As the weather warms up and the bugs start creeping out of their winter homes, it’s time to start thinking about the potential for bugs in our crops and what we should be preparing for.
The 2013/14 record-breaking winter has left farmers with a lot of the unknowns for the 2014 growing season in Western Canada and bugs aren’t an exception.
With drought south of the border, certain insects may be making their way north. According to Scott Meers of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, the risk of migratory insects plaguing Western Canada is higher this year. The most common migratory insects for Western Canada are leaf hoppers and diamondback moths, so if the winds pick up, they will be important to look out for.
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture’s Scott Hartley noted three canola pests to watch out for this season: the cabbage seedpod weevil, the bertha armyworm, and grasshoppers. Hartley noted that even though the cabbage seedpod weevil has been in southwest Saskatchewan for several years, it is now moving east “into more traditional canola-growing areas,” as well as north.
For soybeans, the biggest thing to watch out for is the soybean aphid. Terry Buss of Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development noted that the soybean aphid is the pest he has been dealing with the longest in his 13 years of growing soybeans.
Other bugs to look out for in 2014 with soybeans are ladybugs, green clover worms, and grasshoppers.
“The key thing is people need to scout,” says Buss. It is important to be aware of what is going on in your crops to ensure you can stay ahead of the pests and catch them before they cause real damage.
Use this resource for more information about how to manage insects in your area.