TEMPERATURE: Though recent temperatures have been warmer than normal, the 2022 growing season across the prairies continues to be cooler than average. This past week (July 4-10, 2022) the average daily temperature for the prairie region was 2.5 °C warmer than last week. The warmest temperatures were observed across the southern prairies, particularly southeastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Fig. 1). The prairie-wide average 30-day temperature (June 11 – July 10, 2022) was 1 °C warmer than the long-term average value. Average temperatures have been warmest across the southern prairies, particularly in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Fig. 2).
The average growing season (April 1-July 10, 2022) temperature for the prairies has been 0.5 °C cooler than climate normal values. The growing season has been warmest across a region than extends from Lethbridge to Regina and Saskatoon as well as southern Manitoba (Fig. 3).
PRECIPITATION: Weekly (July 4-10, 2022) rainfall varied across the prairies. The highest rainfall amounts were reported across central Alberta and southern Saskatchewan (Fig. 4). The Peace River region and central Saskatchewan reported rainfall amounts that were generally less than 10 mm. The 30-day (June 11 – July 10, 2022) rainfall accumulation amounts have been well above average for Alberta, near normal to above normal across Manitoba, and well below normal for Saskatchewan (Fig. 5).
Growing season rainfall for April 1 – July 10, 2022, continues to be greatest across Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan; cumulative rainfall amounts have been lower for central and western regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta (Fig. 6).
Soil moisture conditions in May and June can have significant impacts on wheat midge emergence. Where wheat midge cocoons are present in soil, the 2022 growing season’s rainfall during May and June should be sufficient to terminate diapause and induce the larvae to move to the soil surface.
The following maps represent predicted regional estimates of wheat midge development. Remember – the rate of development and timing of adult midge emergence varies at the field level and can only be verified through in-field scouting. Midge flight coinciding with the beginning of anthesis is a crucial point when in-field counts of adults on plants are carefully compared to the economic thresholds!
As of July 10, 2022 and where wheat midge is present, model simulations predict that pupae, adults, and eggs are present in wheat fields across the prairies. Differences in wheat midge development are attributed to rainfall differences across the prairies. Due to drier conditions in May and June, wheat midge development was delayed across most of Alberta. Alberta populations should be predominantly in the pupal stage (Fig. 1).
The appearance of adults is predicted to increase across all three provinces (Fig. 2). Optimal rain in May and June across Saskatchewan and Manitoba has resulted in development rates that are greater than those predicted for Alberta. The simulation indicates that oviposition has begun across eastern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Peace River region and north-western Alberta (Fig. 3). Larvae may be in wheat heads in a region south of Winnipeg.
Adults may be occurring when wheat is most susceptible. Adults and eggs (top panel) are predicted to occur when wheat is heading (bottom panel) for fields near Regina, Saskatchewan (Fig. 3). Phenology simulations suggest that wheat may be susceptible for the next two weeks.
In-Field Monitoring:When scouting wheat fields, pay attention to the synchrony between flying midge and anthesis.
In-field monitoring for wheat midge should be carried out in the evening (preferably after 8:30 pm or later) when the female midges are most active. On warm (at least 15 ºC), calm evenings, the midge can be observed in the field, laying their eggs on the wheat heads (Fig. 5). Midge populations can be estimated by counting the number of adults present on 4 or 5 wheat heads. Inspect the field daily in at least 3 or 4 locations during the evening.
REMEMBER that in-field counts of wheat midge per head remain the basis of the economic threshold decision. Also remember that the parasitoid, Macroglenes penetrans (Fig. 6), is actively searching for wheat midge at the same time. Preserve this parasitoid whenever possible and remember insecticide control options for wheat midge also kill these beneficial insects who help reduce midge populations.
Economic Thresholds for Wheat Midge: a) To maintain optimum No. 1 grade: 1 adult midge per 8 to 10 wheat heads during the susceptible stage. b) To maintain yield only: 1 adult midge per 4 to 5 heads. At this level of infestation, wheat yields will be reduced by approximately 15% if the midge is not controlled. Inspect the developing kernels for the presence of larvae and larval damage.
Wheat midge was featured as the Insect of the Week in 2021 (for Wk07). Be sure to also review wheat midge and its doppelganger, the lauxanid fly, featured as the Insect of the Week in 2019 (for Wk11) – find descriptions and photos to help with in-field scouting! Additionally, the differences between midges and parasitoid wasps were featured as the Insect of the Week in 2019 (for Wk12). Remember – not all flying insects are mosquitoes nor are they pests! Many are important parasitoid wasps that actually regulate insect pest species in our field crops OR pollinators that perform valuable ecosystem services!
Additional information can be accessed by reviewing the Wheat midge pages extracted from the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide” (2018) accessible as a free downloadable PDF in either English or French on our new Field Guides page.
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 but local development can vary and is only accurately assessed through in-field scouting.
SCOUT NOW – Some areas of the Canadian prairies are presently experiencing high densities of nymphs and economically important species are present. Review lifecycle and damage information for this pest to support in-field scouting.
Warm, dry conditions across southern and central regions of the prairies have advanced grasshopper development. Model simulations were used to estimate grasshopper development as of July 10, 2022. Based on estimates of average nymphal development, populations are predicted to consist of primarily 4th and 5th instar stages across all three prairie provinces (Fig. 1). Across most of the prairies, grasshopper development is predicted to be similar to average values; development is delayed across southern Manitoba (Fig. 2).
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.
Model simulations to July 10, 2022, indicate the second generation of non-migrant adults (based on mid-May arrival dates) are currently occurring across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 1). DBM development is predicted to be similar to long-term average development for this time of the growing season (Fig. 2).
Spring Pheromone Trap Monitoring of Adult Males: Across the Canadian prairies, spring monitoring is initiated to acquire weekly counts of adult moths attracted to pheromone-baited delta traps deployed in fields. Weekly trap interceptions are observed to generate cumulative counts. Summaries or maps of cumulative DBM data are available for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. These cumulative count estimates are broadly categorized to help producers prioritize and time in-field scouting for larvae.
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. 2) 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).
ALBERTA’SInsect Pest Monitoring Network webpage links to insect survey maps, live feed maps, insect trap set-up videos, and more. There is also a Major Crops Insect webpage. The new webpage does not replace the Insect Pest Monitoring Network page. Remember, AAF’s Agri-News occasionally includes insect-related information. Twitter users can connect to #ABBugChat Wednesdays at 10:00 am. • Wheat midge pheromone monitoring update for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available on this Live Map. • Cabbage seedpod weevil monitoring update for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available on this Live Map. • Bertha armyworm pheromone trap monitoring update for AB – Cumulative counts arising from weekly data are available on this Live Map.