As the first wave of flea beetles reach the end of their lifecycle, early reports show lower damage in Saskatchewan than last year
Although the delayed start to the planting season caused headaches across Saskatchewan, the situation may have inadvertently offered a benefit: a decline in flea beetle pressure compared to 2019.
“There will be some regional hot spots … but, for the most part, I think flea beetle pressure should be on the decline,” said Dr. James Tansey, referencing early reports. He’s a provincial insect pest management specialist.
“The conventionalism is early seeding is a good strategy (to deal with flea beetles). If you get the seed in the ground and have it germinated before the flea beetles get to peak emergence, … (the crop) is pretty tolerant of damage,” Tansey said to Farms.com.
This year, however, a lot of producers were delayed in seeding since they had to harvest their 2019 crop first. As a result, they missed the beginning wave of flea beetles emerging – albeit in a different way than conventional wisdom dictates.
Canola producers must deal with flea beetles in different degrees each year, said Tansey.
“You can count on at least some growers getting some heavy damage. Flea beetles are a perennial problem everywhere; (this situation) is why all canola is treated with an insecticidal seed treatment,” said Tansey.
Since the first wave of flea beetles reach the end of their lifecycle by early or mid-June, a lot of producers are past the point of this cycle causing huge problems.
But canola producers should still watch for the diamond back moth, whose damage can look like flea beetle damage.
“We're seeing a relatively earlier migration of diamond back moth into this part of the world,” said Tansey. “We have pheromone traps throughout the province and we're catching them earlier and apparently in greater numbers than what we were seeing last year. … That's one (pest) that folks will want to keep an eye out for this year.”
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