Volume 1: Ecology and Interactions in Grassland Habitats
This authoritative book is the first of a planned three volume series on Canada’s grassland arthropods.
Targeting a broad audience, chapters review the biotic and abiotic attributes of different types of grasslands in Canada, and select grassland habitats and their associated arthropods.
Publication of the series is intended to increase awareness of Canada’s vanishing grasslands, the rich diversity of arthropods that they support, and to provide a baseline reference for future studies in these fascinating environments.
To order please see www.volumesdirect.com/detail.aspx?ID=4598. The volume can be downloaded at no charge as a series of pdf files using the links below. Adobe Acrobat reader is needed to view the files. This software can be downlaoded for free from http://get.adobe.com/reader.
This is the second of a planned three-volume series that will provide an overview of Canada's grasslands and its associated insects, mites, and their close relatives. Volume 1 reviews the formation and extent of native grasslands and subsets of their associated arthropods. Volume 2 expands this focus with chapters on arthropods in agro-ecosystems.
Grasslands were once a dominant feature of Canada's landscape, extending across most of southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with smaller expanses in the Yukon, the interior of British Columbia, and in eastern Ontario. Now, virtually all of these grasslands have been extensively modified for agricultural production with only scattered patches left undisturbed.
Our current knowledge of grassland arthropods largely is limited to species of economic importance; usually exotic species or native species that have become agricultural pests. There exists relatively little information on the arthropods of native grasslands, such that we know little about their biodiversity, their role in ecosystems, and their ability to respond to habitat change.
With the publication of Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands, the Biological Survey of Canada hopes to increase awareness of the plight of Canada's grasslands, to draw attention to its associated arthropods, and to provide a baseline reference to support future studies of arthropods in these environments. To order please see www.volumesdirect.com/detail.aspx?ID=4764. The volume can be downloaded at no charge as a series of pdf files using the links below. Adobe Acrobat reader is needed to view the files. This software can be downloaded for free from http://get.adobe.com/reader.
By Matt McGrath, Environment correspondent, BBC News
The European Commission has proposed that member states restrict the use of certain classes of pesticide that are believed to be harmful to bees.
Sprays that use neonicotinoid chemicals should only be used on crops that are not attractive to the insects they said. The sale of seeds treated with these chemicals should also be prohibited.
Bayer, one of the companies who make the pesticides, says they are convinced they can be used without harm to bees.
Earlier this month, the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) issued guidance on the use of neonicotinoids, in which they recognised "high acute risks" to bees who encountered residue from these sprays in pollen and nectar in crops like oilseed rape and sunflowers.
They also said there were risks to bees from dust in crops like maize that had been sprayed with these pesticides.
However they stopped short of recommending a complete ban.
Now the European Commissioner for health and consumer policy Tonio Borg has adopted the same line saying it was time for "swift and decisive action."
He has tabled a discussion paper that asks EU member states to restrict the use of neonicotinoids to crops not attractive to bees and to prohibit the sale and use of seeds treated with products that contain the active substances.
Three pesticides would be affected -clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam. Farmers would be banned from using them with sunflowers, oilseed rape, cotton and maize.
Commission spokesman Frederic Vincent told BBC News the measure was based on the latest scientific advice.
"We have requested a proper scientific assessment of neonicotinoids from Efsa. They came up with some concerns, some kind of worrying assessment. So now we are saying to members we have some scientific evidence that there are some concerns from those pesticides and the effects they might have on bees," he said.
The Commission wants restrictions in place by July and the measures will be reviewed after two years. There are already bans in place in France, Germany and Slovenia.
Campaigners were delighted with the EU stance - Friends of the Earth's Andrew Pendleton said it was a timely move.
"This hugely significant EU proposal promises a first, important step on the road to turning around the decline on our bees. The UK Government must throw its weight behind it," he said.
"The evidence linking neonicotinoid chemicals to declining bee populations is growing. We can't afford to ignore the threat they pose to these crucial pollinators.
But Bayer CropSciences which manufactures some of the chemicals that face restrictions says it remains convinced that neonicotinoids can be used safely and effectively in sustainable agriculture.
Speaking to the House of Commons environmental audit committee yesterday, the company's Dr Julian Little said that Europe was in danger of "enshrining some sort of museum agriculture".
