Predicted diamondback moth development

Diamondback moths (DBM; Plutella xylostella) are a migratory invasive species. The model, based on climate data, indicates most DBM populations should be in the third generation (Fig. 1). Model simulations to August 8, 2021, predict an additional generation for the current growing season PLUS a third and fourth generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to occur across the Canadian prairies as of August 8 (based on climate normals data).
Figure 2. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to occur across the Canadian prairies as of August 8, 2021.

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.

Figure 3. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 4. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 5. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted diamondback moth development

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 August 1, 2021, indicate that the third and fourth generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 1). Compared to long-term average data (climate normal) sufficient heat units have accumulated to produce a predicted an additional generation for the current growing season (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to occur across the Canadian prairies as of August 1, 2021.
Figure 2. Long-term average predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to occur across the Canadian prairies as of August 1 (based on climate normals data).

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.

Figure 3. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 4. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 5. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted diamondback moth development

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. Diamondback moth was the Insect of the Week for Wk10!

Model simulations to July 11, 2021, indicate that the second generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 1). A third generation is predicted for southern Manitoba. Based on climate normal inputs, development is well ahead of long-term average values (Figure 2). Based on current weather, the mean number of generations that have occurred is 2.1 compared to model runs, based on climate normals, predict that the number of generations should be 1.4.

Figure 1. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of July 11, 2021.
Figure 2. Long-term average predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of July 13 (based on climate normals data).

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.

Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Bertha armyworm

Provincial insect pest monitoring networks in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are now compiling cumulative counts of adults intercepted from the pheromone-baited green unitraps deployed in fields across the prairies. Review the Provincial Insect Pest Report Links to find summaries or link to the latest bertha armyworm moth counts by clicking the appropriate province’s reporting info for Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta. So far, interception counts remain mainly in the “low risk” categories across the Canadian prairies. Review the 2020 pheromone trapping cumulative moth counts here to identify potential high risk areas to target for scouting for larvae now!

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 1) to help identify the various stages.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 6. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Midges in canola

The Insect of the Week features Swede midge and the canola flower midge as doppelganger pests this week!

Two species of midges (Diptera: Cecidmyiidae) are known to infest canola in Canada. Since 2000, swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) has been established in southern Ontario with serious levels of damage observed in several species of Brassicaceae, including canola by 2003. Swede midge is also established in Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Across the prairie region of Canada, a separate canola flower midge (Contarinia brassicola Sinclair) was identified initially as larvae feeding within the developing flower that caused the formation of a “pop-bottle”-shaped gall (Fig. 1). To date, this is the only damage associated with the canola flower midge, and it has been minimal across the prairies.

Figure. 1. “Pop-bottle”-shaped galls created by the canola flower midge.
(c) 2016 Boyd Mori, AAFC

Because of the serious threat that swede midge poses to canola production, it is vital that monitoring for swede midge continues across the Prairies. Monitoring is underway for 2021.

Tips for scouting canola for midges:
• Watch for unusual plant structures and plant discolourations then follow-up by closely scrutinizing the plant for larvae.
• The growing tip may become distorted and produce several growing tips or none at all, young leaves may become swollen, crinkled or crumpled and brown scarring caused by larval feeding may be seen on the leaf petioles and stems.
• Flowers may fail to open.
• Young plants that show unusual growth habits should be examined carefully for damage and larvae; especially if the sticky liners have many flies resembling midges (swede midges are about the size of orange blossom wheat midge but are not orange).
• Larvae can be seen with a hand lens.

Access more information about midges in canola via these links:
Swede midge and canola flower midge: Doppelganger pests (2021; Wk 11)
New canola flower midge (2018; Wk 11)
Natural enemies of the canola flower midge (2018; WK 12)
Ontario’s swede midge fact sheet produced by Baute et al. 2016.
• Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Encyclopedia – Swede midge

Predicted diamondback moth development

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. Diamondback moth is the Insect of the Week for Wk10!

Model simulations to July 4, 2021, indicate that the second generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 1). Across the prairies, development, as of July 4, 2021, is well ahead of long-term average values (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) that are expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of July 4, 2021.
Figure 2. Long-term average predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of July 4 (based on climate normals data).

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.

Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations to June 27, 2021 indicate that development of bertha armyworm (BAW) (Mamestra configurata) populations is transitioning to egg and larval stages. Model simulations indicate that BAW oviposition is occurring across most of the prairies with occurrence of larvae across southern regions of all three provinces (Figs. 1 and 2).

Figure 1. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population that is in the egg stage (% of population) across the Canadian prairies as of June 27, 2021.
Figure 2. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population that is in the larval stage (% of population) across the Canadian prairies as of June 27, 2021.

BAW populations in southern Manitoba are predicted to be predominantly in the larval stage by early July whereas BAW populations near Grande Prairie will be in the adult and egg stages. Model projections to July 13 predict that development near Brandon will be more advanced than development near Lacombe (Figs. 3 and 4). Over the next few days adult populations should be declining in southern Manitoba. In central Alberta adults should continue to lay eggs over the next 10 days. Above average temperatures will result in rapid development of larval populations.

Figure 3. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Brandon, Manitoba as of June 27, 2021 (projected to July 13, 2021).
Figure 4. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Lacombe, Alberta as of June 27, 2021 (projected to July 13, 2021).

Provincial insect pest monitoring networks in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are now compiling cumulative counts of adults intercepted from the pheromone-baited green unitraps deployed in fields across the prairies. Review the Provincial Insect Pest Report Links to find summaries or link to the latest bertha armyworm moth counts by clicking the appropriate province’s reporting info for Manitoba, Saskatchewan or Alberta.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 6) to help identify the various stages.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 6. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Predicted diamondback moth development

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 June 27, 2021, indicate that the first generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies and that the start of the second generation is occurring in southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) that are expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of June 27, 2021.

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.

Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted diamondback moth development

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 June 20, 2021, indicate that the first generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies and that the start of the second generation is occurring in southern Manitoba (Fig. 1).

Figure 1 Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of June 20, 2021.

So far, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the BC Peace are all reporting relatively low numbers of intercepted DBM in pheromone traps (read provincial insect pest report links) despite the fact that favourable wind trajectories have passed over the Canadian prairies from southern regions of North America (review wind trajectory reports for 2021). Even so, once DBM are present in an area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvaeWarm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short time so use the following photos to help identify larvae (Fig. 2), pupae (Fig. 3), or adults (Fig. 4)!

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.

Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Cabbage seedpod weevil monitoring

Monitoring is already underway for cabbage seedpod weevil (Ceutorhynchus obstrictus; CSPW) in southern areas of the prairies – it’s the Insect of the Week for Wk08! 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.

Albertan growers can report and check the live map for CSPW posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (screenshot provided below for reference; retrieved24Jun2021).

Please find additional detailed information for CSPW in fact sheets posted by Alberta Agriculture and ForestrySaskatchewan Agriculture, or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the cabbage seedpod weevil pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Lygus bug monitoring

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. Adults overwinter in northern climates. The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Figure 1. Adult Lygus lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Figure 2. Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 continue 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. In fact, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure 3). 

Figure 3. Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

If the total number is below the lower threshold line (Fig. 3), no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold tables (Tables 1 and 2).

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted. Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

How to tell them apart: The 2019 Insect of the Week’s doppelganger for Wk 15 was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug while Wk 16 featured lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  Both posts include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Predicted diamondback moth development

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 June 13, 2021 (using a biofix date of May 15, 2021), indicate that the first generation of non-migrant adults are currently emerging across the Canadian prairies (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 Predicted number of non-migrant generations of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) expected to have occurred across the Canadian prairies as of June 13, 2021.

So far, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the BC Peace are all reporting relatively low numbers of intercepted DBM in pheromone traps (read provincial insect pest report links) despite the fact that favourable wind trajectories have passed over the Canadian prairies from southern regions of North America (review wind trajectory reports for 2021). Even so, once DBM are present in an area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvaeWarm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short time so use the following photos to help identify larvae (Fig. 2), pupae (Fig. 3), or adults (Fig. 4)!

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.

Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 3. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM (including tips for scouting and economic thresholds) is posted by Manitoba Agriculture and Resource DevelopmentSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also, refer to the diamondback moth pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (accessible in either English-enhanced or French-enhanced versions).

