The final WEEKLY UPDATE of the 2022 growing season is here!
Thank you to the many people who performed and supported insect pest monitoring in field crops this year! The Prairie Pest Monitoring Network brings together a unique array of incredible cooperators and collaborators at federal, provincial, regional, post-secondary, and industry levels across western Canada! Thanks to these many individuals! The PPMN also thanks our many contributors to the Weekly Updates and Insect of the Week who stand as co-authors at the top of each Post. Last but not least, a small number of key individuals ensure 16 weeks of pertinent content are available through the growing season on behalf of the PPMN – thank you to Ross Weiss, Tamara Rounce, Serge Trudel, Cynthia Schock, Meghan Vankosky, and Jennifer Otani.
Vital insect pest data originates from in-field observations – that’s THE FOUNDATION – and now, more than ever, researchers need support and permission to continue to collect and build the many integral data sets needed to enable improvements in the detection, monitoring, and management of pest risk in field crops grown across the Canadian prairies! Please, this winter, if you’re a producer, connect with a field researcher and give permission for pests to be monitored in your field. If you’re able to monitor, connect with a field researcher to find out how to help. It’s vital that fields ALL ACROSS the prairies represent Canadian agriculture!
This week includes…..
• Weather synopsis • Predicted grasshopper development • Predicted diamondback development • Lygus bug monitoring • Predicted wheat stem sawfly growth • Pre-harvest intervals (PHI) • West nile virus risk • Provincial insect pest report links • Crop report links • Previous posts ….and review the 2022 Insect of the Week lineup – 16 in total!
TEMPERATURE: Though average temperatures for the 2022 growing season continue to be similar to long-term average values, August temperatures have been much warmer than normal. This past week (August 15-21, 2022) the average daily temperature for the prairie region was 1.5 °C warmer than the previous week and almost 5 °C warmer than climate normal temperatures for the region. Last week recorded the warmest weekly average temperature of the 2022 growing season so far. The warmest temperatures were observed across southwestern Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta (Fig. 1).
The prairie-wide average 30-day temperature (July 23 – August 21, 2022) was 2 °C warmer than the long-term average value for the same period. Average 30-day temperatures continue to be warmest across southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan (Fig. 2). The average growing season (April 1-August 14, 2022) temperature for the prairies has been similar to climate normal values. The growing season has been coolest in a region extending from Edmonton to the Peace River region (Fig. 3).
PRECIPITATION: This week (August 15-21, 2022), minimal amounts of rain were reported for Alberta and Saskatchewan. The greatest weekly precipitation amounts occurred across southern Manitoba (Fig. 4). The 30-day (July 23-August 21, 2022) rainfall amounts continue to be greatest across eastern Manitoba while dry conditions persist across the southern and central regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan (Fig. 5). Rainfall amounts across southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan have been 40% less than climate normal values.
Growing season rainfall for the prairies (April 1 – August 21, 2022) has been near normal for Alberta and above normal across southeastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Total rainfall continues to be greatest across Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan and least across central and south-central Saskatchewan (Fig. 6).
The grasshopper (Acrididae: Melanoplus sanguinipes) model predicts development using biological parameters known for the pest species and environmental data observed across the Canadian prairies on a daily basis. Model outputs provided below as geospatial maps are a tool to help time in-field scouting on a regional scale yet local development can vary and is only accurately assessed through in-field scouting.
Model simulations were used to estimate grasshopper development as of August 21, 2022. Potential risk continues to be greatest across central and southern regions of Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta. Simulations indicate that prairie populations are in the adult stage and that females are laying eggs in the soil. Since last week, model simulations indicate that oviposition is now occurring across all of the prairies (Fig. 1). Earlier oviposition can result in above-average production of eggs and increased overwintering survival of eggs.
The oviposition index provides a method to assess where egg production is greatest; higher oviposition index values indicate where egg production is greatest. Model runs for the 2022 growing season (April 1 – August 21) predict that oviposition rates have been greatest across a large region that extends from east of Lethbridge to Regina and north to Saskatoon (Fig. 1).
Diamondback moths (DBM; Plutella xylostella) are a migratory invasive species. Each spring adult populations migrate northward to the Canadian prairies on wind currents from infested regions in the southern or western U.S.A. Upon arrival to the prairies, migrant diamondback moths begin to reproduce and this results in subsequent non-migrant populations that may have three or four generations during the growing season.
Recent warm conditions have resulted in the rapid development of diamondback moth populations. Model simulations to August 14, 2022, indicate that the fourth generation of non-migrant adults (based on mid-May arrival dates) are currently occurring across the southern prairies (Fig. 1). DBM development is predicted to be marginally greater in 2022 than expected based on long-term average values (Fig. 2).
Warm conditions during August resulted in rapid development of diamondback moth populations. Model simulations to August 21, 2022, indicate that the fourth generation of non-migrant adults (based on mid-May arrival dates) are currently occurring across most of the prairies (Fig. 1). DBM development is predicted to be marginally greater than long-term average values (Fig. 2).
In-Field Monitoring:Remove plants in an area measuring 0.1 m² (about 12″ square), beat them onto a clean surface and count the number of larvae (Fig. 3) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.
The 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).
On the Canadian prairies, lygus bugs (Heteroptera: Miridae) are normally a complex of several native species usually including Lygus lineolaris, L. keltoni, L. borealis, L. elisus although several more species are distributed throughout Canada. The species of Lygus forming the “complex” can vary by host plant, by region or even seasonally.
Lygus bugs are polyphagous (i.e., feed on plants belonging to several Families of plants) and multivoltine (i.e., capable of producing multiple generations per year). Both the adult (Fig. 1) and five nymphal instar stages (Fig. 2) are a sucking insect that focuses feeding activities on developing buds, pods and seeds. Adults overwinter in northern climates. The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.
