Tuesday, 10 January 2017

2017 Summer Students at Beaverlodge

Are you a full-time post-secondary student and are you interested in coming to work with us at Beaverlodge??? 

We hire 8-14 students at Beaverlodge each summer but it's an online process.  Right now, students looking for summer work can apply to the Research Affiliate Program (deadline to apply is January 27, 2017) by linking to either the English poster or French poster for 17-AGR-RAP-1 which is located on jobs.gc.ca. It will be posted until Friday, January 27, 2017

More information about the Farm is posted here.  We hope you'll apply!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Large subterranean larvae in field crops

This week a query came in for large, thick-bodied white larvae found just below the soil surface that were clipping grass plants below the soil surface. An insect specimen will always help a trained entomologist identify a pest species with the greatest accuracy.  However, in the absence of a specimen, here's a short list of potential insects that might fit the above description and will hopefully aid scouting efforts in the spring:

1. June beetle larvae - These are large juvenile stages of the June beetle and they are herbivorous.  They are occasional pests but difficult to manage using foliar-applied broad spectrum insecticides since the larvae remain below the soil surface when feeding.  When scouting, be on the lookout for the creamy-white body colour, their larger size, the presence of a well-defined tan head capsule, and three pairs of legs on the anterior end.  Below is a screen shot extracted from the Insect Pest chapter prepared by Soroka & Otani in the Alberta Forage Manual below but download the entire manual here.

2.  Small Scarab Beetle Larvae - These are also juvenile stages of another beetle species and these whitish to creamy yellow coloured larvae will feed on a broad range of host plants.  Dr. Kevin Floate at AAFC-Lethbridge is currently taking specimens of larvae to help assess whether or not this species is an economic pest versus an occasional issue.  Link here to access Dr. Floate's fact sheet on the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network's Blog and note the similarities to the June Beetle larvae but know that the larva of the Small Scarab Beetle is "smaller".

3.  Cutworms - Several species of cutworms will occur in all of Alberta's field crops and careful scouting is needed early in the Spring (mid-April to mid-June).  Several species of cutworms are climbing cutworms and they are easiest to find in the evening or early in the morning since they feed above-ground on foliage.  Cutworms in grasses grown for hay or seed will be both climbing and subeteranean so pay attention when scouting since digging is often required in order to find the culprit.  Link here to read over an earlier post on cutworms on the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network's Blog and to access fact sheets for the various species.

Remember, the above list is NOT complete.  Specimens should be examined to help identify the species and to ensure scouting and control options are applied appropriately  - after all, cutworm scouting and control strategies don't necessarily help if June Beetle larvae are in the field!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Natural enemy of Cabbage Root Maggots - Aleochora bilineata (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae)

Beneficial arthropods are present in all field crops.  On the Canadian prairies, several insect pests cause economic levels of damage but natural enemies play an important role in the regulation of all species.  Diseases, parasites, parasitoids, and predators are all examples of natural enemies that will attack and regulate insect pest pests.  Read on to learn more about these organisms and the importance of preserving them in field crop situations!

Cabbage root maggots are a multivoltine complex of up to three species including Delia planipalpis, D. radicum, D. floralis (Diptera: Anthomyiidae).  The cabbage root maggot overwinters within a puparium and emerges in the spring.  Data has shown that continuous cropping of canola on canola contributes to high populations of root maggot so crop rotation is the greatest tool to manage this insect pest whose larval stage feeds upon the canola root.  The beneficial organism that attacks both the egg and pupal stages of the cabbage root maggot is Aleochora bilineata, a small staphylinid beetle which is both predator and parasitoid!  Aleochora bilineata adults hunt and eat Delia spp. eggs but this beneficial organism also parasitizes Delia puparia so, instead of the fly emerging from the root maggot puparium, a beetle emerges - check it out below!