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations to June 13, 2021, indicate that bertha armyworm (BAW) (Mamestra configurata) pupal development is greater than 75% (Fig. 1). Populations are predominantly in the pupal stage (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development (%) across the Canadian prairies as of June 13, 2021.
Figure 2. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population that is in the pupal stage (% of population) across the Canadian prairies as of June 13, 2021.

Model simulations indicate that BAW adult emergence has begun across southern areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (Fig. 3). Based on pupal development, adult emergence should occur across most of the prairies over the next few days.

Figure 3. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population that is in the adult stage (% of population) across the Canadian prairies as of June 13, 2021.

Model projections to June 30 predict that development near Winnipeg is more advanced than at Lacombe (Figs. 4 and 5). The model predicts that oviposition has begun near Winnipeg and that egg hatch will begin next week in fields.

Figure 4. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Winnipeg, Manitoba as of June 13, 2021 (projected to June 29, 2021).
Figure 5. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Lacombe, Alberta as of June 13, 2021 (projected to June 29, 2021).

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 6) to learn to identify the various stages.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 6. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations to June 6, 2021, indicate that bertha armyworm (BAW) (Mamestra configurata) pupal development ranges from 60-90 % across the prairies (Fig. 1). BAW traps should be placed in fields when pupal development exceeds 80 %. Table 1 provides guidelines to determine when traps should be deployed. Based on weather data up to June 6, 2021, BAW adults should begin to emerge by mid to late June.

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development across the Canadian prairies as of June 6, 2021.

Model projections to June 30 predict that development near Winnipeg will be more advanced than at Lacombe (Figs. 2 and 3, respectively). The model predicts that egg hatch will begin in mid-June near Winnipeg.

Figure 2. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Winnipeg, Manitoba as of June 6, 2021 (projected to June 30, 2021).
Figure 3. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Lacombe, Alberta as of June 6, 2021 (projected to June 30, 2021).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Alert: Bertha armyworm development

Model simulations to May 30, 2021, indicate that BAW pupal development is 45-60 % complete across the prairies (Fig. 1). Recent warm conditions in Alberta and southern Manitoba have resulted in the rapid development of BAW pupae (Fig. 2 C). The weather forecast for this week suggests that above-normal temperatures will occur. This could result in faster development of BAW pupae. BAW traps should be placed in fields when pupal development is approximately 80 %.

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development across the Canadian prairies as of May 30, 2021.

IMPORTANT: Table 1 provides estimates for when the pheromone-baited green unitrap should be deployed. Based on weather conditions up to May 30, 2021, and model output, BAW adults (Fig. 2 D) may begin to emerge by mid to late June. Typically, moths emerge over an ~6 week period so cumulative counts of moths intercepted in these green unitraps provides insight into anticipated risk and prioritization for in-field scouting of the damaging larval stages later this summer.

Figure 2. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm.
Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

Model projections to June 30 predict that development near Regina (Fig. 3) will be more advanced than at Grande Prairie (Fig. 4). The model predicts that egg hatch will begin in late June near Regina.

Figure 3. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Regina, Saskatchewan, as of May 30, 2021 (projected to June 30, 2021).
Figure 4. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Grande Prairie, Alberta as of May 30, 2021 (projected to June 30, 2021).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Flea beetles

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).

Figure 1. Predicted risk for P. cruciferae, for model simulations based on long term climate normals. Red and orange regions may
be associated with economic crop losses.
Figure 2. Predicted risk for P. striolata, for model simulations based on long term climate normals. Red and orange regions may
be associated with economic crop losses.

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.

Figure 3. Predicted risk for P. cruciferae, for model simulations based on conditions that are cooler and wetter than current climate. Red and orange regions may be associated with economic crop losses.
Figure 4. Predicted risk for P. striolata, for model simulations based on conditions that are cooler and wetter than current climate. Red and orange regions may be associated with economic crop losses.

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)!

Access biological and pest management information posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Saskatchewan Agriculture, or Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, or the Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Encyclopedia. Refer to the flea beetle page within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (Philip et al. 2018) as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Bertha armyworm development

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.

Figure 1. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm.
Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).
Figure 2. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development across the Canadian prairies as of May 23, 2021.

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Scouting charts for canola and flax

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

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

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

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

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

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

Flea beetles

Newly emerging Brassicaceae but especially canola is attractive to overwintered flea beetles that emerge and become active early in the spring. As canola seedlings emerge, in-field scouting becomes crucial! 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. Be sure to check out the Insect of the Week – Week 2 featured flea beetles!

Several species of flea beetles are present across North America. Be on the lookout for flea beetle damage resulting from feeding on canola cotyledons but also on the stem (Fig. 1).  Two species, Phyllotreta striolata (Fig. 1) and P. cruciferae, will feed on all cruciferous plants but they can cause economic levels of damage in canola during the seedling stages.

Figure 1. Flea beetle feeding damage (L) and striped flea beetle (R).

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 (Figs. 2 and 3; copied below for reference) produced by Dr. J. Soroka (AAFC-Saskatoon)  – take it scouting!

Figure 2. Canola cotyledons with various percentages of leaf area consume owing to flea beetle feeding damage (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).
Figure 3.  Percent leaf area consumed by flea beetles feeding on canola seedlings (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).

Access biological and pest management information posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Saskatchewan Agriculture, or Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development, or the Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Encyclopedia. Refer to the flea beetle page within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” (Philip et al. 2018) as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Two other favourite flea beetle resources relevant to field crop protection include:

Those armed with a stereomicroscope who are keen to monitor flea beetle species may wish to bookmark the “Common flea beetles of North Dakota” (Fauske 2003) which an excellent online resource and includes many of the commonly observed species of flea beetles also present across the Canadian prairies.

Soroka, J., Grenkow, L., Otani, J., Gavloski, J., & Olfert, O. (2018). Flea beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) species in canola (Brassicaceae) on the northern Great Plains of North America. The Canadian Entomologist, 150(1), 100-115. doi:10.4039/tce.2017.60

Flea beetles active already

In canola, the most common flea beetles are either bluish black (crucifer flea beetle or Phyllotreta cruciferae) or black with two wavy yellow lines running down the length of its back (striped flea beetle or P. striolata). They overwinter as adults under plant material along field margins and females lay eggs in the soil near host plants. 

Striped and crucifer flea beetles feed on canola, mustard and related cruciferous plants and weeds. Canola is highly susceptible to feeding damage at the cotyledon stage – damage appears as ‘shot-holes’ in cotyledon leaves. Flea beetles also feed on stems and very young seedlings may wilt or break off under windy or damp conditions. New generation adults feed on maturing pods late in the summer. Remember, the Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is when 25% of cotyledon leaf area is consumed (see post from 2019 on estimating flea beetle damage and action threshold and the Flea Beetle Monitoring Protocol). 

According Dr. Tyler Wist (@TylerWist1), who makes it his business to know, striped flea beetles are already active.

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

Crucifer flea bettle
Crucifer flea beetle (AAFC)
Striped flea beetle
Striped flea beetle (Mike Dolinski)

Predicted diamondback moth development

The Diamondback moth (DBM) model was run with a biofix of May 15, 2020. DBM densities generally increase with increasing numbers of generations. Figure 1 represents the model output for the 2020 growing season (as of August 17, 2020). The number of generations varies from two in western Alberta to four in southeastern Saskatchewan and most of Manitoba (Fig. 1). Next, the model was run with climate normal data to compare the 2020 growing season with an ‘average’ growing season (Fig. 2). The second map (climate normal) indicates that an average growing season results in two to three generations, with a fourth generation predicted to occur near Winnipeg (Fig. 2). These results indicate that there was an elevated DBM risk in 2020.

Figure 1. Using a biofix date of May 15, 2020, the projected number of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) generations across the Canadian prairies as of August 17, 2020.
Figure 2. Using a biofix date of May 15, 2020, the projected number of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) generations across the Canadian prairies as of August 17, 2020, using climate normal data.

The economic threshold for diamondback moth in canola at the advanced pod stage is 20 to 30 larvae/ 0.1  (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).

Monitoring to apply the economic threshold: 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. 3) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Larva_AAFC.jpg
Figure 3. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 4. Diamondback moth pupa within silken cocoon.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 5. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Preparing and protecting grains for market

A few helpful tools to keep at your finger tips:

A number of important resources are available at Keep It Clean to help prepare and protect grains for market.  Learn more about preparing canola, cereals and pulses! They also have tools to manage pre-harvest intervals including a spray to swath calculator and describe the importance of avoiding malathion in bins storing canola.

