetle (CLB) model output predicts that egg hatch may be starting across the prairies. The graphs provide a comparison of development at Saskatoon (Fig. 1) and at Lethbridge (Fig. 2). The simulation indicates that second instar larvae may occur during the last week of May near Saskatoon and Lethbridge.
Lifecycle and Damage:
Adult: Adult cereal leaf beetles (CLB) have shiny bluish-black wing covers (Fig. 3). The thorax and legs are light orange-brown. Females (4.9 to 5.5 mm) are slightly larger than males (4.4 to 5 mm). Adult beetles overwinter in and along the margins of grain fields in protected places such as in straw stubble, under crop and leaf litter, and in the crevices of tree bark. They favour sites adjacent to shelterbelts, deciduous and conifer forests. They emerge in the spring once temperatures reach 10-15 ºC and the adults are active for about 6 weeks. They usually begin feeding on grasses, then move into winter cereals and later into spring cereals.
Egg: Eggs are laid approximately 14 days following the emergence of the adults. Eggs are laid singly or in pairs along the midvein on the upper side of the leaf and are cylindrical, measuring 0.9 mm by 0.4 mm, and yellowish in colour. Eggs darken to black just before hatching.
Larva: The larvae hatch in about 5 days and feed for about 3 weeks, passing through 4 growth stages (instars). The head and legs are brownish-black; the body is yellowish. Larvae are usually covered with a secretion of mucus and fecal material, giving them a shiny black, wet appearance (Fig. 4). When the larva completes its growth, it drops to the ground and pupates in the soil.
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.
Model simulations for alfalfa weevil (AAW) predict that oviposition should be well underway across the prairies. The following graphs indicate that development is similar near Swift Current SK (Fig. 1) and Brandon MB (Fig. 2). The model predicts that that hatch may occur during the last week of May and that second instar larvae could be present during the first week of June.
The larval stage of this weevil feeds on alfalfa leaves in a manner that characterizes the pest as a “skeletonizer” (Fig. 3). The green larva featuring a dorsal, white line down the length of its body has a dark brown head capsule and will grow to 9 mm 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” (2018; accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).
Model simulations to May 23, 2021, indicate that overwintered BAW pupal development (Fig. 1, C) varies across the prairies. Development is predicted to be greatest across the southern prairies (Fig. 2). Based on current development, adult emergence is projected to occur in mid-June.
The grasshopper simulation model will be used to monitor grasshopper development across the prairies. Weekly temperature data collected across the prairies is incorporated into the simulation model which calculates estimates of grasshopper development stages based on biological parameters for Melanoplus sanguinipes (Migratory grasshopper).
Model simulations were used to estimate grasshopper egg development as of May 23, 2021. Average development of eggs is 73 % and is well ahead of the long-term average of 62 %. Since last week, developmental rates increased at all locations. Recent warm conditions across southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba have been responsible for the advanced development of eggs near Regina, Brandon and Winnipeg (Fig. 1). The simulation predicted that development was greatest across most of the southern prairies (Fig. 2).
The model was projected to June 7 to determine potential development at Winnipeg and Lethbridge over the next two weeks (Figs. 3 and 4). Results suggest that by June 7 hatch could be at 20 % for Lethbridge and approximately 35 % near Winnipeg. Drought conditions tend to favour development of grasshopper populations while delaying crop development. If dry conditions persist, crop development may be delayed across Manitoba. This may result in conditions conducive to crop damage from grasshoppers as the hatch progresses in late May and early June.
Researchers based at the University of Alberta are conducting a survey of pestiferous slugs and their associated nematode parasites from agricultural fields of Alberta. Last year, a peer-reviewed article was published (Nematology2020) which reported for the first time the presence of a parasitic nematode in Canada. The parasite can kill slugs and could have a role as a potential biocontrol agent against slug populations.
The slug survey continues this summer with researchers hoping to connect with producers who are interested in participating. If interested, please contact researchers at email@example.com now to participate by: ● Either allowing U of A staff to collect slugs from fields (1-2 times/month) or ● Arranging to send live slugs encountered in the field (please email first to obtain detailed collection instructions).
Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for SK – follow this link to find current DBM counts. At this point, extremely low numbers have been intercepted but monitoring continues. Seven moths were reported across the entire province so far (2021May19 Carter, pers. comm.).
• ALBERTA’SAlberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network webpage links to insect survey maps, live feed maps, and insect trap set-up videos and more. Reminder – NEW for 2021 – AAF’s Shelley Barkley has gathered and streamlined information into a Major Crops Insect webpage. The new webpage does not replace the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network page. However, the new Major Crops Insect webpage serves as a table of contents, connecting users to crop insect pest information on alberta.ca. It offers links to specific insect identification, life cycle, damage, monitoring and management. Users will hopefully find pertinent insect information with fewer clicks! Remember, AAF’s Agri-News occasionally includes insect-related information or Twitter users can connect to #ABBugChat Wednesdays at 10:00 am.
Diamondback moth pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Refer to the Live Map which reports 12 sites, each with extremely low numbers, for a total of only 15 moths intercepted (as of 27May2021).
Cutworm reporting tool for AB – Refer to the Live Map which reports two sites with cutworms (as of 27May2021).
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.
The pea leaf weevil is a slender greyish-brown insect measuring approximately 5 mm in length. These insects can be distinguished by three light-coloured stripes extending length-wise down the thorax and sometimes the abdomen. All species of Sitona, including the pea leaf weevil, have a short snout. Mature larva grow up to 3.5-5.5 mm long, and are legless and c-shaped with a brown head.