Insect pests can make or break a season. There are many factors that contribute to pest population levels and that complicates the possible control decisions, from what chemicals can be used and if levels require it.
Dr. James Tansey, entomologist for the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, says that there are several possible pests to look out for in Saskatchewan for the 2023 season and some regulation changes to consider as well. (Summary after the video)
The 2022 season was characterized by lots of localized hot spots of grasshoppers, some requiring multiple applications to control, says Tansey. He says conditions last year allowed for grasshoppers to lay lots of eggs and, depending on spring conditions, we may be in for another year of grasshopper pressure this season as well.
It’s hard to talk Prairie entomology without discussing flea beetles. Tansey says there are multiple modes of action available for seed treatments that are showing good results. Tansey says there is ongoing research on flea beetle resistance to pesticides. He says it is important to recognize that the striped flea beetle seems to be less susceptible to insecticides, this isn’t necessarily a concern for resistance but must be recognized as an issue of tolerance.
Deregulation of strychnine for gopher control:
Strychnine is being deregulated for use on gophers past March 4th, 2023. Tansey says there are other options for gopher control. Researchers compared four alternative products to strychnine: two zinc phosphides, ZP rodent oat bait AG, and burrow oat bait, and two anti-coagulant products, Ramik green and Rozol RTU. Tansey and his team have concluded that zinc phosphides are an old solution to an old problem. In the video above, Tansey also dives into the cost comparison between strychnine and the equally-effective zinc phosphides and finds the alternatives are cheaper.
Tansey says there are some excellent resources on the Saskatchewan Ag ministry’s website for producers to find and contribute data on insect pests. The ministry has resources for cabbage seed pod weevils, pea leaf weevil, and wheat midge. Tansey shares that another great resource to learn about pests across the Prairies can be found on the Prairie pest monitoring website.