More information is available below from the new Insect Guide:

Also look up this scientific publication to learn more about Aleochora bilineata in canola production systems in Canada: Broatch J.S., Dosdall L.M., Yang R.C., Harker K.N., Clayton G.W.  2008. Emergence and seasonal activity of the entomophagous rove beetle Aleochara bilineata (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) in canola in Western Canada. Environ Entomol. 37(6):1451-60.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

This Week at the Farm - Good luck to all our IPM Students! (August 31, 2016)

This week the IPM Program bid farewell to all our summer students.  Wheat and canola still ripens in the field but our students are heading back to complete their degrees!  

We wish our students good luck with their Fall studies and thank them again for their many contributions!

2016 IPM Program's Staff included (L to R) Amanda, Shelby, Jadin, Kaitlin, Celine, Emily, Hannah and Laura.

Friday, 12 August 2016

This Week At the Farm - Red Clover Casebearer Monitoring

By Laura
The red clover casebearer (Fig. 1) is a small, metallic green moth belonging to the Family Coleophoridae.  The larval stage of the red clover casebearer (Coleophora deauratella) feeds on the contents of clover florettes and eventually the developing seed.  Three species of Coleophora have established in Canada; C. deauratella utilizes red and alsike clover, C. mayrella utilizes red and alsike clover, and C. trifolii utilizes sweet clover. All three species create cases from the floral or seed pod structures of the host plant they utilize.  The larval stage constructs the “case” from its host plant which is worn and carried much like a snail in its shell, hence the common name of “casebearer”.  In the fall, the red clover casebearer moves from floral structures it feeds upon to the ground, carrying its case.  When conditions prompt overwintering, the red clover casebearer retreats within its case and seals the opening with silk.  In the spring, the red clover casebearer can emerge and move in order to find suitable spring conditions.  The larva then pupates within its case and is observed to begin to fly by mid-June in the Peace River region, typically flying over a 6-8 week period.  The metallic, green micro-leps seek their host plant, feeding upon nectar and they lay their eggs on the host plant.  
Figure 1. Red clover casebearer (Coleophora deauratella) larva and adult. The larva creates a case which it wears until it becomes an adult. Image sources: http://www.ukmoths.org.uk/species/coleophora-deauratella/

The IPM lab monitors red clover casebearers throughout the Peace Region. Pheromone traps and sweep-net collections help us monitor the moth flight period, the presence of mature larvae and densities in commercial fields of clovers.  The pheromone traps consist of a commercially available green unitrap, a pheromone lure (Otani, Mori, Evenden) as bait for the males and enclose a Vapona strip to kill and retain the specimens for later identification and counting (Fig. 2).  

Figure 2. Green unitraps mounted singly on posts at the edge of a field are used for pheromone trap monitoring of male clover casebearer moths.
In the span of one week some traps can catch over 1000 casebearers! The casebearers are retrieved then later counted by summer students (Fig. 3) who wear gloves and dust masks to protect against the insecticidal vapona strip and inhalation of the tiny scales of the moths which coat the inside of the traps like dust.
Figure 3. Summer students count and record the number of casebearers collected from each pheromone trap. This trap had 1793 casebearer moths.

For more information on red clover casebearers in the Peace River region, visit http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/prm4587

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

This Week in the Lab - Prairie Pest Monitoring

Throughout this summer, the IPM lab at the Beaverlodge Research Farm performs weekly monitoring to support the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network (PPMN).  On a weekly basis, Staff perform outings to collect and deploy insect traps at canola fields in the area to help obtain data to represent the region. Target insects include flea beetles, diamondback moths, swede midge, red clover casebearers, bertha armyworm, wheat midge, grasshoppers, and lygus bugs (protocols and descriptions for each insect pest can be accessed at http://insectpestmanagement.blogspot.ca/p/blog-page.html).

