Grasshoppers, resistance, and the evolution of insect thresholds

Every year is different when it comes to insect populations and pest management. Weather, varietal selection, and natural enemy numbers all impact pest development. This year, dry conditions in parts of the Prairies have a particular insect thriving.

“The big, big one right now is grasshoppers,” says Scott Meers, Government of Alberta insect management specialist, adding this is especially true for southern Alberta, where this is the third dry year in a row. “In the Peace (region), we have some big populations – Manning, (and) now getting some reports out of Fairview.”

And while dry conditions may be favouring some insect pests, they could be causing others to struggle.

In this segment from RealAg Radio, Meers sits down with RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney at Ag in Motion at Saskatoon, Sask. The duo discuss:

  • Key Prairie pests, and their populations this year;
  • How thresholds do (or don’t) take moisture levels into consideration;
  • The co-evolution of economic thresholds and crop varieties;
  • Insects showing resistance to insecticides (including a documented case in southern Alberta alfalfa fields); and
  • The spray application decision.

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