Our collective knowledge of a particular pest, and also its enemies, builds over decades of observations, questions, and sound research. Sometimes, such as is the case with lygus in canola crops, research has to wait for the right person or timing to really get rolling forward.
In this episode of the Pests & Predators podcast, brought to you by Field Heroes, powered by the Western Grains Research Foundation, host Shaun Haney is joined by Jennifer Otani, pest management specialist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Beaverlodge, Alta., to talk about lygus bug predators.
Lygus are a native species to Canada and feeds on rapidly developing cells in a plant, such as the buds, seeds and pods as they are forming. These sucking insects can really do damage to a crop, through its use of enzymes to digest and ingest plant material.
Otani explains that learning about what eats lygus bugs required patience, as the research to really pin down the biggest eater of this pest took many years with a few stops and starts along the way.
While there is always more to learn, we do know now that lady beetle and lacewing larvae do like to eat lygus nymphs, but damsel bugs really do the heavy lifting.
Understanding the life cycle of lygus — with its several generations per season — is also important, as it creates added complexity to getting a handle on potential damage to the canola crop. What’s more, because of its longevity in the season, it’s extremely important to look out for the helpful predators, such as damsel and lacewing, so we can protect these field heroes.