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