Based on last year’s conditions, a Manitoba provincial specialist is flagging three insects producers should watch for this growing season.
The species of flea beetle that most concerns John Gavloski, entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, mainly affects canola.
Farmers often use treated seed to minimize flea beetle issues, but that treatment often wears out in years with long stretches of cooler temperatures, and producers have to do additional spraying, Gavloski said.
“And that can be a big nuisance. They’ve had problems with the flea beetles the past few years.”
Flea beetles feed more aggressively during hot and dry conditions, but plants also grow faster.
“There’s kind of a trade-off,” he said. “But based on what levels were like last year, that’s one that they’ve got to keep an eye on.”
Manitoba producers had issues with cutworms last year, Gavloski said. The species of cutworm seen last season will overwinter in the province, which means they spend winter in the pupal stage and emerge as adults in the spring.
“So we’re warning farmers that this is just something else that they should definitely keep an eye on.”
Cutworms don’t like too much moisture, Gavolski said, and wet conditions force them out of the soil.
European corn borer
“It’s primarily a corn concern, although it does feed on potatoes and a few other crops as well,” Gavloski said.
He added that European corn borer levels were up last year, and they also overwinter.
The European corn borer has difficulty surviving heavy precipitation, low humidity and cold overnight lows.