"I personally absolutely support very strict regulation, but not to the point where we believe you are taking out major advances in chemistry and major advances in agriculture with no discernible improvement in bee health. And other countries will continue to use these products," he said.
In the UK the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) rejected a ban late last year saying the scientific evidence wasn't clear. They have commissioned new studies that will look at the impacts of neonicotinoids on bumble bees in field conditions and to understand what levels of pesticide residues and disease in honey bees are normal. These are due to be completed shortly.
But if the EU agrees to limit the use of these pesticides, it will apply to the UK as well, according to spokesman Frederic Vincent.
"If what we have tabled today is approved by members states in the short run, it will mean there will be a new regulation and the measures would apply from the first of July to everybody," he said.
In recent days a number of UK retailers have removed from sale neonicotinoid chemicals linked to bee decline.
Pollinators in Canada, such as honey bees and wild bees, pollinate many fruits, vegetables, field crops such as canola, and flower gardens. They are an essential part of a robust agricultural system.
Honey bee health can be affected by a number of different factors, including parasites (such as the Varroa mite), disease, and other stress factors (such as habitat loss, poor nutrition, climate change, and chemical exposure). The agriculture industry has a vested interest in protecting pollinators and is committed to thoroughly researching and protecting bee health.
What is causing elevated overwintering honey bee losses in Canada? Over the past four or five years, overwintering honey bee losses have been higher than normal (in the range of 20 to 40 per cent nationally, compared to the more typical 15 per cent). Losses of bee colonies have been variable among the provinces and researchers haven’t identified a single cause of these losses, although recent scientific research points toward a combination of parasitic mites (specifically the Varroa mite) and pathogens (such as Nosema and viral diseases) as main factors. Other possible factors include a lack of genetic diversity, climate change, pesticides, and stressinducers such as colony transport, poor nutrition, weather, and starvation.
Nonetheless, early Canadian figures from 2011/2012 indicate a significant improvement in overwintering losses, likely due to the mild winter and better disease control.
What is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)? Numerous beekeeping experts believe that Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) symptoms have not been reported in Canada. CCD is a term used to describe a very specific set of symptoms, characterized by the sudden disappearance of worker bees from a colony, leaving behind an apparently healthy queen and brood.
Researchers haven’t been able to identify a single cause of CCD but most experts agree that pollinator health decline in recent years is the result of a combination of factors, including parasitic mites and diseases. Many researchers suspect that invasive parasitic mites have weakened bees’ defenses, making them more susceptible to diseases or other environmental factors.
CCD is a separate issue from overwintering losses and acute poisonings. While some overwintering loss is normal, the levels experienced by some professional beekeepers in various parts of the world over the past seven years have raised concerns.
How are pesticides regulated to ensure they do not harm bees? All pesticides go through a rigorous testing process to ensure they can be used without causing harm to humans or the environment. This process includes more than 200 separate studies that test a range of health and environmental impacts, including effects on bees. The results of these studies help determine the instructions for use that appear on the product label. As scientific information evolves, products are continuously re-evaluated to ensure they meet the latest safety standards. See: http://www.producer.com/2012/07/mild-winter-credited-for-low-beehive-los...
Is there any connection between neonicotinoid insecticides and long-term honey bee losses in Canada? There is no evidence to suggest a link between neonicotinoids and long-term honey bee losses in Canada. There is no geographical correlation between long-term bee losses and insecticide use. Although some neonicotinoids are toxic to bees upon direct contact (as are many insecticides), they are used in a way that minimizes any direct exposure to bees. Under normal field use, the exposure to bees is at very low levels, far too low to cause harmful effects. Independent, long-term, controlled field tests have repeatedly shown no effects on bee mortality, weight gain, worker longevity, brood development, honey yield, and overwinter survival relative to bees in areas where treated seed was not used. Many of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. For example, a recent Canadian study by G. Christopher Cutler and Cynthia D. ScottDupree was published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, 100(3): pages 765-772 (2007). What about recent studies that claim neonicotinoids are a principle cause of pollinator decline? The weight of the scientific evidence clearly shows that these products do not affect long-term colony health. A few recent studies have claimed some impact on bees, but a careful evaluation of the research shows significant errors were made in the experimental design, or incorrect conclusions were drawn from the data. Unfortunately, these studies have received wide media attention.