Download searchable PDFs of 2020 Crop Production Guides for Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The Canadian Grain Commission has information to help you manage stored grain.  Read tips to prepare your bins to prevent insect infestations.  If there are insects in your grain, use their online diagnostic tools to help identify the problem species.  If pest species are confirmed, there are control options – read more to make the right choice for your grain storage system and your specific grain.

Bertha armyworm

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Click each province name to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba (as they become available). Check these sites to assess cumulative counts and relative risk in your geographic region but remember in-field scouting is required to apply the economic threshold to manage both this pest and its natural enemies. For convenience, screen shots of the above maps or data have been placed below for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Monitoring:

  • Larval sampling should commence once the adult moths are noted.
  • Sample at least three locations, a minimum of 50 m apart.
  • At each location, mark an area of 1 m2 and beat the plants growing within that area to dislodge the larvae.
  • Count them and compare the average against the values in the economic threshold table below:

Scouting tips:
● Some bertha armyworm larvae remain green or pale brown throughout their larval life.
● Large larvae may drop off the plants and curl up when disturbed, a defensive behavior typical of cutworms and armyworms.
● Young larvae chew irregular holes in leaves, but normally cause little damage. The fifth and sixth instar stages cause the most damage by defoliation and seed pod consumption. Crop losses due to pod feeding will be most severe if there are few leaves.
● Larvae eat the outer green layer of the stems and pods exposing the white tissue.
● At maturity, in late summer or early fall, larvae burrow into the ground and form pupae.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 1) to help identify the economically important larvae.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 1. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Predicted diamondback moth development

This week, the DBM model based on Harcourt (1954) was run with a biofix of May 15, 2020. Most of Alberta has had two generations. It is possible that three generations have been completed across Saskatchewan and southeastern Alberta where it has been warmer. Results indicate that a potential fourth generation may be occurring across southern Manitoba. DBM densities generally increase with increasing numbers of generations. Later maturing canola fields may be susceptible to damage resulting from larval feeding.

Figure 1. Using a biofix date of May 15, 2020, the projected number of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) generations across the Canadian prairies as of August 10, 2020.

Monitoring:

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Larva_AAFC.jpg
Figure 2. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
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  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 4. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations for August 3, 2020, indicate that BAW development varies across the prairies. Figures 1 and 2 demonstrate that BAW populations near Winnipeg (Fig. 1) are more advanced than populations near Grande Prairie (Fig. 2). Populations near Winnipeg are predicted to be developing to pupae (Fig. 1). BAW populations near Grande Prairie are expected to be primarily in the larval stage (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Winnipeg MB as of August 3, 2020.
Figure 2 Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Grande Prairie AB as of August 3, 2020.

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Early season detection of bertha armyworm is improved through the use of pheromone-baited unitraps traps deployed in fields across the Canadian prairies.  Click each province name to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba (as they become available). Check these sites to assess cumulative counts and relative risk in your geographic region but remember in-field scouting is required to apply the economic threshold to manage both this pest and its natural enemies. For convenience, screen shots of the above maps or data have been placed below for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Monitoring:

  • Larval sampling should commence once the adult moths are noted.
  • Sample at least three locations, a minimum of 50 m apart.
  • At each location, mark an area of 1 m2 and beat the plants growing within that area to dislodge the larvae.
  • Count them and compare the average against the values in the economic threshold table below:

Scouting tips:
● Some bertha armyworm larvae remain green or pale brown throughout their larval life.
● Large larvae may drop off the plants and curl up when disturbed, a defensive behavior typical of cutworms and armyworms.
● Young larvae chew irregular holes in leaves, but normally cause little damage. The fifth and sixth instar stages cause the most damage by defoliation and seed pod consumption. Crop losses due to pod feeding will be most severe if there are few leaves.
● Larvae eat the outer green layer of the stems and pods exposing the white tissue.
● At maturity, in late summer or early fall, larvae burrow into the ground and form pupae.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 4) to help identify the economically important larvae.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 4. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Predicted diamondback moth development

Based on Harcourt (1954) the DBM model was run with a biofix of May 15, 2020. Model runs (as of August 3, 2020) were conducted with weather data for 2020 (Fig. 1) and climate normals (long term average temperatures). The first map illustrates that potentially three generations have been completed across Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan (Fig. 1). Most of the prairies have had two generations (Fig. 1). The second map, showing results for climate normal data, indicates that prairie populations should have completed two generations (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Using a biofix date of May 15, 2020, the projected number of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) generations across the Canadian prairies as of August 3, 2020.
Figure 2. Using a biofix date of May 15, 2020, the projected number of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) generations across the Canadian prairies using Climate Normal data.

The charts provide location specific details regarding potential development at Winnipeg (Fig. 3) and Lacombe (Fig. 4). The first chart illustrates DBM development at Winnipeg. Results indicate that there is potential for a fourth generation of DBM to occur in southern Manitoba. Populations near Lacombe are predicted to be completing the second generation.

Figure 3. Predicted diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) phenology at Saskatoon SK. Values are based on model simulations (April 1-August 3, 2020).
Figure 4. Predicted diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) phenology at Lacombe AB. Values are based on model simulations (April 1-August 3, 2020).

Monitoring:

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. 5) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Larva_AAFC.jpg
Figure 5. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 6. 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  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 7. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Thrips in canola

Thrips in canola (Thynsanoptera) – While scouting at this time of year, curled canola pods may be encountered.  The culprits are quite possibly thrips.

Figure 1. Thrips damage observed in canola in the northeast of Saskatchewan in July 2016 (Photo: AAFC-Saskatoon, Olfert 2016).

Damage: Flower thrips (Thysanoptera) are pests of a broad range of plants including cereals and broadleaved crops such as canola. Thrips are minute, slender-bodied insects with rasping-sucking mouthparts and feed by rasping the surface of canola buds and sucking up plant fluids. 

Biology: Thrips have six life stages: egg, two larval stages, a prepupal and pupal stage and an adult. Both adults and nymphs cause damage by feeding on the flower and buds. Limited surveys in 1999 in Saskatchewan and Alberta indicated that the predominant species were Frankliniella tritici (flower thrip) followed by Thrips tabaci (onion thrip) and T. vulgatissimus (no common name).

In canola, pods damaged by thrips are often curled and tend to drop prematurely.  Some species, such as T. vulgatissimus have been credited with contributing to pollination.

Read more about thrips in canola by accessing this article by Olfert et al. 1998).

Ladybird beetles and mummies

Ladybird beetle larvae (Fig. 1), pupae (Fig. 2), and adults (Fig. 3) can all be found in fields at this time of year.  Take a look at the various stages and the many patterns of native and introduced species to recognize these as Field Heroes!  Ladybird beetles are categorized as general predators and will feed on several species of arthropods but are partial to aphids.  

Figure 1. Ladybird beetle larva (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 2. Ladybird beetle pupa (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge).
Figure 3. Ladybird beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)

Another “beneficial” found in fields at this point in the season are mummified aphids (Fig. 4). The “mummy” contains a maturing parasitoid wasp which will emerge from the host and seek other aphids to parasitize. Read more about the amazing Aphidiinae wasps by accessing the pages from the  “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide“.  The guide is available as a free downloadable document in both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Figure 4. An aphid “mummy” adhered to a wheat awn.  A “mummy” is the aphid host transformed to enclose a soon-to-emerge parasitoid wasp (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge).

Bertha armyworm

Click to link to last week’s information posted for Wk 13 (released 23Jul2020) to review the predictive model outputs for this insect pest. As larvae now begin to develop and feed in fields, emphasis is now placed on in-field scouting in areas where high moth counts are being intercepted by provincial networks highlighted below.

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Early season detection of bertha armyworm is improved through the use of pheromone-baited unitraps traps deployed in fields across the Canadian prairies.  Click each province name to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba. Remember in-field scouting is required to apply the economic threshold to manage both this pest and its natural enemies. For convenience, screen shots of available maps or data from Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba are below.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020Jul15_BAW_SK-791x1024.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2020Jul22_BAW_MB.png

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images above (Fig. 4) to help identify the economically important larvae.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 4. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Diamondback moth

Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Once the diamondback moth is present in the area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvae.  Warm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short period!

