Wheat midge and Bertha armyworm top the list of insects to be on the watch for this spring, says insect management specialists Scott Meers and Shelley Barkley.
Dry conditions in the U.S. High Plains could also see a northward migration of pests, the duo said in their first #ABbugchat of the growing season. The two Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development bug experts host a weekly ‘chat’ on Twitter (using the #ABbugchat) to highlight, in real time, pest issues and how to deal with them.
“Wheat midge is a very high risk in the central Peace region and in scattered fields throughout the rest of Alberta,” Meers said during the April 30 episode.
“For wheat midge, one of the major cultural practices to reduce damage is seeding early.”
To get a better handle on infestation levels, Meers is asking farmers to deploy pheromone traps (obtained by emailing [email protected]) and promised that if there are enough co-operators, he will create a “wheat midge activity map” with data posted one day after it’s sent in.
He also urged producers to check for armyworms. Although infestation levels are expected to decline this year, fields that had fall-seeded crops or weedy growth last fall are “high risk,” Meers said.
Producers are also being sought for ‘Insects in Alfalfa,’ a three-year project in which sweep net and plant samples will be collected prior to the first cut. For more info, go to www.agriculture.alberta.ca.
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. People who use the #ABbugchat hash tag can read posted questions and comments at any time.