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Bugging out at Lethbridge College

PEST POWER New course, which is open to producers, examines how to identify and 
scout problem insects and determine the economic threshold for spraying

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Love them or hate them, insects are an inescapable part of life on the farm.

But in the battle of the bugs, knowledge is power — and that’s why Lethbridge College is offering a new course in agricultural entomology.

“It is one of the courses for our students but that being said, it is open to anyone who wishes to take it,” said instructor Jeremy Hummel. “If producers have an interest in this, then they could take it. It is a full-semester course, so it would be a four-month time window that it’s happening in.”

The course will also be one of the first that Lethbridge College is offering as part of a distance learning program.

“It is possible to take it at home,” said Hummel. “We’re developing it for face-to-face and online, like distance education, so that option would certainly be there. We’re slowly developing courses for online delivery and this is going to be one of the first ones.”

The course, a first-year agricultural offering, will look at the broad spectrum of insects and insect management.

“There’s going to be some insect anatomy and morphology, some insect identification, because that’s really important for producers and agronomists, and then we’re going to get into looking at the management side,” said Hummel.

“How do we scout for different kinds of insects? What is an economic threshold and how do we determine when we’ve reached various economic thresholds? That’s basically the population or the damage level of an insect at which we need to be using a chemical control to try and reduce that population.”

The outline for the course, which starts in January, 2013, isn’t yet complete, so Hummel can still take requests.

“I’m always open to suggestions, so if there’s a particular insect that isn’t on the course outline that a student would want covered, we can add a little bit of content about that insect potentially,” he said.

Anyone interested in more information should contact Hummel at [email protected] or 403-320-3202, extension 5347.

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