Can agriculture and bees really co-exist? Bees and pesticides are very much complementary – both are essential to the success of agriculture. More than one-third of the world’s food production comes from crops that depend on pollination. Modern crop protection products are critical tools that farmers use to protect their crops from potentially devastating pests. In fact, without pesticides, the world would lose at least 40 per cent of its food supply. Our industry is committed to the developing products that allow Canadian farmers to grow food in an environmentally sustainable manner. For example, seed treatment insecticides evolved as a way to protect seeds and crops while also minimizing potential exposures of non-target insects such as bees. Indeed, these modern seed-applied insecticides have been used for a decade with almost no incidences of negative impacts on bees. Only small quantities of the insecticide are needed to coat the seed, which reduces the need to spray insecticides to control insects. In fact, in contrast to a traditional spray treatment, where 100 per cent of a field is treated, less than 1 per cent of the field is treated when a modern seed treatment is used. This helps to reduce the exposure of pollinators and other beneficial insects (as well as human and environmental exposures) throughout the growing season. Furthermore, in Canada the climate is such that most years treated seed is planted during a period when bees are not actively foraging.
What role do farmers play in ensuring bees are protected from insecticides? Farmers understand the tremendous importance of pollinators to the success of modern agriculture. To ensure farmers are well equipped to use our products safely, our industry provides them with technical advice on best practices to ensure they plant treated seeds in a way that protects nontarget organisms such as bees. For example, during planting, farmers can limit dust when pouring seed into the planter; properly dispose of empty seeds bags; and follow manufacturer recommendations. Growers plant only during proper weather conditions, they take precautions when planting near flowering crops and they control flowering weeds in their fields prior to planting. More extensive information on the Best Management Practices for the handling of seed-applied insecticides is available at www.croplife.ca
This spring, beginning in April 2012, incidents of bee mortality were reported by beekeepers across southern Ontario. Timing and location of these incidents appears to have generally coincided with corn planting. Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has been working with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) to evaluate the role pesticides may have played in these bee losses. Initial analyses of the circumstances surrounding the bee losses indicate that there was no pesticide misuse.
Samples of affected bees were taken at many incident locations and are being analyzed for specific pesticide residues by the PMRA laboratory services. To date, residue analysis has been completed for 104 bee samples, as well as some samples of pollen and vegetation. Analysis is currently underway for an additional set of bee samples. Preliminary residue results show that insecticides used to treat corn seed were detected in approximately 70% of the dead bee samples analyzed.
Based on the preliminary information evaluated to date, there is an indication that pesticides used on treated corn seeds may have contributed to at least some of the 2012 spring bee losses that occurred in Ontario, however, there is still additional information being collected for consideration and final conclusions have not been made. We are looking closely at the specific circumstances that may have contributed to the unusual number of bee mortalities this spring.
The PMRA (assisted by MOE) is continuing to gather information for the purpose of determining the role pesticides may have played in the bee losses, how exposure occurred, and to determine what steps can be taken to prevent future bee losses. Information is being collected from affected bee yard owners/operators to help in the evaluation. Furthermore, the PMRA and MOE staff are contacting owners/operators of agricultural land in the vicinity of certain affected bee yards to collect details on agricultural activities including: crops grown, seeding dates, seed treatments, planting equipment, planting practices used, pesticide applications, weather conditions at the time of planting and other factors that may have played a role in the bee losses.
Once all current samples have been analyzed and available details gathered from the affected bee yards and adjacent agricultural land owners, a final analysis of the results will be conducted. A report will be made available, which will include information on the findings of the evaluation as well as the PMRA’s final conclusions.
In the interim, the PMRA will take additional steps to further protect pollinators from potential pesticide exposure, and is working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and other Canadian and international regulatory partners towards this goal. Work is ongoing to ensure that additional safety measures and best management practices to reduce pollinator exposure to treated seed dust are developed and communicated to beekeepers, agricultural producers and other stakeholders prior to the next planting season.