Monitoring: 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. 1) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

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Figure 1. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_Pupa_AAFC-1.jpg
Figure 2. 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  (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).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DBM_adult_AAFC-1.png
Figure 3. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Lygus bug monitoring

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. Adults overwinter in northern climates. The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_Lygus_lineolaris_AAFC-Sask.png
Figure 1. Adult Lygus lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_Lygus_nymph_AAFC-Sask.png
Figure 2. Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 continue 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. In fact, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure 3). 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1998_SequentialSampling_WiseAndLamb.png
Figure 3. Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

If the total number is below the lower threshold line (Fig. 3), no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold tables (Tables 1 and 2).

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted. Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1998_EconomicThreshold_LateFlower-EarlyPod_Captions-1024x488.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1998_EconomicThreshold_Pod_Captions-1024x461.png

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

How to tell them apart: The 2019 Insect of the Week’s doppelganger for Wk 15 was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug while Wk 16 featured lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  Both posts include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations for July 19, 2020 (Fig. 1) indicate that 23% of the bertha armyworm (BAW) population is in the egg stage (compared to 35% last week) and 77% are predicted to be larvae (compared to 65% last week). Across the Parkland and Peace River regions, BAW populations are predicted to be primarily in the egg stage (Fig. 1). Other than the Peace River region, populations are primarily in the larval stage (Fig. 1). Fields near Carman, Winnipeg and Morden in Manitoba are expected to have first appearance of pupae, suggesting larval development is advanced (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population in the larval stage as of July 19, 2020.

The two graphs below demonstrate that BAW populations near Winnipeg (Fig. 2) are more advanced than populations near Grande Prairie (Fig. 3). In Winnipeg populations are primarily in the larval stage with first appearance of pupae (Fig. 2). BAW populations near Grande Prairie are predicted to be in adult, egg and larval stages (Fig. 3).

Figure 2. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Winnipeg MB as of July 19, 2020.
Figure 3. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Grande Prairie AB as of July 19, 2020.

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Early season detection of bertha armyworm is improved through the use of pheromone-baited unitraps traps deployed in fields across the Canadian prairies.  Click each province name to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba (as they become available). Check these sites to assess cumulative counts and relative risk in your geographic region but remember in-field scouting is required to apply the economic threshold to manage both this pest and its natural enemies. For convenience, screen shots of the above maps or data have been placed below for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images above (Fig. 4) to help identify the economically important larvae.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_PPMN-Protocol_BAW_LifeStages_Williams.png
Figure 4. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Lygus bug monitoring

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. Adults overwinter in northern climates. The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_Lygus_lineolaris_AAFC-Sask.png
Figure 1. Adult Lygus lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 2019_Lygus_nymph_AAFC-Sask.png
Figure 2. Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 continue 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. In fact, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure 3). 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1998_SequentialSampling_WiseAndLamb.png
Figure 3. Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

If the total number is below the lower threshold line (Fig. 3), no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold tables (Tables 1 and 2).

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted. Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1998_EconomicThreshold_LateFlower-EarlyPod_Captions-1024x488.png
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1998_EconomicThreshold_Pod_Captions-1024x461.png

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

How to tell them apart: The 2019 Insect of the Week’s doppelganger for Wk 15 was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug while Wk 16 featured lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  Both posts include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations for July 12, 2020 indicate that 35% of the population is in the egg stage (37% last week) and 65% of the population is in the larval stages (14% last week). Across the Parkland and Peace River regions, BAW populations are predicted to be primarily in the egg stage (Fig. 1). Populations across southern regions are primarily in the larval stage (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population in the larval stage as of July 12, 2020.

The two graphs below demonstrate that larval development near Brandon is predicted to be ahead of fields near Grande Prairie. In Brandon, populations are primarily in the larval stage (Fig. 2) while BAW populations near Grande Prairie are predicted to be predominantly in adult and egg stages (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Brandon MB as of July 12, 2020.
Figure 3. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Grande Prairie AB as of July 12, 2020.
Figure 5. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Early season detection of bertha armyworm is improved through the use of pheromone-baited unitraps traps deployed in fields across the Canadian prairies.  Click each province name to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba (as they become available). Check these sites to assess cumulative counts and relative risk in your geographic region but remember in-field scouting is how the economic threshold is applied to manage this pest.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images above (Fig. 5) to help identify the economically important larvae.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Lygus bug monitoring

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. Adults overwinter in northern climates. The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Figure 1. Adult Lygus lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Figure 2. Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).

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 continue 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. In fact, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure 3). 

Figure 3. Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

If the total number is below the lower threshold line (Fig. 3), no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold tables (Tables 1 and 2).

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted. Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

How to tell them apart: The 2019 Insect of the Week’s doppelganger for Wk 15 was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug while Wk 16 featured lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  Both posts include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Model simulations for July 5, 2020, indicate that 5 % of the population is in the pupal stage (26 % last week), 43 % is in the adult stage (52 % last week), and 37 % of the population is in the egg stage (20 % last week). In southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan, larval stages are predicted to increase this week (14 % compared to 2 % last week). Across the Parkland and Peace River regions, BAW populations are predicted to be mostly adults with oviposition occurring in these areas (Fig. 1). Operation of BAW traps in these areas should continue until adult emergence is complete. Populations across southern regions are primarily in the larval stage (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population in the adult stage as of July 5, 2020.
Figure 2. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population in the larval stage as of July 5, 2020.

The two graphs demonstrate that larval development near Brandon (Fig. 3) is predicted to be ahead of fields near Lethbridge (Fig. 4).

Figure 3. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Brandon MB as of July 5, 2020.
Figure 4. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) phenology at Lethbridge AB as of July 5, 2020.
Figure 5. The egg stage (A), larval stage (B), pupal stage (C), and adult stage (D) of bertha armyworm. Photos: Jonathon Williams (AAFC-Saskatoon).

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Early season detection of bertha armyworm is improved through the use of pheromone-baited unitraps traps deployed in fields across the Canadian prairies.  Click each province name to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba (as they become available). Check these sites to assess cumulative counts and relative risk in your geographic region but remember in-field scouting is how the economic threshold is applied to manage this pest.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images above (Fig. 5) to help identify the economically important larvae.  Review the 2019 Insect of the Week which featured bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm! 

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Diamondback moth

Once diamondback moth is present in the area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvae.  Warm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short period!

Wind Trajectory Updates – Completed for 2020 growing season as of Week 09 (released June 22, 2020).

Weekly Pheromone-baited Trapping Results – Early season detection of diamondback moth is improved through the use of pheromone-baited delta traps deployed in fields across the Canadian prairies.  Click each province to access moth reporting numbers observed in AlbertaSaskatchewan and Manitoba as they become available. Check these sites to assess cumulative counts and relative risk in your geographic region.

Monitoring: 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. 1) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

Figure 1. Diamondback larva measuring ~8 mm long.Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
Figure 2. 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  (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).

Figure 3. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Scouting charts for canola and flax

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

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

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Canola

 
2. FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Flax

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

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

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Important – Watch for updates from your provincial monitoring networks who are compiling cumulative pheromone-baited trap interceptions to assess risk levels in AlbertaSaskatchewan (updated 07Aug2019), and Manitoba (locate table on pg 6).  Regions in all three prairie provinces are reporting “uncertain” risk based on pheromone-baited unitrap cumulative counts.  

SCOUT NOW to confirm in-field larval counts and REMEMBER that LARVAL DENSITIES CAN VARY DRAMATICALLY even between adjacent fields!  Scout to protect @FieldHeroes and avoid economic losses! Use the Field Heroes’ scouting guide for bertha armyworm and be sure to read more at their website!

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.


Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 1) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.


Figure 1. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada).


Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest.  Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata) – Important – Watch for updates from your local provincial monitoring networks who are compiling cumulative pheromone-baited trap interceptions to assess risk levels in Alberta, Saskatchewan (updated 31Jul2019), and Manitoba (locate table on pg 6). Regions in all three prairie provinces are reporting “uncertain” risk based on pheromone-baited unitrap cumulative counts.

SCOUT NOW to confirm in-field larval counts and REMEMBER that LARVAL DENSITIES CAN VARY DRAMATICALLY even between adjacent fields!  Scout to protect @FieldHeroes and avoid economic losses! Use the Field Heroes’ scouting guide for bertha armyworm and be sure to read more at their website!

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 1) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.

Figure 1. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada).

Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest.  Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) Reminder – The Insect of the Week’s doppelganger for Wk 15 was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug while Wk 16 featured lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  Both posts include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Predictive model updates are completed for the growing season but can be reviewed here (Wk 14).  

