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Alberta Agriculture Insect Monitoring Program

Insect monitoring is underway through Alberta Agriculture. This program is coordinated by Scott Meers, Insect Management Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and technician, Shelley Barkley.

There are seven main surveys. Pea leaf weevil, cabbage seedpod weevil, diamondback moth, bertha armyworm, grasshoppers, wheat midge and wheat stem sawfly. In addition Alberta Agriculture will be doing several smaller surveillance surveys including a survey of the new canola flower midge. This survey will concentrate in central Alberta and up into the Peace River region.

The pea leaf weevil survey, is conducted in late May and June and will be carried out throughout Alberta in 2018.  This survey consists of counting the number of feeding notches on 10 plants in 5 locations of the field. Work is done along the headland and fields are not entered at all. If you have a pea field that could be surveyed please send an email to bugs.r.us@gov.ab.ca.

Bertha armyworm (June/July) and diamondback moth (May/June) surveys are pheromone based and are conducted by cooperators. Traps are place on canola field margins and checked weekly. Results are tabulated by cooperators, trap counts are entered by cooperators using a web based reporting system and automatically reported via our web page. We are always looking to fill holes in our monitoring system. If producers or agrologists wish to participate, we welcome their assistance and will provide all needed supplies.

Cabbage seedpod weevil survey is done at early flower by taking a set of 25 sweeps with a sweep net. The number of cabbage seedpod weevils, lygus and diamondback moth larvae are reported. In addition we have a reporting tool which agrologists can report the cabbage seedpod weevil numbers they are finding.

The grasshopper survey is carried out by agriculture fieldmen (during early August) in their county each year. The results are tabulated by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. This is the most heavily utilized survey of the seven we coordinate.

Wheat midge and wheat stem sawfly surveys are carried out after harvest each year. The sawfly survey involves assessing the percentage of sawfly cut stems in 4 locations, 1 meter long, in each field. This survey is done in the traditional wheat stem sawfly area of southern Alberta and eastern central Alberta. Wheat midge is surveyed in all wheat growing areas of Alberta. This survey involves taking soil cores and washing overwintering larvae out of the soil. From this a forecast is prepared on the risk of midge populations the next year. If you have a wheat field that could be surveyed please send an email to bugs.r.us@gov.ab.ca.

Inspections are performed by technicians parking on the roadside and walking into fields. Sterilized boots or boot covers are ALWAYS used when entering fields and any tools that are used (i.e. soil sampler etc.) are sterilized between fields. Field entry protocol can be found on the Alberta Agriculture website.

Agriculture Fieldmen receive a year-end report for their county. Any producer that volunteers a field (or fields) will also get a year-end report on what was found.

Further information:

Posted in: Agriculture Weeds & Pests

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