Less than ideal conditions have slowed down canola development and left the crop vulnerable to tiny 2.5 millimetre beetles in some areas this spring.
Flea beetles are the number one pest in canola on the Western Canadian Prairies.
In this Canola School episode, we talk with Tyler Wist, entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Saskatoon, about how you should scout for flea beetles and the critical window for scouting and spraying.
“The real trouble with flea beetles is they overwinter as adults,” says Wist. “So as soon as the canola crop comes out of the ground, you’ve got adults that have been spending the winter there, and they’re hungry, and ready to get into your crop.”
Wist says that you should already be assessing your crops for the beetles in the fall.
“You can look for the second generation of flea beetles. So if you are in an area where you’ve got flea beetle damage on your already established crop – what you want to look for is damage to the leaves and damage to the pods,” explains Wist. “They can actually have some economic implications as well, but if you know you’ve got a big population of flea beetles then you should always use insecticide on your seeds for the following year.”
Scouting right now is more important than ever, he notes.
“I’d suggest using the pattern of a W. So scout a few plants at one point of the W, walk into another part of your field, and try to follow a pattern that makes a W. And scouting at least five spots in that W, and count a few plants and see any damage in each of those areas.”
Learn more in the video below:
Related: Canola School: Estimating Flea Beetle Damage & Protecting Beneficial Insect Populations
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