These insects, by way of their feeding on leaves, buds, flowers, stems, and seeds cause economic levels of damage either by reducing quality or yield when outbreak populations are not detected or managed at the proper time. Thus, the weekly PPMN outings were necessary to monitor and assess arthropod species and densities throughout the growing season at various fields in the Peace River region. Monitoring species diversity and densities helps us understand the biology of these organisms and provides insight into interactions between the host plants they affect and even some of the natural enemies that help regulate their densities in field crop situations.  

In canola, sticky card and pheromone traps were deployed mid-May at commercial fields of canola just after they were seeded.  Monitoring continued weekly until traps were retrieved early in August as the seeds within canola pods were beginning to change colour.  On August 2nd, all of the traps at the two sites situated in the BC-side of the Peace River region were taken down.  On August 9th, all the traps at the seven sites in the Alberta-side of the Peace River region were taken down. The last picture shown below is from Wilson’s canola field (site id: 2016-005) on August 9th, 2016, when the mean canola growth rating stage was a 5.2 (Harper and Berkenkamp 1975).

Figure 1. Development of the canola at Site ID#2016-005 from May to August of 2016 (Upper L to Lower R) from seeding, cotyledon, rosette, flowering, and pod stages. Photo credits: Celine, Jadin, Emily and Kaitlin.

The past three months in the IPM lab have represented a roller coaster of experiences.  As the final weeks zoom by, I’d like to thank everyone at BRF for being so amazing, helpful, and for being a part of this journey. Here’s to mosquito bites and canola - Cheers everyone and wishing you all the best! :)

- Celine

Sunday, 7 August 2016

2016 Peace Canola Survey - Summary is available now!

The 2016 Annual Peace Canola Survey was completed by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada staff based at Beaverlodge and Saskatoon.

Since 2003, the annual survey has been performed with the main objectives of (i) collecting insect pest data throughout the region and (ii) to detect the introduction of the cabbage seedpod weevil into the Peace River region.  In 2016, a total of 156 commercial fields of Brassica napus (e.g., each field ≥80 acres in size) were surveyed and no B. rapa was encountered.

Fields were surveyed by sweep-net using 50 - 180° sweeps on the following dates in these areas:
• July 5 near Whitelaw, Berwyn, Grimshaw, Dixonville, Manning, Hotchkiss, Hawk Hills, Notikewin, Blue Hills, Buffalo Head, La Crete.
• July 6 near Fort Vermilion, Blumenort, Valhalla, La Glace, Westmark, Woking, Spirit River, Blueberry Mountain, Silver Valley, Bonanza, Bay Tree, Beaverlodge, Halcourt, Wembley, Grande Prairie, Clairmont, Sexsmith, Teepee Creek, Bezanson, Dimsdale, Huallen, Fairview, Vanrena, Hines, Creek, Worsley, Eureka River,
• July 7 near Rycroft, Webster, Hythe, Wanham, Girouxville, Watino, Eaglesham, Belloy, Dawson Creek, Rolla, Dow River, Clayhurst, Cecil Lake, Fort St. John, Farmington, Valleyview, Guy, Falher, Reno, Nampa, Peace River, Marie-Reine, McLennan, Whitemud Creek.

Sweep-net samples were frozen then processed to generate data for a total of 21,278 arthropods which were identified and categorized into 38 taxa. The 2016 summary includes 15 economically important pests of canola reported from 156 surveyed canola fields plus data related to rotational practises in the Peace River region.

The 2016 summary is available as a downloadable PDF file.

THANK YOU to the following hard working AAFC staff who surveyed†, processed‡, and mapped∞ this data: Jadin Chahade1†‡, Kaitlin Freeman1†‡, Holly Spence1†‡, Hannah Avenant1†‡, Laura Stewart1†‡, Celine Coschizza1†‡, Emily Lemke1†‡, Owen Olfert2†∞, Taylor Kaye2†∞, Shelby Dufton1‡, and Amanda Jorgensen1‡.

Finally, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, Thank you to our canola producers for allowing us to sample in their fields!