It’s been nearly six years since canola flower midge was first identified on the Prairies while researchers with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada were studying what they originally thought was swede midge, a different pest seen in Eastern Canada and the U.S.
Since that discovery and confirmation of a new pest in Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2016, work has continued on learning more about the canola flower midge and possible ways to manage it, explains Dr. Meghan Vankosky, entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, in this Canola School episode.
First, their monitoring program shows canola flower midge is less damaging to yield relative to swede midge, but they’re still trying to get a clearer picture of the potential economic impact of canola flower midge, she says.
Swede midge lay their eggs and damage any growing point in a canola plant, preventing proper development of entire portions of the plant, while canola flower midge lays its eggs in flowers that are at or near opening, creating bottled/galled flowers and preventing those specific pods from developing, she explains.
The research is quite proactive, she notes, as they are still learning how the species functions while investigating solutions to deal with it. Vankosky says they are wrapping up two projects to answer questions around the distribution and biology of the species and development of a pheromone-baited monitoring system.
They have also observed parasitism of canola flower midge, which she says could bring them full-circle back to swede midge, and whether these parasites are a biological control option for swede midge.
Check out this Canola School video, recorded at the 2023 Soils and Crops Conference in Saskatoon, Sask., for more with Dr. Meghan Vankosky on what’s been learned so far about canola flower midge:
From the Canola School archives: