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.

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 bertha armyworm development

Model simulations to June 20, 2021, indicate that the development of bertha armyworm (BAW) (Mamestra configurata) pupae are nearly complete. Other than the Peace River region, BAW adults should now be active across the prairies (Fig. 1). Model simulations indicate that BAW oviposition has begun across southern areas of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and localized areas in Alberta (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population that is in the adult stage (% of population) across the Canadian prairies as of June 20, 2021.
Figure 2. Predicted percent of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) population that is in the egg stage (% of population) across the Canadian prairies as of June 20, 2021.

Model projections to July 6 predict that development near Brandon will be more advanced than development near Grande Prairie (Figs. 3 and 4). 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.

Figure 3. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Brandon, Manitoba as of June 20, 2021 (projected to July 6, 2021).
Figure 4. Predicted development of bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) populations near Grande Prairie, Alberta as of June 20, 2021 (projected to July 6, 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 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.

BERTHA ARMYWORM: THESE HUNGRY CATERPILLARS ARE A MAJOR CANOLA PEST

bertha armyworm (AAFC)

This week’s Insect of the Week is the bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata), a crop pest with the potential to do serious damage when populations run high. Though these insects are harmless to crops as adults, bertha armyworm larvae primarily consume canola, mustard, and alfalfa. Larvae may also consume plants like flax, peas and potatoes. The bertha armyworm is prevalent across the Prairies.

Prior to reaching their mature larval size, bertha armyworms feed on the underside of leaves. In canola and other plants that drop their leaves prior to the bertha armyworms’ larval maturation, the growing larvae move on to eat seed pods, stripping the pods and in extreme cases, consuming the seeds inside them. Even when the seed pods are not eaten through, stripped pods risk shattering and can hinder crop development.

bertha armyworm damage to seed pods (AAFC)

Adults are 20 millimeters long moths with a greyish body and 40 mm wingspan. Wing markings on the forewing include prominent white, kidney-shaped markings near the midpoint, and an olive and white irregular marking extending along the wing tip. Mature larvae are 40 mm long black (though sometimes light green or light brown) caterpillars with a light brown head and an orange stripe along each side, with three broken white lines down their backs.

bertha armyworm moth (Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development)

Biological and monitoring information related to the bertha armyworm in field crops can be found on our Monitoring page as well as on provincial Agriculture Ministry pages (ManitobaSaskatchewanand Alberta). For more information, visit the bertha armyworm page 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).

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.

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.