Monday, 30 July 2018

Insect of the Week (July 30, 2018) - Wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus, Hymenoptera: Cephidae)

This week's Insect of the Week is the wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus). Adults are 8-13mm long and have a shiny, black, wasp-like body and yellow legs. When at rest on plant stems, they point their heads downwards.
Mature larvae overwinter in the base of stems in infested fields. In June, females emerge and fly to nearby wheat crops, where they can lay up to 50 eggs each on stems.

The wheat stem sawfly feeds primarily on spring and durum wheat, though winter wheat, rye, grain corn, barley, and some native grasses can support sawfly development. It cannot develop on oats.

Larvae feed on the pith of host plants stems which can cause a reduction in crop yield and quality. When plants mature, larvae move to the bottom of the stem to overwinter.

For more information about the wheat stem sawfly, head over to our Insect of the Week page!

Wheat stem sawfly - adult
(Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development)
Wheat stem sawfly - egg, larva, adult, damage
(Art Cushman, USDA Systematics Entomology Laboratory, Bugwood.org)

Friday, 27 July 2018

Corrections and updates to Weekly Update (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

Hello - This week three weather maps were incorrectly posted and the Saskatchewan bertha armyworm map was updated.  These items are now available for viewing:

Weather synopsis (Wk 12 for Jul 26th)

2018 Cumulative pheromone trap interceptions for Saskatchewan (as of July 18th)

Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 12 (July 26, 2018) OR downloadable PDF version.  Also review the "Insect of the Week" for Week 12!



Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please e-mail either Dr. Meghan Vankosky or Jennifer Otani.  Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.

Subscribe to the Blog by following these three steps!

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Weekly Update (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12) Otani, Weiss, Giffen, Mori, Vankosky, Svendsen, Olfert

Greetings!

In-field scouting remains critical as we move into August!  Access the complete Weekly Update either as a series of Posts for Week 12 (July 26, 2018) OR downloadable PDF version.  Also review the "Insect of the Week" for Week 12!




Questions or problems accessing the contents of this Weekly Update?  Please e-mail either Dr. Meghan Vankosky or Jennifer Otani.  Past “Weekly Updates” can be accessed on our Weekly Update page.

Subscribe to the Blog by following these three steps!

Weather synopsis (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

Weather synopsis – This past week (July 16 – 23, 2018) the average temperature (16.3 °C) was marginally warmer than long term average values (Fig. 1). The warmest weekly temperatures occurred across east-central AB and west-central/southern SK. The 30-day (June 23 – July 23) average temperature (15.8 °C) was similar to the long term average.  
Figure 1. Weekly (July 16-23, 2018) average temperature (°C).

Weekly and 30-day total precipitation was above average (Figs. 2 and 3).  The wettest region (30 day cumulative precipitation) was across eastern areas in SK and southern MB while central SK and most of AB continue to be dry.
Figure 2. Weekly (July 16 – 23, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).


Figure 3.  The 30-day (June 23 – July 23, 2018) cumulative precipitation (mm).

The map below reflects the Highest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days (July 17-23, 2018) across the prairies and is available from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Fig. 4). 
Figure 4. Highest temperature across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (July 17-23, 2018). Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (24Jul2018).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true&reset=1529635048320).

The map below reflects the Highest Temperatures occurring over the past 7 days (July 17-23, 2018) across the prairies and is available from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Fig. 5). 
Figure 5. Lowest temperature across the Canadian prairies the past seven days (July 17-23, 2018). Image has not been reproduced in affiliation with, or with the endorsement of the Government of Canada and was retrieved (24Jul2018).  Access the full map at http://www.agr.gc.ca/DW-GS/current-actuelles.jspx?lang=eng&jsEnabled=true&reset=1529635048320).


The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 10ºC, March 1 – July 22, 2018) is below:




The growing degree day map (GDD) (Base 5ºCMarch 1 – July 22, 2018) is below:


The maps above are all produced by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Growers may wish to bookmark the AAFC Drought Watch Maps for the growing season.

Predicted grasshopper development (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

Grasshopper Simulation Model Output – The grasshopper simulation model will be used to monitor grasshopper development across the prairies. Weekly temperature data collected across the prairies is incorporated into the simulation model which calculates estimates of grasshopper development stages based on biological parameters for Melanoplus sanguinipes (Migratory grasshopper).  