Important – Watch for updates from your provincial monitoring networks who are compiling cumulative pheromone-baited trap interceptions to assess risk levels in AlbertaSaskatchewan (updated 24Jul2019), and Manitoba (locate table on pg 6).  regions in all three prairie provinces are reporting “uncertain” risk based on pheromone-baited unitrap cumulative counts.  

This week – SCOUT NOW to confirm in-field larval counts and REMEMBER that LARVAL DENSITIES CAN VARY DRAMATICALLY even between adjacent fields!  Scout to protect @FieldHeroes and avoid economic losses! Use the Field Heroes’ scouting guide for bertha armyworm and be sure to read more at their website!

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 1) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.

Figure 1. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada).

Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest.  Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – The Insect of the Week’s doppelganger for Wk 15 was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug while Wk 16 featured lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  Both posts include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
 
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).
 

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Scouting Charts – Canola and Flax

Reminder – One last time for this growing season….. We have updated the field scouting charts so they now link to pages within the 2018 version of the Insect Field Guide

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

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Canola

2. FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Flax

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

Whenever possible, monitor and compare pest densities to established economic or action thresholds to protect and preserve pollinators and beneficial arthropods. Economic thresholds, by definition, help growers avoid crop losses related to insect pest species but they rely on in-field scouting!

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Predictive model updates are completed for the growing season but can be reviewed here (Wk 14).  

Important – Watch for updates from your provincial monitoring networks who are compiling cumulative pheromone-baited trap interceptions to assess risk levels in AlbertaSaskatchewan (updated 10Jul2019), and Manitoba (look on pg 8).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 1) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.

Figure 1. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada).

Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest.  Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – Last week’s Insect of the Week’s doppelganger was lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug.  This week the doppelganger is lygus bug nymphs vs. aphids!  both include tips to to discern the difference between when doing in-field scouting!

The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
 
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).
 

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.
 

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Predictive model updates are completed for the growing season but can be reviewed here (Wk 14).  

Important – Watch for updates from your provincial monitoring networks who are compiling cumulative pheromone-baited trap interceptions to assess risk levels in AlbertaSaskatchewan (updated 10Jul2019), and Manitoba (look on pg 7).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 3) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.

Figure 3. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest.  Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – The Insect of the Week’s doppelganger is the lygus bug versus the alfalfa plant bug. It includes tips to to discern the difference between these plant bug complexes when doing in-field scouting!

The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

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.

Albertan growers can report in-field CSPW scouting data then check the online map posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (screenshot retrieved 18Jul2019 provided below as reference).

Please find additional detailed information for CSPW in fact sheets posted by Alberta Agriculture and ForestrySaskatchewan Agriculture, or the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the cabbage seedpod weevil pages within the new “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” – both English or French versions are available.

Diamondback moth

Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Once diamondback moth is present in the area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvae.  Warm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short period!

Monitoring:

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. 1) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

Figure 1. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
Figure 2. 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  (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).

Figure 3. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Early instar bertha armyworm are predicted to begin appearing across the prairies.  A model run for Saskatoon SK indicates that the hatch should be complete (Fig.1) and that BAW should be in the early instar (Fig. 2).

Figure 1.  Predicted status of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations as of July 8, 2019.
Figure 2. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata)  populations at LARVAL STAGE across the Canadian prairies as of July 8 2019. 

Important – Watch your provincial monitoring networks who are weekly recording cumulative pheromone-baited traps in AlbertaSaskatchewan, and Manitoba (pg 8).

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Refer to the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol for help when performing in-field scouting.  Use the images below (Fig. 3) to help identify egg masses and the economically important larvae in canola.

Figure 3. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Now is the time to do in-field scouting for this insect pest.  Review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Diamondback moth

Diamondback moth (Plutellidae: Plutella xylostella) – Once the diamondback moth is present in the area, it is important to monitor individual canola fields for larvae.  Warm growing conditions can quickly translate into multiple generations in a very short period!

Monitoring:

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. 1) dislodged from the plant. Repeat this procedure at least in five locations in the field to get an accurate count.

Figure 1. Diamondback larva measuring ~8mm long.
Note brown head capsule and forked appearance of prolegs on posterior.
Figure 2. 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  (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).

Figure 3. Diamondback moth.

Biological and monitoring information for DBM is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan Agriculture, and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  

More information about Diamondback moths can be found by accessing the pages from the  “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.

Bertha armyworm monitoring

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Last week (Fig. 1), bertha armyworm adults were emerging across the prairies and oviposition began across most of the southern prairie regions of SK, AB and MB.  That means it’s time to start check the undersides of canola leaves for egg masses and newly hatched larvae!

Figure 1.  Predicted precent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata)  populations at EGG STAGE across the Canadian prairies as of June 24 2019. 

Here’s where bertha armyworm moths were intercepted last year (Fig. 2) so areas previously highlighted in yellow, gold, orange or red should be on the lookout in 2019 for larvae.  Also watch your provincial monitoring networks who are weekly recording cumulative pheromone-baited traps in Alberta, Saskatchewan (table on Left of webpage), and Manitoba (pg 7).

Figure 2.  Cumulative moth counts from pheromone-baited unitraps deployed during the 2018 growing season.

Biological and monitoring information related to bertha armyworm in field crops is posted by the provinces of ManitobaSaskatchewanAlberta and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network. Also refer to the bertha armyworm pages within the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Again, thanks to John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture) who helped update the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol.  Use the images below (Fig. 3) to help identify moths from the by-catch that will be retained in phermone-baited unitraps.

Figure 3. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Also be sure to review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Bertha armyworm adults should be emerging across the prairies and oviposition is predicted to have begun across most of the southern prairie regions of SK, AB and MB (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.  Predicted precent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata)  populations at EGG STAGE across the Canadian prairies as of June 24 2019. 

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Again, thanks to John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture) who helped update the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol.  Use the images below (Fig. 2) to help identify moths from the by-catch that will be retained in phermone-baited unitraps.

Figure 2. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Also be sure to review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Pupal development is progressing and this week adults should be occurring across most of southern SK and localized areas in AB.  Most of the population is predicted to be in the pupal stage (89%). The BAW model indicates that 10% of the population is in the adult stage .

Figure 1. Predicted precent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata)  populations at adults stage across the Canadian prairies as of June 17, 2019. 

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 “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” which is a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Again, thanks to John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture) who helped update the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol.  Use the images below (Fig. 2) to help identify moths from the by-catch that will be retained in phermone-baited unitraps.

Figure 2. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D).
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Also be sure to review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

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.

Albertan growers can report and check the online map for CSPW posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (screenshot provided below for reference; retrieved 02Jul2019).

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

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Based on BAW model runs, this week pupal development is greater than  80% across most of southern and central areas of the prairies (Fig. 1). Within the next five days BAW adults should begin to emerge in these areas.

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development across the Canadian prairies as of June 11, 2019.

Please ensure pheromone traps are out in SK and AB fields this week!

Table 1. Predicted emergence date of bertha armyworm moths at select locations across the Canadian prairies in 2019.

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” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

A special thanks to John Gavloski (Manitoba Agriculture) who helped update the PPMN Bertha armyworm monitoring protocol.  Use the images below (Fig. 2) to help identify moths from the by-catch that will be retained in phermone-baited unitraps.

Figure 2. Stages of bertha armyworm from egg (A), larva (B), pupa (C) to adult (D). 
Photos: J. Williams (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Also be sure to review the Insect of the Week which features bertha armyworm and its doppelganger, the clover cutworm!

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 should typically begin for this pest as canola enters the bud stage.

Monitoring – Refer to the 2019 update of the PPMN Cabbage seedpod weevil monitoring protocol for detailed information, photos of all insect stages and canola damage:

  • Sample from the bud to flower stages in canola.  
  • 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.  

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.

Insect of the Week – Doppelgangers: Bertha armyworm and clover cutworm

The case of the bertha armyworm and the clover cutworm (and other cutworm species)

Clover cutworm larva
cc-by 3.0 Lo Troisfontaine
Bertha armyworm – caterpillar 
Mike Dolinski, MikeDolinski@hotmail.com

Are those bertha armyworms (Mamestra configurata) eating your canola, mustard or alfalfa (also found on lamb’s-quarters, peas, flax, potato)? Or is it maybe a clover cutworm (Discestra trifolii)? [Note: not all cutworm species spend their larval stage underground.] The larvae of the two species are doppelgangers as they are similar in appearance, have a large overlap in host crops, and have similar timing (June-September). Telling them apart can be a challenge but here are few tips to focus on to help distinguish:

Colour:

  • there are generally fewer velvety black clover cutworm caterpillars, with most of the clover cutworm larvae being green or pale brown

Lateral stripe:

  • On the clover cutworm it is yellowish-pink
  • On the bertha armyworm it is yellowish-orange
Climbing cutworm larva – from Cutworm Field Guide
Climbing cutworm adults – from Cutworm Field Guide

In terms of scouting, economic thresholds and control options, treat both species as you would bertha armyworms.

