GFM Network News

It doesn’t always work. It has to be based on science. Not every little flying creature is beneficial. For comparison, this is the newly identified canola flower midge, which is similar in size to the two beneficial wasps shown on page 30. But as a fly, it only has two wings compared to the wasps’ four. AAFC canola flower midge specialist Boyd Mori says counting wings would be difficult without a hand lens or microscope. Mori describes the midge as “delicate looking and light in colour (usually beige to light brown). Female’s wings are covered in tiny hairs, which gives them a mottled appearance.”

Protect the mighty Microgastrinae

More and more, we’re learning that farmers can save a lot of money in both the short and long term by taking advantage of opportunities to help the insect world police itself

Hector Carcamo was in a southern Alberta canola field in 2018 sweep-netting for cabbage seedpod weevils when what did he find? Little black wasps. Lots of them. Same thing in the next sample site. And then the next. Field to field. “We were consistently finding them. With every set of sweeps we found three, five, […] Read more

Seven beneficial insects on your farm

When making crop production management decisions, consider beneficial insect populations. These harmless bugs can provide adequate control if their populations are high enough. Some beneficial insects are hard to identify, but with some basic training producers should be able to spot them in the field. The following beneficial insects are found in most crops in[...]
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Some soybean aphids showing up so scout your fields

Soybean aphids are being found in some soybean fields near Portage la Prairie and some fields have been sprayed, while others are being monitored, Red Beard Farms aerial applicator Chris McCallister said in an interview July 27. The threshold for applying an insecticide to control soybean aphids is 250 and rising. The “rising” part is[...]
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General Mills is offering free flower seed to conservation-minded farmers who are interested in promoting habitat for predators and pollinators such as the native leafcutter bee.

Give your insect friends a home

Leaving some non-crop areas with a diverse range of perennial vegetation can save you money on insecticide

What do shelterbelts, pivot corners and field margins have in common? No, they’re not unprofitable or “wasted” areas. As natural habitats for beneficial insects, including pollinators and predators of crop pests, those non-cropped areas may be worth their square footage in gold. Alejandro Costamagna, an assistant professor in the University of Manitoba’s department of entomology,[...]
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Flowering plants such as alfalfa provide a home for beneficial insects such as parasitic wasps that can control diamondback moth, wheat midge, aphids and Hessian flies.

Be kind to your insect friends

Of the thousands of insect species around your fields, only a few damage crops. Here’s a guide to identifying and protecting the good bugs that eat the bad ones

It can be worrying to see insects crawling over your nicely developing crop, but are they doing any damage? And even if they are, before ordering the insecticide, will spraying kill the good bugs that are already at work controlling the bad ones, not to mention other insects that are important for pollination? While killing[...]
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Parasitoids of potential pest insects
Insects that parasitize and kill other insects are called parasitoids. In their immature stages these parasitoids live in or on the body of another insect (the host), but they are free-living as adults. Many of the parasitoids of insects in Manitoba are either wasps or flies. Parasitic wasps do have what looks like a stinger, but they use this to lay eggs in the insects that they are parasitizing, and will not sting people.

PHOTOS: A guide to beneficial insects

There are thousands of insect species in the fields across Canada. But how can you tell which are the beneficial insects and which bugs are trouble? Here’s a quick guide to help you identify and protect the good bugs that prey on the bad ones. This guide is also available on the Manitoba Agriculture website at[...]
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High levels of root maggots have been observed in some canola fields. Could the reason be that flea beetle sprays early in the season wipe out natural predators of these maggots?

Help the insects eat each other

Insecticides don’t just kill the bad bugs — they also kill their enemies

Terry Young has never sprayed for insects. “I’ve had the odd bertha and lygus in my canola and wheat midge in my wheat, but they haven’t been an issue for as long as I’ve been farming, which is 30-plus years now,” he says. Young farms at Lacombe, which is one of the most productive agricultural[...]
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An aphid infestation on a soybean leaf.

Beneficial insects can fight in your corner, if you let them

A new field guide will be available both electronically and in print in time for you to use through the upcoming crop year

Farmers are only hurting themselves if they aren’t giving a helping hand to the natural allies in the fields that can assist them in controlling pests. Nature not only provides, as the old proverb says. Research proves that it also pays. In fact, new research even tells us how much it pays. Natural pest suppression[...]
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