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Insect Update

By: Scott Hartley, PAg, Provincial Specialist, Insect/Vertebrate Pest Management


Reports of cutworm infestations have continued into the third week of June. Several of the reports have been of red-backed cutworms, which can continue feeding into late June. However, all significant feeding should be coming to an end as the cutworms move into the pupation stage of their life cycle.

Cabbage Seedpod Weevil

Map of Cabbage Seedpod Weevil 2015 Survey
When canola starts to flower, cabbage seedpod weevils will move into canola, brown mustard and oriental mustard crops. The weevil is now distributed through most of southern Saskatchewan to near the Manitoba border and north to Kindersley and Outlook in the west.

There is one generation of cabbage seedpod weevil per year. Over-wintering adults emerge in the spring and migrate from cruciferous weeds into a host crop, where they continue to feed and mate. Feeding on vegetative portions of the plant is not a problem. Feeding on buds may cause enough damage to reduce yield in dry years. The key is to prevent the females from laying eggs onto developing pods. Keep in mind that the female weevils require a seedpod (at least 18 mm or .75 inches) to lay its eggs.

Cabbage seedpod weevil
Cabbage seedpod weevil
Monitor for the cabbage seedpod weevil through the use of a sweep net at, preferably, 10 locations within each field. At each location, count the number of weevils from 10, 180 degree sweeps. Sampling locations should be representative of the field including both its perimeter and interior.

More sample sites provide a better estimate of weevil numbers throughout the field. Control is recommended when the number of weevils exceeds two per sweep on average and the canola crop is at 10 to 20 per cent bloom. Attempts to control the weevils in field margins will have a negative effect on beneficial insects, including weevil parasites. Control too early may be before the majority of the weevils have migrated into the field.

Wheat Midge

Wheat midge bioclimatic models suggest the emergence of the adult flies begins at the end of June for the southern Prairies. Wheat midge emergence is estimated using Degree Days (heat development) with a base of 5 C. For the most current Degree Day information on wheat midge emergence, refer to the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network’s (PPMN’s) blog.

Midge Emergence

Degree Days


683 (+39)


784 (+38)


874 (+41)

 Data supplied by Dr. Elliott, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

Diamondback Moths

Diamondback moths have been collected in pheromone traps since early May. To date, there have been no significant infestations noted and overall trap numbers have been low. The highest trap counts were in the Yorkton and Swift Current areas.

Bertha Armyworm

Emergence of bertha armyworm moths has been reported in several of the trap sites in Saskatchewan. Although this pest is not expected to be significant in 2016, there are a few sites reporting higher numbers of moths. A risk map based on male moth numbers will be posted on the Government of Saskatchewan website.


Young grasshoppers are being reported in high numbers in some areas. AAFC indicated in the middle of June that the annual hatch was not complete in all areas. Growers should monitor for grasshoppers and should keep in mind that not all grasshoppers are pests and early stages are not considered economic. It is the third to fifth (just prior to adult) instars that cause the most damage, since they are both more mobile and larger with bigger appetites. 

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