Bertha armyworm – adult
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Clover cutworm adult
cc-by-nc-sa 2.0 Ilona Loser

To learn more about bertha armyworms and clover cutworms, go to the Insect of the Week page or download copies of the Field Crop and Forage Pests andtheir Natural Enemies in Western Canada and Cutworm Pests of Crops onthe Canadian Prairies identification field guides.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Based on BAW model runs, pupal development is nearing 80% in some areas of southern and central AB and SK (Fig. 1). BAW adults may begin to emerge within the next 10 days (Table 1).It is advisable to place pheromone traps in fields when pupal development is 80% to capture the full extent of adult flight activity. Based on this value, traps should be put out in SK and AB fields this week.

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development acrossthe Canadian prairies as of June 3, 2019. 
Table 1. Predicted emergence date of bertha armyworm moths at select locations across the Canadian prairies in 2019.

Recent warm conditions have advanced bertha armyworm (BAW) pupal development. Compared to last weekdevelopment is 2-6 days faster and development is 2 days ahead of normal (based on climate normals).  Model outputs were run for bertha armyworm for Saskatoon SK (Fig. 2), Lethbridge AB (Fig. 3), and Edmonton AB (Fig. 4).

Figure 2. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Saskatoon SK as of June 3, 2019. 
Figure 3. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Lethbridge AB as of June 3, 2019. 
Figure 4. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Edmonton AB as of June 3, 2019. 

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” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Predicted bertha armyworm development

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Pupal development is approximately 40%. Average development is 48% (Fig. 1). 

Figure 1. Predicted bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) pupal development acrossthe Canadian prairies as of May 28, 2019. 

In order to determine when adults may emerge, the BAW model was run for Brandon MB (Fig. 2), Saskatoon SK (Fig. 3), Lethbridge AB (Fig. 4) and Edmonton AB (Fig. 5) and projected to June 30, 2019. Model projections indicate that adults will begin to emerge in mid June. Recent heat will advance development of pupae. Traps should be placed in fields when pupal development reaches 80%. Based on model projections, it is advisable that traps be placed in fields on or before June 7. 

Figure 2. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Brandon MB projected to June 30, 2019.  
Figure 3. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Saskatoon SK projected to June 30, 2019.   
Figure 4. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Lethbridge AB projected to June 30, 2019.  
Figure 5. Predicted development of bertha armyworm populations near Edmonton AB projected to June 30, 2019.   

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” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Flea beetles

Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Phyllotreta species)– As newly seeded stands begin to emerge, the need for in-field scouting increases.  Review Wk05 for flea beetle information, visual guides to help estimate percent of cotyledon damage, and links to the Insect Field Guide.  

This week we also link to Canola Watch which released flea beetle scouting and management tips for canola.  Provincial entomologists, flea beetle researchers and Canola Council of Canada specialists all provided input into this article.

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.

Scouting Charts – Canola and Flax

Reminder – We have updated the field scouting charts so they now link to pages within the 2018 version of the Insect Field Guide

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

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Canola

2. FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Flax

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

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

Good luck with your scouting!

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.

Flea beetles

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

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

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

Figure 1. Canola cotyledons with various percentages of leaf area consume owing to 
flea beetle feeding damage (Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).
Figure 2.  Percent leaf area consumed by flea beetles feeding on canola seedlings 
(Photo: Soroka & Underwood, AAFC-Saskatoon).

Refer to the flea beetle page from the “Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and management field guide” as an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Scouting Charts – Canola and Flax

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

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

1. CANOLA INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Canola

2. FLAX INSECT SCOUTING CHART

2018_ScoutingChart_Flax

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

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

Good luck with your scouting!

2018 Swede Midge Pheromone Monitoring Results

In 2018, swede midge pheromone traps were deployed at 41 sites across the Prairie region of Canada to monitor adult populations of this brassica pest. Of the 41 trap sites, 16 were located in Alberta, 19 in Saskatchewan (where positive swede midge identifications were made in 2007 and 2009), and 6 in Manitoba.

None of the traps were positive for swede midge in 2018. 

We are grateful to all of the producers, agronomists, and cooperators who participated in the 2018 swede midge monitoring project. Without your assistance, we could not have supported such a thorough and widespread pheromone monitoring program.

We also extend our thanks to Jonathon Williams for organizing the program, distributing trapping materials, and processing returned sticky cards for adult swede midge.

Because of the serious threat that swede midge poses to canola production, it is vital that monitoring for swede midge continues across the Prairies. At this time, plans are being made for the 2019 swede midge monitoring program. We hope that we can count on your support and cooperation in 2019.

At this time, plans are being made for the 2019 swede midge monitoring program. Agrologists or growers interested in performing weekly monitoring in 2019 are encouraged to contact Jonathon Williams, Boyd Mori, or Meghan Vankosky for more information.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon Research and Development Centre

More information about swede midge can be found by:

Bertha armyworm

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Pheromone trapping across the prairies is almost complete for the 2018 growing season but now it is important to scout for larvae feeding on leaves and developing pods!

Review your province’s 2018 bertha armyworm pheromone trapping results towards the end of this Post.

Monitoring:

  • Larval sampling should commence once the adult moths are noted. 
  • Sample at least three locations, a minimum of 50 m apart. 
  • At each location, mark an area of 1 m2 and beat the plants growing within that area to dislodge the larvae. 
  • Count them and compare the average against the values in the economic threshold table below:  

Scouting tips:

  • Some bertha armyworm larvae remain green or pale brown throughout their larval life. 
  • Large larvae may drop off the plants and curl up when disturbed, a defensive behavior typical of cutworms and armyworms. 
  • Young larvae chew irregular holes in leaves, but normally cause little damage. The fifth and sixth instar stages cause the most damage by defoliation and seed pod consumption. Crop losses due to pod feeding will be most severe if there are few leaves. 
  • Larvae eat the outer green layer of the stems and pods exposing the white tissue. 
  • At maturity, in late summer or early fall, larvae burrow into the ground and form pupae.

Albertans can access the online reporting map (screenshot below retrieved 14Aug2018 for reference):

Saskatchewan growers can check the 2018 bertha armyworm map (screenshot below retrieved 01Aug2018 for reference):

Manitoban growers can find bertha armyworm updates in that province’s Insect and Disease Updates.  A screen shot of that summary (retrieved 01Aug2018) is pasted below:

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.

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 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.

Thrips

Thrips in canola (Thynsanoptera) – While scouting at this time of year, curled canola pods may be encountered.  The culprits are quite possibly thrips.

Thrips damage observed in canola in the northeast of Saskatchewan in July 2016 (Photo: AAFC-Saskatoon, Olfert 2016).

Damage: Flower thrips (Thysanoptera) are pests of a broad range of plants including cereals and broadleaved crops such as canola. Thrips are minute, slender-bodied insects with rasping-sucking mouthparts and feed by rasping the surface of canola buds and sucking up plant fluids. 

Biology: Thrips have six life stages: egg, two larval stages, a prepupal and pupal stage and an adult. Both adults and nymphs cause damage by feeding on the flower and buds. Limited surveys in 1999 in Saskatchewan and Alberta indicated that the predominant species were Frankliniella tritici (flower thrip) followed by Thrips tabaci (onion thrip) and T. vulgatissimus (no common name).

In canola, pods damaged by thrips are often curled and tend to drop prematurely.  Some species, such as T. vulgatissimus have been credited with contributing to pollination.

Curled pods of canola caused by thrips feeding damage (Photos: AAFC-Saskatoon, Olfert et al. 1998)

Read more about thrips in canola by accessing this article by Olfert et al. 1998). 

Flea beetles

Flea Beetles (Chrysomelidae: Phyllotreta species) – By early pod stages in canola, newly eclosed adult flea beetles begin to emerge from the soil.  These individuals typically feed then move away from canola fields to locate overwintering habitats.  

Normally, it can be difficult to locate these newly emerged adults but every few years they are easily observed among canola pods.  These adults can feed on upper leaves and nip at the exterior of canola pods but are typically observed in low densities – too low to cause economic damage.  Even so, be watchful – areas with high numbers of flea beetles late in the growing season are worthwhile to scout early in 2019.  

