Producers needed for pea leaf weevil survey

Pest has been growing in numbers but surveying the damage they cause is challenging

Pea leaf weevil numbers have been rising for several years. To track the expansion, provincial agriculture officials are conducting surveys across the province.
Reading Time: < 1 minute

Provincial agriculture staff are looking for producers willing to have their fields surveyed for damage from pea leaf weevil feeding in late May and early June.

“If you are a producer who is planting peas in 2020 or an agronomist who has clients with pea fields, we would like the opportunity to visit your field,” said Shelley Barkley, insect technologist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

“The timing of the survey coincides with maximum feeding damage and to find the fields in four- to six-node stage.”

In each Alberta municipality where pea leaf weevil is known to exist, five fields are surveyed. In areas outside the known range of the insect, three fields per municipality are surveyed.

In 2019, staff visited more than 250 pea fields in Alberta — from Warner to Manning and from Pincher Creek to Bonnyville.

The survey is done from the field edge, and surveyors don’t enter the field. They count the feeding notches on each set of nodes on a plant, and they evaluate 50 plants in each field.

“This is probably the hardest survey we do because four- to six-node pea fields are not as easy to see from a distance as a flowering canola field,” said Barkley. “A lot of time is spent hunting for the fields. We would really like to streamline our survey in 2020, so we are trying to predetermine fields before we start the survey.”

Pea leaf weevils begin feeding with arrival of warm weather and remain active until August, right through to the six- to eight-node stage.

To participate, email Barkley at [email protected]. Participating producers will receive results from their field the week the survey is completed.

About the author

Alberta Agriculture and Forestry's recent articles



Stories from our other publications