As of July 23, 2018, most grasshopper populations are predicted to be primarily in the fifth instar or adult stages (Fig. 1A). Development is well ahead of average population development (Fig. 1B). Normally the first appearance of adults occurs during the last week of July (central Saskatchewan).  

Figure 1. Grasshopper development (average instar) based on model simulations for the current growing season (A) and
for long term normal climate (B) (April 1 – July 23, 2018).

Grasshopper development varied across the prairies, and was predicted to be more advanced across the southern prairies (e.g., Lethbridge; Fig. 2A) than in the Peace River region (fourth and fifth instar stages; Fig. 2). 


Figure 2. Predicted grasshopper phenology at Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.
Values are based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 23, 2018.

Figure 3.  Clearwinged grasshopper stages including egg, first to fifth instar stages and adult (left to right).


Grasshopper Scouting Steps: 
● Measure off a distance of 50 m on the level road surface and mark both starting and finishing points using markers or specific posts on the field margin.
● Starting at one end in either the field or the roadside and walk toward the other end of the 50 m making some disturbance with your feet to encourage any grasshoppers to jump. 
● Grasshoppers that jump/fly through the field of view within a one meter width in front of the observer are counted. 
● A meter stick can be carried as a visual tool to give perspective for a one meter width.  However, after a few stops one can often visualize the necessary width and a meter stick may not be required. Also, a hand-held counter can be useful in counting while the observer counts off the required distance. 
● At the end point the total number of grasshoppers is divided by 50 to give an average per meter. For 100 m, repeat this procedure. 

● Compare counts to the following damage levels associated with pest species of grasshoppers:
0-2  per m² - None to very light damage
2-4  per m² - Very light damage
4-8  per m² - Light damage
8-12 per m² - Action threshold in cereals and canola
12-24 per m² - Severe damage 
>24 per m² - Very severe damage

* For lentils at flowering and pod stages, >2 per m² will cause yield loss.
* For flax at boll stages, >2 per m² will cause yield loss.


Biological and monitoring information related to grasshoppers in field crops is posted by Manitoba AgricultureSaskatchewan AgricultureAlberta Agriculture and Forestry, the BC Ministry of Agriculture and the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.  Also refer to the grasshopper 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.

Wheat midge (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

Wheat Midge (Sitodiplosis mosellana– Warm, moist conditions in Manitoba are predicted to be favourable for development wheat midge larvae (Fig. 1A). In Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan larvae should be dropping into the soil (Fig. 1B). 

Figure 1. Percent wheat midge in the early larval stage (A) and
larval cocoons (B) based on model simulations for April 1 – July 23, 2018.

Model runs for Saskatoon indicate the midge development, due to dryer conditions in June, is slower than predicted emergence at Brandon and Edmonton (Fig. 2). 




Figure 2. Predicted wheat midge phenology at Brandon, Saskatoon and Edmonton.
Values are based on model simulations, for April 1 – July 16, 2018.

Monitoring:
When monitoring wheat fields, pay attention to the synchrony between flying midge and anthesis.  

In-field monitoring for wheat midge should be carried out in the evening (preferably after 8:30 pm or later) when the female midges are most active. On warm (at least 15ºC), calm evenings, the midge can be observed in the field, laying their eggs on the wheat heads (photographed by AAFC-Beav-S. Dufton & A. Jorgensen below). Midge populations can be estimated by counting the number of adults present on 4 or 5 wheat heads. Inspect the field daily in at least 3 or 4 locations during the evening.




REMEMBER that in-field counts of wheat midge per head remain the basis of economic threshold decision.  Also remember that the parasitoid, Macroglenes penetrans (photographed by AAFC-Beav-S. Dufton below), is actively searching for wheat midge at the same time.  Preserve this parasitoid whenever possible and remember your insecticide control options for wheat midge also kill these beneficial insects which help reduce midge populations.






Economic Thresholds for Wheat Midge:

a) To maintain optimum grade: 1 adult midge per 8 to 10 wheat heads during the susceptible stage.


b) For yield only: 1 adult midge per 4 to 5 heads. At this level of infestation, wheat yields will be reduced by approximately 15% if the midge is not controlled.



Inspect the developing kernels for the presence of larvae and the larval damage. 



Click here to review the 2018 wheat midge forecast map.  

Information related to wheat midge biology and monitoring can be accessed by linking to your provincial fact sheet (Saskatchewan Agriculture or Alberta Agriculture & Forestry).  A review of wheat midge on the Canadian prairies was published by Elliott, Olfert, and Hartley in 2011.  Additionally, more information can be found by accessing the pages from the new "Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: Identification and Field Guide".  View ONLY the Wheat midge pages but remember the guide is available as a free downloadable document as both an English-enhanced or French-enhanced version.

