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

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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

The Elbe River at Oberrathen, southeast of Dresden. (

Germany plans to toughen conditions for insecticide use

Reading Time: < 1 minute Berlin | Reuters -- Germany plans to make it more difficult for farmers to use crop insecticides in a bid to preserve biodiversity, an environment ministry document showed. "Insect biomass has fallen by more than 75 per cent in the last 27 years in Germany," according to the paper seen by Reuters on Wednesday, saying […] Read more

Seed dealers, agronomists and advisers are very vocal in 2017 about scouting for Western bean cutworm egg masses.

More than cutworms “bugged” corn crops in 2017

Pests in 2017 have been a more complicated picture, based largely on a mixed bag of weather-related challenges

Reading Time: 5 minutes Coming out of winter and looking ahead to any growing season, it’s impossible to predict which insect pests will be the biggest challenge for growers. In 2001, for instance, soybean aphids first became a widespread issue for Ontario farmers, and the fear took such firm root that we’d have to deal with them in 2002 […] Read more

Are you ready to scout for and control flea beetles?

Are you ready to scout for and control flea beetles?

Flea beetles move fast and do a lot of damage. Be sure to keep ahead of them in your canola crops

Reading Time: 3 minutes Flea beetles are easily the most chronically damaging insect pest in western Canadian canola. Damage results in yield losses estimated at $300 million each year. To limit damage, experts recommend acting early when an average level of defoliation level of 25 per cent or more is reached. Early action necessary According to Greg Sekulic, an […] Read more

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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, […] Read more

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

Reading Time: 2 minutes 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 […] Read more

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

Reading Time: < 1 minute 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 […] Read more

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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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 […] Read more