Canola School: Honing in on early insect pests


Once the canola crop has emerged, keep eyes peeled for pesky early insects. Across Western Canada, the top two insects of concern tend to be cutworms and — you guessed it — flea beetles.

Anique Josuttes of BASF says even though we say it year after year, the number one tool you can use is scouting, but not from the road. She says get to the field, dig around, and spend some time observing any insects on or around the crop. As well, keep in mind what time of the day specific insects tend to be active, as it may take more than one scout a day to get a full risk profile.

This is also a consideration to keep in mind when looking at controlling pests, as insecticides are often contact-based, and will really only make a difference if the insect is out and about.

Cutworms, says Josuttes, are one of these examples, as they tend to be most active and do their feeding at nighttime. Flea beetles on the other hand tend to feed during the day when it’s warmer and drier out.

When considering spraying for these insects, one of the more important environmental conditions to pay attention to is air temperature, as this ensures the most efficacy out of the product as possible.

“You can’t apply those products at higher than 25 degrees Celsius. So keep that that top of mind, and [spray] as close to nightfall as possible for those,” she explains. “Remember, for those products to work as best as they can, those insects need to be out there, actively feeding.”

Check out the full Canola School episode below, for a conversation on tips for getting into the field, the growth of flea beetles and cutworms, scouting, and more:


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