Lygus in canola (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

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 (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

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 (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

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.

Cereal Aphid Manager (CAM) (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

Reminder - Aphids can cause significant damage to fields and increase crop losses, but just because aphids are present in a grain field doesn’t mean they will have a negative economic impact on production. This is especially true if there are aphid’s natural enemies (beneficial insects) in the field to keep them under control.
The Cereal Aphid Manager is an easy-to-use mobile app that helps farmers and crop advisors control aphid populations in wheat, barley, oat or rye. It is based on Dr. Tyler Wist's (AAFC-Saskatoon) innovative Dynamic Action Threshold model. The model treats the grain field as an ecosystem and takes into account many complex biological interactions including:
  • the number of aphids observed and how quickly they reproduce
  • the number of different natural enemies of aphids in the field and how many aphids they eat or parasitize per day
  • the lifecycles of aphids and their enemies taking into account developmental stages, egg laying behaviour, population growth rate, lifespan, etc.
By taking into consideration factors like these, the app predicts what the aphid population will be in seven days and the best time to apply insecticide based on economic thresholds.
Available in iOS and Android.
To learn more and to download, go to AAFC's CAM webpage.
Note: Cereal aphids can blow up from the South at any time which cannot be predicted by the app. Therefore, farmers and crop advisors should regularly check fields during the growing season regardless of what Cereal Aphid Manager Mobile may recommend.

CAM Homepage

CAM monitoring report and recommendation



CAM icon

West Nile Virus and Culex tarsalis (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

West Nile Virus Risk –  The regions most advanced in degree-day accumulations for Culex tarsalis, the vector for West Nile Virus, are shown in the map below.  Areas highlighted yellow then orange are approaching sufficient heat accumulation for mosquitoes to emerge while mosquitoes will be flying in areas in red so wear DEET to stay protected! 



Health Canada posts information related to West Nile Virus in Canada.  Health Canada also tracks WNV through humanmosquitobird and horse surveillance.  Link here to access the most current weekly update (July 7, 2018) on 2018 testing (screenshot retrieved 25Jul2018 provided below for reference only).



Reminder - The 2017 WNV surveillance map for human cases is available here but a screenshot is posted below for reference.


Figure 1.  As of surveillance week 49, ending December 9, 2017, the preliminary data indicated 197 human cases of WNV in Canada; twenty-five from Québec, 159 from Ontario, five from Manitoba, seven from Alberta, and one from British Columbia.

The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative compiles and posts information related to their disease surveillance for West Nile Virus in birds.  As of June 28, 2018, 642 birds were examined and zero have tested positive for West Nile virus

Provincial Insect Pest Reports (Jul 26, 2018; Wk 12)

Provincial entomologists provide insect pest updates throughout the growing season so we link to their most recent information: 

Manitoba's Insect and Disease Updates for 2018 can be accessed here. Issue #9 (posted for July 25, 2018) includes a summary of cumulative bertha armyworm counts from pheromone traps for 2018 and importance of monitoring in canola (bertha armyworm and diamondback moth) and soybeans (spider mites) but an overall low level of insect concerns so far.

Saskatchewan's Crop Production News for 2018 is posted with Issue #5 now available. This issue includes a description of cereal leaf beetle in Saskatchewan. Growers can review articles on how to scout for cutworms, how to assess plant stand densities in flax or canola, and for flea beetles, pea leaf weevils. Also note the following diamondback moth pheromone trap interception counts from across the regions (updated June 27, 2018):


Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's Call of the Land regularly includes insect pest updates from Scott Meers. The most recent Call of the Land (posted July 19, 2018) identified that SOME bertha armyworm pheromone traps over a wide geographic range have started to intercept higher numbers of moths. Elevated trap counts require further in-field scouting to accurately detect the number and staging of bertha armyworm larvae that will now feed on developing canola pods. Pea leaf weevil is a pest of several legume species so growers trying to establish seedling alfalfa in areas where pea leaf weevil has been confirmed are advised to scout. Early trends from the early flower canola survey include relatively lower numbers of cabbage seedpod weevil, lygus bugs, diamondback moth and leafhopper numbers compared to recent years but the prevalence of beneficial arthropods in some fields.