Canola School: Sweep net monitoring for aster leafhoppers

Aster yellows is a ‘phytoplasma’ disease carried by aster leafhoppers. It’s known for the odd-shaped canola pods it causes later in the growing season.

Problems with aster yellows are hit and miss, depending on your area and the year.

“We are kind of waiting for the next leafhopper infestation with aster yellows, the next big aster yellows outbreak. The last one was in 2012, and we had a lot of migrating leafhoppers and they came up infected. There was an infection rate of about 10 per cent,” notes Tyler Wist, field crops entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Aster yellows infection of canola. 2012. Photo credit: Tiffany Martinka, CCC

In this Canola School episode, we talk to Wist about the vector of aster yellows disease, sweep net monitoring for aster leafhoppers, and how to identify these leafhoppers in your crops.

“The aster leafhopper is primarily a pest in canola because canola is very susceptible to aster yellows infection. The only real way to find them in your crops is by using a sweep net,” as Wist demonstrates.

The research they are doing involves finding indicators and trends for the infected leafhoppers.

“The kind of research we do will allow us to pull these trends out of the data and be able to tell sort of what the year looks like, what the number of leafhoppers looks like, and try to piece together what the aster yellows risk is any given year is.”

Learn more in the video below:

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