Not all heroes wear capes. That’s the message behind a new communications campaign to increase awareness of some unsung heroes — beneficial insects. Recently launched by Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the ‘Field Heroes’ campaign encourages growers and agronomists to consider beneficial insects in crop production recommendations and decisions.
“Beneficial insects play a vital pest control role in cropping systems. It’s time to give them more awareness and attention,” explains Pat Flaten, research programmer with WGRF. She notes that the need to promote the importance of beneficial insects was identified at a Prairie Pest Monitoring Network working group meeting. Producers and agronomists have been asking members of the network for more information.
Allowing beneficial insects to help control yield-robbing pests is an important part of integrated pest management. Beneficials can reduce spraying, lower cost of production, save time in the field and protect the environment.
“Healthy populations of insects like lady beetles, ground beetles, lacewings, damsel bugs, and many parasitoids can often keep crop-feeding insects at insignificant levels,” says entomologist John Gavloski of Manitoba Agriculture. “With good management decisions and the proper environment, this free biocontrol can help maximize the value of a crop.”
Beneficial insect photos, scouting techniques and best management practices are available from various sources across Western Canada. WGRF has compiled key information online at www.fieldheroes.ca. A series of print and online ads will also run throughout the 2017 growing season to get the word out.
WGRF is asking other stakeholders to get on board and support the beneficial insects awareness campaign by visiting FieldHeroes.ca and following @FieldHeroes on Twitter (like, share and comment) for great agronomic information and timely, relevant content.