Thursday, 4 June 2015

This Week at the Farm (June 3, 2015)

Grasshopper scouting is starting in the Peace region. Most grasshoppers overwinter as eggs laid in the soil and emerge in the spring as tiny nymphs. This week, we're seeing small nymphs measuring ~4mm long that will quickly grow as they feed.

Grasshopper nymph in our CARP flea beetle field plot study this morning (June 3)

While our lab doesn't have grasshopper research projects underway, we do keep an eye on their numbers both in our field plots plus we collect from our region to verify predictive models developed by Dr. Owen Olfert's lab based at AAFC-Saskatoon. For example, while scouting new monitoring sites near Guy AB, we collected some very early instar grasshopper nymphs that will be sent to Saskatoon.

Grasshopper nymph collected near Guy AB (May 21)

Correct identification of grasshoppers is critical to making management decisions and growers need to understand there are several species of grasshoppers in our region that do NOT cause economic damage. Species that can cause economic levels of damage include: the migratory grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguipes), two striped grasshopper (Melanoplus bivittatus), Packard's grasshopper (Melanoplus packardii), and the clearwing grasshopper (Camnula pellucida).  All four species will feed on weeds as well as field crop plants.  Migratory, clearwing and Packard's grasshoppers will feed on both broadleaf and grassy plants.

For more information on grasshoppers visit:
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development
Saskatchewan Agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture and Rural Initiatives