Effective Friday, September 17, a province-wide mandatory masking order will be implemented for all indoor public spaces. 

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One Thrips, Two Thrips, Three Thrips, Spray?

By Sherri Roberts, AAg, Crops Extension Specialist, Weyburn

Thrips are small insects about one millimetre long. While scientists have described approximately 6,000 different thrips species, only 11 are crop pests in Canada. Wheat and barley thrips feed on cereals, but can also be found feeding on forages, along with wild grasses. Western flower thrips will not only feed on cereals but have 249 other documented hosts, including canola. They have asymmetric mouthparts which they use to draw fluids from plant tissues. Characteristic damage includes: causing streaks in leaves, white heads in cereals and brown spots on developing seed.

Adult barley thrips
Adult barley thrips.

Females overwinter as pregnant adults in grass hosts and other protected locations near shelterbelts. A certain number of them that will blow in from the U.S. each spring. Fortunately, there is only one generation per year in the Western Prairies, but thrips are active throughout the summer.

Scouting should start when the flag leaf is first visible and continue until the head is completely emerged from the boot. Higher populations will generally be found near the field margins as thrips also feed on wild grasses. The top two leaf sheaths should be examined on a minimum of nine plants per various location throughout the field.

Thrips damage on a canaryseed head
Thrips damage on a canaryseed head

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