Pests starting to emerge after cool spring

Spring’s late arrival has caused all kinds of grief for farmers, but their insect foes take it all in stride.

Pests such as the pea leaf weevil benefit from something called “facultative diapause,” provincial insect specialist Scott Meers tweeted during the May 7 edition of #ABbugchat.

“Which is a fancy word for if it’s cold they sleep (and when) it warms up, they move around,” said Meers.

Ditto for alfalfa weevil, grasshoppers, and many other crop pests.

“I don’t expect much of a negative impact on them,” said Meers.

In fact, some alfalfa weevils were found in an emergence trap on Monday, said his Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development colleague Shelley Barkley. The duo urged producers to check for weekly updates on the Western Forum on Pest Management website at

Meers and Barkley are also looking for co-operators for various insect monitoring surveys, including ones for wheat midge, and for insects found in alfalfa and pea fields. They can be contacted at [email protected].

Bugchat is held each Wednesday at 10 a.m. Twitter users who participate during the one-hour session can ask questions and submit pictures of pest problems. Using the #ABbugchat hashtag allows people to read posted questions and comments at any time.

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