Remember – the Action Threshold for flea beetles on canola is 25% of COTYLEDON LEAF AREA consumed.  

Normally, it is NOT recommended to apply foliar insecticides for flea beetles in canola during the pod stages for the following reasons:

  • Flea beetles are very mobile at this point in the season,
  • Canola canopy is very thick,
  • Growers must be cautious about pre-harvest intervals,
  • PLUS, little is understood about overwintering survival of this pest!

Reminder – Earlier this season, the Insect of the Week featured flea beetles!

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.

Ladybird beetles

Reminder – While scouting, you may encounter these fascinating organisms…..

Figure 1. Ladybird beetle larva (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 2. Ladybird beetle pupa (Left) and larva (Right) (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 3. Ladybird beetle pupa (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 4. Ladybird beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 5. Aphids nestled on wheat head (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 6. An aphid “mummy” adhered to a wheat awn.  Mummy is the aphid host converted to enclose a soon-to-emerge parasitoid wasp (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)

Ladybird beetle larvae (Fig. 1-2), pupae (Fig. 2-3), and adults (Fig. 4) can all be found in fields at this time of year.  Take a look at the various stages and the many patterns of native and introduced species to recognize these as Field Heroes!  Ladybird beetles are categorized as general predators and will feed on several species of arthropods but are partial to aphids (Fig. 5).  

Bertha armyworm

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Pheromone trapping across the prairies is almost complete for the 2018 growing season but now it is important to scout for larvae feeding on leaves and developing pods!

Review your province’s 2018 bertha armyworm pheromone trapping results towards the end of this Post.

Monitoring:

  • Larval sampling should commence once the adult moths are noted. 
  • Sample at least three locations, a minimum of 50 m apart. 
  • At each location, mark an area of 1 m2 and beat the plants growing within that area to dislodge the larvae. 
  • Count them and compare the average against the values in the economic threshold table below:  

Scouting tips:

  • Some bertha armyworm larvae remain green or pale brown throughout their larval life. 
  • Large larvae may drop off the plants and curl up when disturbed, a defensive behavior typical of cutworms and armyworms. 
  • Young larvae chew irregular holes in leaves, but normally cause little damage. The fifth and sixth instar stages cause the most damage by defoliation and seed pod consumption. Crop losses due to pod feeding will be most severe if there are few leaves. 
  • Larvae eat the outer green layer of the stems and pods exposing the white tissue. 
  • At maturity, in late summer or early fall, larvae burrow into the ground and form pupae.

Albertans can access the online reporting map (screenshot below retrieved 31Jul2018 for reference):

Saskatchewan growers can check the 2018 bertha armyworm map (screenshot below retrieved 31Jul2018 for reference):

Manitoban growers can find bertha armyworm updates in that province’s Insect and Disease Updates.  A screen shot of that summary is pasted below:

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.

Thrips

Thrips in canola (Thynsanoptera) – While scouting at this time of year, curled canola pods may be encountered.  The culprits are quite possibly thrips.

Thrips damage observed in canola in the northeast of Saskatchewan in July 2016 (Photo: AAFC-Saskatoon, Olfert 2016).

Damage: Flower thrips (Thysanoptera) are pests of a broad range of plants including cereals and broadleaved crops such as canola. Thrips are minute, slender-bodied insects with rasping-sucking mouthparts and feed by rasping the surface of canola buds and sucking up plant fluids. 

Biology: Thrips have six life stages: egg, two larval stages, a prepupal and pupal stage and an adult. Both adults and nymphs cause damage by feeding on the flower and buds. Limited surveys in 1999 in Saskatchewan and Alberta indicated that the predominant species were Frankliniella tritici (flower thrip) followed by Thrips tabaci (onion thrip) and T. vulgatissimus (no common name).

In canola, pods damaged by thrips are often curled and tend to drop prematurely.  Some species, such as T. vulgatissimus have been credited with contributing to pollination.

Curled pods of canola caused by thrips feeding damage (Photos: AAFC-Saskatoon, Olfert et al. 1998)

Read more about thrips in canola by accessing this article by Olfert et al. 1998). 

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 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.

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.

Albertan growers can report and check the online map for CSPW posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (screenshot provided below for reference; retrieved 31Jul2018).

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

Ladybird beetles

While scouting, you may encounter these fascinating organisms…..

Figure 1. Ladybird beetle larva (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 2. Ladybird beetle pupa (Left) and larva (Right) (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 3. Ladybird beetle pupa (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 4. Ladybird beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 5. Aphids nestled on wheat head (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)
Figure 6. An aphid “mummy” adhered to a wheat awn.  Mummy is the aphid host converted to enclose a soon-to-emerge parasitoid wasp (photo credit: AAFC-Beaverlodge)

Ladybird beetle larvae (Fig. 1-2), pupae (Fig. 2-3), and adults (Fig. 4) can all be found in fields at this time of year.  Take a look at the various stages and the many patterns of native and introduced species to recognize these as Field Heroes!  Ladybird beetles are categorized as general predators and will feed on several species of arthropods but are partial to aphids (Fig. 5).  

Insect of the Week – Natural enemies of the canola flower midge

This week’s Insects of the Week are two parasitoid wasps, an Inostemma sp. (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae) and a Gastrancistus sp. (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae). These parasitoids are natural enemies of the canola flower midge (Contarinia brassicola, Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), a newly discovered fly species that uses canola as its host plant. The parasitoids have been found throughout the Prairies emerging from infested galls created by the canola flower midge. Little is known about these two species, but parasitism rates as high as 30% have been noted in northeast Saskatchewan.

Gastrancistrus sp. (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae)
(c) 2016 Boyd Mori, AAFC
Inostemma sp. (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae)
(c) 2016 Boyd Mori, AAFC

Submitted by Dr. Boyd Mori and Dr. Meghan Vankosky

Find out more about the natural enemies of the canola flower midge and more at the Insect of the Week page!

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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 continue 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.  For lygus bug monitoring, sampling is most accurate when repeated at a total of 15 spots within the field.  Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). 

If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 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.

Bertha armyworm

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Pheromone trapping across the prairies is almost complete for the 2018 growing season but now it is important to scout for larvae feeding on leaves and developing pods.

Monitoring:

  • Larval sampling should commence once the adult moths are noted. 
  • Sample at least three locations, a minimum of 50 m apart. 
  • At each location, mark an area of 1 m2 and beat the plants growing within that area to dislodge the larvae. 
  • Count them and compare the average against the values in the economic threshold table below:  

Scouting tips:

  • Some bertha armyworm larvae remain green or pale brown throughout their larval life. 
  • Large larvae may drop off the plants and curl up when disturbed, a defensive behavior typical of cutworms and armyworms. 
  • Young larvae chew irregular holes in leaves, but normally cause little damage. The fifth and sixth instar stages cause the most damage by defoliation and seed pod consumption. Crop losses due to pod feeding will be most severe if there are few leaves. 
  • Larvae eat the outer green layer of the stems and pods exposing the white tissue. 
  • At maturity, in late summer or early fall, larvae burrow into the ground and form pupae.

Albertans can access the online reporting map (screenshot below retrieved 24Jul2018 for reference):

Saskatchewan growers can check the 2018 bertha armyworm map (screenshot below retrieved 26Jul2018 for reference):

Manitoban growers can find bertha armyworm updates in that province’s Insect and Disease Updates.  The July 25th update summarized that, “out of the 99 traps, 87 currently have cumulative counts in the low risk category (less than 300), one trap is in the moderate risk range, and 11 traps are in the uncertain risk category.  Most of the highest cumulative counts so far are in the western part of Manitoba.”

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.

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.

Albertan growers can report and check the online map for CSPW posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (screenshot provided below for reference; retrieved 24Jul2018).

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

Insect of the Week – The new canola flower midge (Contarinia brassicola, Diptera: Cecidomyiidae)

This week’s Insect of the week is a new find on the prairies, tentatively called the canola flower midge, Contarinia brassicola (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). The canola flower midge has been found throughout central Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the Swan River Valley in Manitoba. The female lays eggs on developing canola flower buds. Upon hatching, the larvae feed within the developing flower and cause the formation of a “pop-bottle”-shaped gall. To date, this is the only damage associated with the midge, and it has been minimal across the prairies.

