Bug Pest Forecast Available On Ropin’ The Web – for Feb. 16, 2009

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Forecast maps for six insect pests have been

posted to Alberta Agriculture’s Ropin’ The Web site. “The purpose of the maps is to get information out early so that producers and agrologists can assess what the risk from insects could be in the coming crop season and plan their crops and control programs accordingly,” says Scott Meers, insect management specialist with Alberta Agriculture. “The maps are based on actual in-field surveys of the individual insect species.”

The six insect forecast maps, which can be found at www.agriculture.alberta.caand clicking on Maps, include:

2009 Bertha Armyworm Forecast (in-season survey). Over the last number of years, there has been a downward trend in Bertha armyworm numbers. While it appears that Alberta has low population numbers of this pest, the survey will continue in 2009 to provide current risk numbers to producers.

2009 Cabbage Seedpod Weevil Forecast. In southern Alberta, the cabbage seedpod weevil is a perennial pest with the highest numbers usually seen in the earlier flowering fields. Cabbage seedpod weevils don’t do well in dry summers, however, there was a wetter August in 2008 and that could mean a resurgence of this pest.

2009 Grasshopper Forecast. It appears that the downward trend is continuing for grasshoppers, but a warm, open fall, which was experienced in 2008, often means more eggs are laid, so this could set up some areas of the province for a resurgence of this pest. Grasshoppers favour hot, dry summers, so a lot depends on the weather the province will experience during the growing season.

2009 Pea Leaf Weevil Forecast. 2008 was the first time that the numbers of the pea leaf weevil took a downward turn. The wet August in 2008, however, could mean a higher risk of pea leaf weevil for 2009.

2009 Alberta Wheat Midge Forecast. The numbers of wheat midge are decreasing. However, the recommendation for the 2009 growing season is for producers to watch their individual fields closely for isolated hot spots of this pest, including irrigated wheat fields.

2009 Wheat Stem Sawfly Forecast. After a five-year downward trend, 2008 showed resurgence in the Brown soil zones of the province. There are increased numbers of wheat stem sawfly in pockets throughout Alberta, so producers will have to be aware of the conditions in their area and plan accordingly.

“Each map is preceded by a commentary that explains how the survey was done, the relevance to producers in specific areas and what to look for,” says Meers. “The maps will stand for 2009, except for the Bertha armyworm map which is updated weekly starting in June. We have been monitoring diamondback moth for years, but will start mapping in 2009.”

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