Alfalfa weevil feeding typically occurs to leaves near the top of the plant. Damage can range from parts of leaves being eaten, to 'skeletonization' of the leaves and total defoliation. | File photo

Alfalfa weevil infestation requires immediate action

Prairie growers should be checking their alfalfa fields for alfalfa weevils as soon as possible, say forage experts in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. If weevil larvae numbers are high, the alfalfa crop should be cut immediately, weather permitting. If that’s not possible, growers should consider a pesticide application. “There are many alfalfa fields where if it’s […] Read more

A new species of midge has been found in Saskatchewan and Alberta. Experts will study the insect to determine its life cycle and learn whether it will cause yield losses or is benign.
|  Agriculture Canada photo

Experts excited but puzzled by hairy midge discovery

It’s bigger and it’s hairier than Swede midge, but there’s a lot more to be learned about a new species of midge recently identified in Saskatchewan and Alberta canola fields. Researchers know the midge can damage canola flowers, but more study is planned to determine whether that damage is economically significant and whether the insect […] Read more

A year of low grasshopper presence is no time for farmers to let down their guard.  |  File photo

Producers improve ’hopper forecast

It is hard to find producers concerned about grasshoppers this season. The conditions for the pests have not been ideal and where populations are significant, there is more than enough plant material to share with farmers. Being able predict pest populations and potential costs to growers across the Prairies is based on studies carried out […] Read more

Agriculture Canada research scientist Owen Olfert sweeps a grassy area looking for insects. Information will be used to create forecast maps and provide risk warnings.  |  Owen Olfert photo

Online network helps farmers get jump on pests

Farmers who subscribe to the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network (PPMN) can get year-long information on what is predicted for their fields. The online prairie-wide monitoring system forecasts insect threats, monitors insect populations and offers advice on the best way to scout for pests and keep them under control. Owen Olfert is a research scientist with […] Read more

Alberta’s annual insect forecasts show few worrisome areas, with one notable exception. | File photo

It’s a slow year for crop pests … unless you live in Foremost

Alberta’s annual insect forecasts show few worrisome areas, with one notable exception

Alberta farmers may have fewer issues with cabbage seedpod weevil this year, except for those near Foremost. Grasshopper forecasts also indicate limited threat, except for those near Foremost. And as for wheat stem sawfly? Yes, Foremost could see greater numbers. The County of Forty Mile in southeastern Alberta has potential to be the insect hot […] Read more

Some species of dung beetles are  known as “rollers.” This stock image shows the insect’s tenacity and skill.

Inset below: There are a dozen different species of dung beetles on prairie pastures.  | File photo

Been there, dung that

What if ranchers could find a way to increase grazing, recycle nitrogen, reduce the number of pest flies, increase forage yield, improve soil water retention and ground aeration, lower animal disease rates and beautify landscapes? What would such combined services be worth? Regardless of the number, the dung beetle does it all and does it […] Read more

Is it going to storm? Check for flying beetles

It’s a lot of work for one insect species, but the dung beetle aphodius distinctus is thought by some to be a weather forecaster as well as a manure handler. H.L. Seamans of the Dominion Entomological Laboratory in Lethbridge studied flights of the dung beetle in the early 1920s. In a 1934 paper published in […] Read more

Hector Carcamo, Agriculture Canada insect pest management researcher, explores a canola research plot in search of insects, beneficial and otherwise, during a crop walk event held in Lethbridge Aug. 7.  |  Barb Glen photo

Bugs don’t get recognition they deserve

Hector Carcamo once kept a carabid beetle as a pet. Ground beetles and spiders are among the Agriculture Canada entomologist’s favourite insects as many of them do battle against pests that damage crops. Those battles aren’t pretty. Beneficial insects bore holes into the eggs or bodies of insects and lie in wait to attack or […] Read more

Producers who grow wheat in areas where 1,200 or more midge per sq. metre are expected should budget for the cost of insecticide.  |  File photo

Wheat midge poses big risk for eastern Sask.

Increased moisture to blame | Cabbage seed pod weevil in canola is also expected to cause major problems this year

Wheat growers in eastern Saskatchewan will likely face significant wheat midge infestation this year, according to the provincial forecast. Surveys done last fall found that the regions of greatest risk will be the black and dark brown soil zones in east-central and southeastern areas. Wheat midge is commonly a problem in these regions but is […] Read more

Healthy crops are the best defence against wireworms.  |  PMRA photo

Watch out for wireworms

A handful of rolled oats, a bit of water and a dollop of honey makes bait that is irresistible to wireworms. Not that anyone wants to attract them, but it is useful for farmers to know whether wireworms are a factor in their fields. A bait ball can help them find out. The pests, which […] Read more