Peace region canola survey finds no cabbage seedpod


Lygus bug nymphs | Some canola fields may still be at high risk, say researchers

Bugsters searching for the destructive cabbage seedpod weevil in the Peace River region couldn’t find any in the sampled fields.

Jennifer Otani, entomologist with Agriculture Canada, said they are confident the weevil hasn’t moved north to the Peace region.

The Peace canola survey has been conducted annually since the pest moved into southern Alberta in 2003.

“The whole point of the survey is watching for it,” said Otani, of Beaverlodge.

Random samples of insects were taken in 168 fields in the B.C. and Alberta Peace region during the canola flowering stage.

What did show up in the canola sweeps was a sampling of other canola insects, including lygus bugs. While samples varied widely, lygus bug nymphs were discovered in economically damaging numbers in some fields.

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“Some fields were at the threshold level and are at a higher risk,” said Otani.

“We want people to keep monitoring, especially in the early pod stage.”

Gregory Sekulic, agronomist with the Canola Council of Canada for the Peace River region, said the number of lygus nymphs varies widely between fields and farmers need to monitor their fields.

“A few fields are at economic levels. It’s more vigilance than a panic situation,” he said.

Officials believe the cabbage seedpod weevil hasn’t moved into Alberta’s Peace River region. | File photo

Diamondback moths were present in low densities.

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None of the fields exhibited economically significant diamondback moth damage and parasitoid wasps known to attack diamondback moth were observed at most sites surveyed.

Grasshoppers were present in only two fields surveyed and bertha armyworms were not observed in the sweeps, but counts from pheromone traps were also being conducted.

Otani cautioned producers from spraying pesticides unless destructive pest numbers were high.

“In general, there was a fairly healthy insect population as opposed to an economic population of pest species,” she said.

Sekulic also said the survey was generally good news.

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“It’s not a panic over insects, but we are getting reports and want to suggest farmers be out checking.”