Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Meet our students - Introducing Cameron!

Hi! My name is Cameron and I am one of the new IPM students this year at the Beaverlodge Research Farm. I am currently studying Environmental Science at the University of Guelph, majoring in resource management. I am going into my second year in September, but taking a women’s studies course over the summer, just out of personal interest. I started out my university career in the Arts and Science program where you pick two minors - one in the Arts and one in the Sciences. I do have a very strong interest in the Humanities as well as the Sciences but I finally decided I wanted to specialize more in the sciences, and here I am!

This week we set up flea beetle and diamondback moth traps. The flea beetle traps are bright yellow sticky cards twist-tied onto little stake. 5 of them are set up, 25 meters apart, along the edge of a field. The diamondback moth traps are triangular-folded cardboard traps tied to the top of a wooden stake hammered into the ground. Two of these pheromone traps are set up in each field, 50 m apart. When we set up the pheromone traps, we tie a little grey rubber septum containing pheromones, a semio-chemical intra-species attractant for male moths. They follow the pheromone plume released by the rubber septum then the males get trapped on the sticky card positioned inside the triangular trap.  The sticky card is then removed on a weekly basis in order for us to count and record their relative numbers. 

We also helped Shelby with her natural enemies of wheat midge project.  We sieved soil containing overwintered wheat midge cocoons then looked through a dissection microscope to pull out both live and dead larvae and count them. I really enjoy looking through the microscope, I find it very meditative. We also learned a lot about clubroot. I went and did some research on my own to bring back to the other IPM students.  In terms of this cruciferous disease, the main management practices include sanitation of tools and wearing Tyvek booties to prevent its spread. 

All in all, I am very happy with how my first week went, and I look forward to the coming ones. 
Figure 1. Cameron processing overwintered wheat midge cocoons in the IPM lab at Beaverlodge AB in May 2017.