Recent research in Alberta has resulted in a revision to the thresholds recommended for the management of Lygus in canola. Under ideal growing conditions (i.e., ample moisture) a threshold of 20-30 lygus per 10 sweeps is recommended. Under dry conditions, a lower threshold may be used, however, because drought limits yield potential in canola, growers should be cautious if considering the use of foliar-applied insecticide at lygus densities below the established threshold of 20-30 per 10 sweeps.In drought-affected fields that still support near-average yield potential, a lower threshold of ~20 lygus per 10 sweeps may be appropriate for stressed canola. Even if the current value of canola remains high (e.g., >$19.00 per bu), control at densities of <10 lygus per 10 sweeps is not likely to be economical. Research indicates that lygus numbers below 10 per 10 sweeps (one per sweep) can on occasion increase yield in good growing conditions – likely through plant compensation for a small amount of feeding stress.
Damage: Lygus bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and physically damage the plant by puncturing the tissue and sucking plant juices. The plants also react to the toxic saliva that the insects inject when they feed. Lygus bug infestations can cause alfalfa to have short stem internodes, excessive branching, and small, distorted leaves. In canola, lygus bugs feed on buds and blossoms and cause them to drop. They also puncture seed pods and feed on the developing seeds causing them to turn brown and shrivel.
Scouting tips to keep in mind: Begin monitoring canola when it bolts and continues until seeds within the pods are firm. Since adults can move into canola from alfalfa, check lygus bug numbers in canola when nearby alfalfa crops are cut.
Sample the crop for lygus bugs on a sunny day when the temperature is above 20 °C and the crop canopy is dry. With a standard insect net (38 cm diameter), take ten 180 ° sweeps. Count the number of lygus bugs in the net. Sampling becomes more representative IF repeated at multiple spots within a field so sweep in at least 10 locations within a field to estimate the density of lygus bugs.
Biological and monitoring information related to Lygus in field crops is posted by the provinces of Manitoba or Alberta fact sheets or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s monitoring protocol. Also refer to the Lygus pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (2018) accessible as a free downloadable PDF in either English or French on our new Field Guides page. The Canola Council of Canada’s “Canola Encyclopedia” also summarizes Lygus bugs. The Flax Council of Canada includes Lygus bugs in their Insect Pest downloadable PDF chapter plus the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers summarize Lygus bugs in faba beans.
Warm, dry weather is conducive to wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus) population growth where they are present. Risk of damage to sawfly host crops is greatest when weather conditions are warmer and drier than normal. Risk associated with wheat stem sawfly can be predicted by calculating growth index values, where the growth index describes the potential for wheat stem sawfly population growth. Where growth risk index values are moderate to high, crop damage is more likely than in areas where growth risk index values are low to moderate. Scouting in moderate and high risk areas this fall (especially where wheat stem sawfly populations are known to be present) will provide valuable information about potential crop yield losses this year and about the risk of wheat stem sawfly population damage in next growing season.
Based on growing season weather in 2022 (April 1 to August 22), predicted wheat stem sawfly growth index values are low to moderate across most of the prairies (Fig. 1). This is due to average (in parts of Alberta) to above-average (in parts Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan) precipitation during the current growing season. Growth index values, based on 2022 growing season weather are predicted to be greatest in a region that extends from Swift Current to Saskatoon (Fig. 1). This area has been warmer and drier than the rest of the prairies.
One last time….. The PHI refers to the minimum number of days between a pesticide application and swathing or straight combining of a crop. The PHI recommends sufficient time for a pesticide to break down. PHI values are both crop- and pesticide-specific. Adhering to the PHI is important for a number of health-related reasons but also because Canada’s export customers strictly regulate and test for the presence of trace residues of pesticides.
The following is offered to help predict when Culex tarsalis, the vector for West Nile Virus, will begin to fly across the Canadian prairies. This week, regions most advanced in degree-day accumulations for Culex tarsalis are shown in Figure 1 but the unusual heat across the prairies greatly accelerated mosquito development!
As of August 21, 2022and where present, C. tarsalis development has progressed. Remember, areas highlighted yellow have accumulated sufficient heat units for the second generation of C. tarsalis to fly. Many areas of the prairies well exceed the 250-300 DD of base 14.3 °C (e.g., areas orange red any any shade of pink) represented in Figure 1. Outdoor enthusiasts falling within areas highlighted yellow, orange, red or pink should wear DEET to protect against WNV! Historically, southern and central regions of the Canadian prairies are at increased risk for WNV from late July but typically peaks over the long weekend in August.
For those following the specifics of the mosquito host-WNV interaction, Figure 2 projects how many days it will take a C. tarsalis female to become fully infective and be able to transmit the virus to another host (bird or human) once the virus is acquired from another bird. This represents the extrinsic incubation period (EIP) of the virus within the mosquito. Figure 2 projects the EIP was approximately 12-14 days in areas highlighted mauve and approximately 22-24 days in areas highlighted light green.
The above maps should be compared with historical confirmed cases of WNV. The Public Health Agency of Canada posts information related to West Nile Virus in Canada and also tracks West Nile Virus through human, mosquito, bird and horse surveillance. Link here to access their most current weekly update (reporting date August 13, 2022; retrieved August 26, 2022) and provided below.
Anyone keen to identify mosquitoes will enjoy this pictorial key for both larvae and adults which is posted on the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) website but sadly lacks a formal citation other than “MOSQUITOES: CHARACTERISTICS OF ANOPHELINES AND CULICINES prepared by Kent S. Littig and Chester J. Stojanovich” and includes Pages 134-150. The proper citation may be Stojanovich, Chester J. & Louisiana Mosquito Control Association. (1982). Mosquito control training manual. pp 152.