GFM Network News


Distinct markings give adult gall flies a rather striking appearance, while their larvae are anything but attractive. But they can do serious damage to a Canada thistle.

Tiny warriors get nasty on Canada thistle

Stem gall flies love to feed on — and breed in — the much-loathed and fast-spreading invasive weed

The West Central Forage Association has another biocontrol that can help you win the war against Canada thistle. The proud warriors are called stem gall flies and they’re available for sale. “The gall flies act on a different portion of the Canada thistle than the weevils do,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture and extension program […] Read more

Five insect pests for Manitoba farmers to watch

Cutworms, grasshoppers, flea beetles and bertha armyworm are all on top of the watch list for 2019, as numbers were higher in 2018. All four overwinter well in Manitoba provided there’s enough insulation for them.


Provincial pest specialist Scott Meers scouting for wheat midge. That pest isn’t expected to be a major
problem this year — bertha army worm, grasshoppers, and wheat stem sawfly are Meers’ top threats.

There’s a time of year when it pays to go looking for a fight

To combat the hordes of bad guys looking for a free meal, you need to plan your attack

Looking for trouble? You should be when it comes to insects that might be a threat to your crops. The “big three” this year are bertha army worm, grasshoppers, and wheat stem sawfly, says provincial pest specialist Scott Meers. But it depends where you farm, so Meers recommends you bookmark the website of the Alberta[...]
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The three types of flea beetles: crucifer, hop and striped. Crucifers have been dominant so far but more stripes have been seen in recent years.

Flea beetles: more species, more territory

Control options include seed treatment, seeding early and a higher seeding rate

They have been a voracious pest in canola for many years, but their pattern of infestation is changing. “Flea beetles can be a huge economic problem; pervasive and unpredictable,” Jennifer Otani, a pest management biologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Beaverlodge said during a session at FarmTech. Adult flea beetles can move in and out[...]
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Farming insects may solve one problem, create others

Rome | Thomson Reuters Foundation — Insects have great potential as an alternative source of protein, but further research is urgently needed before mass production begins in order to avoid environmental disaster, Swedish researchers warned Monday. There is currently an “overwhelming lack of knowledge” on basic questions such as suitable species, their housing and feed[...]
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In a hot, dry year, you expect a lot of heat-loving pests, but that wasn’t the case this year in much of Alberta — although these fellows were more numerous south of Highway 1.

Hot, dry conditions drove down insect and disease pressure in 2018

By and large, producers didn’t see as much insect damage or disease loss this year

Crop yields in Alberta took a hit this year because of the hot, dry conditions — but the blow wasn’t as big as it could have been, thanks to decreased disease and insect pressure. “Across the province, we’re trending close to the five-year average, and the lack of disease and insect pressure may have helped[...]
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The stem-mining weevil larvae live up to their name, burrowing down the length of Canada thistles and feeding on their leaves after becoming adults.

There’s a reason why stem-mining weevils are the priciest livestock in Alberta

The insects are mowing down Canada thistle across the province, and attracting lots of eager buyers

Tens of thousands of weevils have been pouring into Alberta from Montana — and producers are clamouring for more. “It’s a biological control and it’s been going great,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture extension co-ordinator with the West-Central Forage Association. The association began the project to import stem-mining weevils four years ago as a way[...]
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Watch for yellow or brown leaves on elms

If elms on your property are in autumn mode already, they may be infected with Dutch elm disease (DED). “Symptoms of DED infection are leaves initially wilting followed by curling, turning yellow, and then brown,” said Janet Feddes-Calpas, executive director of the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease. “This is also referred to as flagging.[...]
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