Source: Health Canada
By Margaret Holm
Orchard & Vine Magazine, Summer 2014
We’ve all heard that honey bees and native bees are in trouble in North America. There seem to be a number of factors leading to the decline of native pollinator populations of honey bee colonies. Minute quantities of neonicotinoid pesticides have been implicated in bee population decline and have been banned in many European countries. The second factor severely affecting honey bees is the Varroa mite. A third factor may related to poor nutritional opportunities for bees feeding on monocultures of some commodity crops. Recent drastic declines in some native bumblebee populations have lead researchers to hypothesize that diseases were spread from non-native bumblebees used in greenhouses.
Both wild and domestic bees provide millions of dollars of pollination services to fruit and ground crops. Although they are not needed for grape pollination they do pollinate cover crops and plants that support beneficial insects. Maintaining a healthy population of insect pollinators is vital to agricultural production and the environment.
Use of pesticides is part of most farm operations, however good management practices can ensure that bees have little or no direct contact with toxic sprays. Consider the following before applying pesticides:
Go to the Health Canada site and search for “Protecting Pollinators during Pesticide Spraying” for more tips on best management practices. Be aware that pollinators collect pollen and water as well as flower nectar and can be harmed by pesticide residue from these sources. Ground-nesting bumble bees are also very susceptible to pesticides used in turf management.
You can support bees by providing areas of native habitat or buffer crops of clover and other flowering plants that are not sprayed. Minimize tillage in natural areas and leave gullies and hedgerows which are ideal nesting and foraging habitat. Weathered wood such as fence posts, sheds and trees offer homes to many native pollinators such as mason bees. Native bumble bee and mason bee species are more efficient pollinators then honeybees and are active longer when the weather is cold and wet. They need very little in return for their services – a small hole to nest in and native habitat to support them after the commercial crop has blossomed.
Report suspected pollinator pesticide poisonings to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency at 1-800-267-6315.
Margaret Holm works for the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here for PDF of entire article.
It can take hours, days or weeks for dung-breeding beetles to scatter or bury cow pies deposited on pastures. Much depends on the number and species of beetles at hand – and they have a lot of work to do. A cow can deposit up to 22 kg of fresh dung each day throughout the grazing season, and Canada has a national herd of about 14 million animals. The tireless efforts of these beetles in degrading cattle dung provide huge returns to Canada’s ranchers.
Dr. Kevin Floate, a scientist and dung beetle specialist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Lethbridge, Alberta, leads a research team to increase awareness of these beetles and introduce more efficient dung-degrading species onto Canadian pastures.
Benefits of Dung Degradation
Undegraded dung reduces the amount of pasture available for grazing, provides breeding sites for pests of cattle, and removes nitrogen and minerals from pasture soils. Through their feeding and tunneling activities, dung-breeding insects hasten the return of organic matter from the pat back into the soil to increase forage yields, increase soil aeration and water retention, remove breeding sites for livestock pests, and generally improve the aesthetic value of the countryside.
It is difficult to capture the economic benefits of these services, although some have tried. One study calculated a potential annual benefit of $2 billion associated with accelerated dung pat degradation in the United States1. A second study estimated that the dung deposited by a group of 455 cattle on pastures in northern California equated to a loss of about $4800 from time of deposition to complete degradation (3 years)2.
Literally within minutes, fresh cow pats deposited on pastures during the grazing season are colonized by a mix of dung beetles, flies, parasitic wasps, and predatory beetles. More than 450 species of insects occur in cattle dung in North America with more than 80 such species in western Canada3. Face fly, horn fly and stable fly are pests, but represent a small fraction of the total. The vast majority of dung-dwelling insects are beneficial as they are natural enemies of pest species or, through their feeding and tunneling activities, accelerate the degradation of the pat.
Insect activity is highest in the spring, declines during the hot, dry months of July and August, and then increases again in autumn before the onset of winter. From October through April, the insects remain inactive in soil or dung. In spring, they emerge to colonize moist, fresh dung, passing by older pats that are dry and no longer attractive. This pattern of activity helps explain why pats deposited in February can remain intact for years.