Adult canola flower midges appear similar to swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii). They are tiny, delicate flies, 2-5 mm in size. They can be differentiated from swede midge based on the appearance of the female antennae, the damage symptoms they produce and genetically.

Many thanks to Scott Meers and Shelley Barkley (Alberta Agriculture and Forestry) for organizing the Alberta surveys for the canola flower midge.  

Submitted by Dr. Boyd Mori and Dr. Meghan Vankosky

Find out more about the insect pests that plague your crops and the natural enemies that keep them in check at the Insect of the Week page!

“Pop-bottle”-shaped galls created by the canola flower midge.
(c) 2016 Boyd Mori, AAFC

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – As of July 16, 2018, the model output indicates that Lygus populations range from first instar stage to adults with most populations being comprised mainly of fifth instar stage and adult stages (Fig. 1). 

Figure 1. Lygus development (average instar) based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 16, 2018.

Warmer temperatures have resulted in more rapid development in southern Manitoba and southeast Saskatchewan. Model runs were conducted for Saskatoon, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie to compare site specific development. The Lygus model output suggests that populations in Lethbridge and Saskatoon should be primarily comprised of fifth instar and  adult stages while populations near Grande Prairie are predicted to be comprised of fourth and fifth instar stages with adults beginning to appear (Fig. 2) 

Figure 2. Predicted Lygus phenology at Saskatoon, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.
Values are based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 16, 2018.

Remember – The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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.

Begin monitoring canola when it bolts and continue 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.

Repeat the sampling in another 14 locations. Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 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.

Cabbage root maggot

Cabbage root maggot (Delia spp.) – Among root feeding pests of canola, historically five species of Delia flies have been identified across the Canadian prairies.  Delia radicum (L.), D. floralis (Fallén), D. platura (Meigan), D. planipalpis (Stein), and D. florilega (Zett.) have been observed in canola over 30 years of research (Liu and Butts 1982, Griffiths 1986a, Broatch and Vernon 1997; Soroka and Dosdall 2011).  A summary of root maggot biology, research, and pest management recommendations for canola production was published by Soroka and Dosdall (2011).  

Root maggots continue to be a problematic in canola production largely owing to the fact that (i) the species is composition varies by geographic latitude and local conditions, plus (ii) one or two generations per year will occur but varies by species.  The species complex is typically characterized by multiple, overlapping generations of Delia resulting in adults laying eggs in canola (Refer to upper left photo for adult and eggs) from late Spring to October and maggots feeding on roots from late rosette until late fall (Refer to upper right photo).  Root maggots pupate and overwinter within cigar-shaped, reddish-brown puparia 5-20 cm below the soil surface (Soroka and Dosdall 2011) so canola-on-canola rotations should be avoided.  In the spring, adults emerge from mid-May to mate and females lay oval, white eggs singly or in batches near the base of cruciferous host plants over a 5-6 week period.  The larvae develop through three instar stages which feed on root hairs then secondary roots initially whereas older maggots will feed into the taproot of a canola plant.  

Refer to the root maggot 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.

Bertha armyworm

Bertha armyworm (Lepidoptera: Mamestra configurata– Pheromone trapping across the prairies is almost complete for the 2018 growing season but now it is important to scout for larvae feeding on leaves.

Monitoring:

  • Larval sampling should commence once the adult moths are noted. 
  • Sample at least three locations, a minimum of 50 m apart. 
  • At each location, mark an area of 1 m2 and beat the plants growing within that area to dislodge the larvae. 
  • Count them and compare the average against the values in the economic threshold table below:  

Scouting tips:

  • Some bertha armyworm larvae remain green or pale brown throughout their larval life. 
  • Large larvae may drop off the plants and curl up when disturbed, a defensive behavior typical of cutworms and armyworms. 
  • Young larvae chew irregular holes in leaves, but normally cause little damage. The fifth and sixth instar stages cause the most damage by defoliation and seed pod consumption. Crop losses due to pod feeding will be most severe if there are few leaves. 
  • Larvae eat the outer green layer of the stems and pods exposing the white tissue. 
  • At maturity, in late summer or early fall, larvae burrow into the ground and form pupae.

Albertans can access the online reporting map (screenshot below retrieved 18Jul2018 for reference):

Saskatchewan growers can check the 2018 bertha armyworm map (screenshot below retrieved 18Jul2018 for reference):

Manitoban growers can find bertha armyworm updates in that province’s Insect and Disease Updates.  The July 11th update summarized that, “out of the 99 traps, 93 currently have cumulative counts in the low risk category (less than 300), and six traps are in the uncertain risk category.  Most of the highest cumulative counts so far are in the western part of Manitoba. Trap counts in eastern Manitoba and the Interlake have generally been quite low.”

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.

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.

Albertan growers can report and check the online map for CSPW posted by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (screenshot provided below for reference; retrieved 18Jul2018).

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

Lygus in canola

Lygus bugs (Lygus spp.) – Due to warmer temperature data, the Lygus model output has predicted rapid a increase in development across southern and central prairie regions with Lygus adults forecast to occur across most of this area (Fig. 1). 

Figure 1. Lygus development (average instar) based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 9, 2018.

Remember – The economic threshold for Lygus in canola is applied at late flower and early pod stages.  

Adult L. lineolaris (5-6 mm long) (photo: AAFC-Saskatoon).
Fifth instar lygus bug nymph (3-4 mm long) (photo:  AAFC-Saskatoon).

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. They 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.

Begin monitoring canola when it bolts and continue 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.

Repeat the sampling in another 14 locations. Samples can be taken along or near the field margins. Calculate the cumulative total number of lygus bugs and then consult the sequential sampling chart (Figure C). If the total number is below the lower threshold line, no treatment is needed. If the total is below the upper threshold line, take more samples. If the total is on or above the upper threshold line, calculate the average number of lygus bugs per 10-sweep sample and consult the economic threshold table.

Sequential sampling for lygus bugs at late flowering stage in canola.

The economic threshold for lygus bugs in canola covers the end of the flowering (Table 1) and the early pod ripening stages (Table 2). Once the seeds have ripened to yellow or brown, the cost of controlling lygus bugs may exceed the damage they will cause prior to harvest, so insecticide application is not warranted.

Consider the estimated cost of spraying and expected return prior to making a decision to treat a crop. 

Remember that insecticide applications at bud stage in canola have not been proven to result in an economic benefit in production.  The exception to this is in the Peace River region where early, dry springs and unusually high densities of lygus bug adults can occasionally occur at bud stage.  In this situation, high numbers of lygus bugs feeding on moisture-stressed canola at bud stage is suspected to result in delay of flowering so producers in that region must monitor in fields that fail to flower as expected.

Table 1.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at late flowering and early pod stages (Wise and Lamb 1998).

1 Canola crop stage estimated using Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).
2 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.1235 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

Table 2.  Economic thresholds for lygus bugs in canola at pod stage (Wise and Lamb 1998).

 3 Economic thresholds are based on an assumed loss of 0.0882 bu/ac per lygus bug caught in 10 sweeps (Wise and Lamb. 1998. The Canadian Entomologist. 130: 825-836).

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 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.

Abundant parastioids in canola!

The cabbage seedpod weevil is a chronic pest of canola in southern Alberta and south western Saskatchewan; it has recently reached Manitoba as well. The pest is managed with insecticides, which are sprayed at early flower. This year, in some canola fields around Lethbridge AB, an abundant parasitoid wasp was noticed at the time when fields may be sprayed. The wasp was identified as Diolcogaster claritibia (Fig. 1; thanks to Vincent Hervet and Jose Fernandez for confirming identification).

The wasp is a parasitoid that attacks diamondback moth larvae and recently abundant in some fields in 2017. In some of the fields sampled, as many parasitoids as cabbage seedpod weevil (i.e., nearly one per sweep) were observed. In the fields sampled (i.e., around 10), cabbage seedpod weevils were below thresholds on average, though some spots may have been close to the threshold of 2-3 weevils per sweep.

The above observation emphasizes the value of beneficial arthropods like Diolcogaster claritibia.  It is important to recognize that foliar applications of insecticides kill beneficial insects like this small wasp (about 2 mm) which attacks and helps regulate pest populations of diamondback moth or other Lepidoptera, including cutworms and cabbage worms. Thus, think beneficials before you spray!

Figure 1.  Diolcagaster claritibia adult measuring ~2mm in length (Photo credit J. Fernandez, AAFC-Ottawa).

Learn more about beneficials by accessing Field Heroes and all the Blog’s Parasitoid posts.