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Wheat Head Armyworm a Sporadic, But Insidious Pest

The wheat head armyworm are a random threat and hard to find in Alberta fields.

An army could be invading your field at this very moment, and you might not even know it.

The wheat head armyworm is a sporadic pest that feeds on cereal grains such as wheat and barley here in Alberta and the rest of the Prairies. While its usually a minor nuisance, it can occasionally cause significant damage to the kernels of a cereal crop which can result in the crop being downgraded when it’s screened at an elevator. In fact, one wheat head armyworm can wipe out the equivalent of an entire head of wheat in a single day.

Part of the challenge for farmers when it comes to dealing with wheat head armyworms is that they can be extremely difficult to spot in a field, says Tyler Wist, a research scientist in field crop entomology for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

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