Dung beetles, often the largest and most abundant insects in cattle dung, are the main contributors to pat degradation. Although there are many species, dung beetles are commonly grouped as ‘tunnelers’, ‘rollers’ or ‘dwellers’. Tunnelers and rollers are most desired. They can scatter and bury a fresh pat in less than a week. Adults arrive at the pat to remove small pieces of manure. Tunnelers will bury this manure in chambers that may be 15-20 cm below the pat. Rollers will carry the manure away from the pat and then bury it. The manure provides food for beetle grubs that hatch from eggs laid in the chambers. Burying the manure not only increases soil fertility, but also increases soil aeration and its permeability to water. Dwellers are least desired.
They degrade dung pats over a period of weeks and do not tunnel in the soil. Instead, adults lay eggs in chambers they form in the pat. Feeding by the grubs that hatch from these eggs slowly degrades the pat to the consistency of sawdust. Dwellers are most common on Canadian pastures.
New Beetles for Canada?
In 2007, funding from the Canada/Alberta Livestock Research Trust provided the opportunity to assess the likelihood of establishing two new species of tunnelers in Canada. Digitonthophagus gazella and Onthophagus taurus are European species that were introduced into the southeastern United States in the early 1970s.
AAFC researchers developed computer models, performed temperature studies, and made field-cage releases to determine whether these two new species could survive in Canada.
The computer models, developed by Dr. Owen Olfert (AAFC, Saskatoon Research Centre, Saskatoon, SK), use temperature and moisture data from sites where the two species occur elsewhere in the world to predict establishment based on corresponding data for Canada. Results ruled out D. gazella for Canada, but predicted survival and establishment for O. taurus across most of southern Canada with greatest potential in southern Ontario and Quebec.
Temperature studies support these predictions. Lab colonies of D. gazella and O. taurus were established at Lethbridge using insects provided by Dr. Wes Watson (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC). Eggs from these colonies were then held at constant temperatures ranging from 10 to 32°C in 2°C increments. A minimum temperature of 22°C was required for egg-to-adult development for D. gazella, but of only 16°C for O. taurus. Both species develop in manure buried in the soil at depths of about 10-15 cm. Cool soil temperatures at these depths in southern Canada prohibit development of D. gazella, but not necessarily of O. taurus.
Field releases confirmed results of the computer models and lab experiments. Plastic tubs of soil were placed in the ground during the summers of 2009 and 2010. Adult D. gazella and O. taurus were released into the tubs, which were provisioned weekly with fresh dung until October and kept covered with wire mesh to prevent the escape of beetles. In spring of 2010 and 2011, the soil and spent manure in each tub was carefully examined. Live O. taurus recovered in the tubs in each year were determined to be the adult progeny of the beetles placed in the tubs. Thus, O. taurus can both overwinter and complete egg-to-adult development in southern Alberta. No live D. gazella were recovered.
Releases of O. taurus were made on native pastures near Lethbridge in 2009 and 2010. Small numbers of O. taurus were recovered in dung-baited pitfall traps in 2010, but none were recovered in 2011. AAFC researchers continue to monitor the release sites to assess establishment success.
Ideally, populations of O. taurus will establish and gradually spread to increase the degradation of cattle dung and promote the productivity of pastures in southern Alberta.
1 Fincher, G.T. 1981. The potential value of dung beetles in pasture ecosystems. Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society 16(2): 316-333.
2 Anderson, J.R., Merritt, R.W. and Loomis, E.C. 1984. The insect-free cattle dropping and its relationship to increased dung fouling of rangeland pastures. Journal of Economic Entomology 77(1): 133-141.
3 Floate, K.D. 2011. Arthropods in cattle dung on Canada’s grasslands. pp. 71-88. In: Arthropods of Canadian Grasslands (Volume 2): Inhabitants of a Changing Landscape. Floate, K.D. (ed.), Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, ON. Biological Survey of Canada, Ottawa, ON.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kevin Floate Research Scientist, Insect Biocontrol
Lethbridge Research Centre 5403 – 1st Avenue South Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1 Tel 403-317-2242
B.C. residents, particularly those in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Penticton area are being asked to support the Ministry of Agriculture’s surveillance efforts by being on the lookout for any brown marmorated stink bugs, (Halyomorpah halys) that may be seeking winter refuge inside homes and buildings.
The bug does not pose a risk to people, but can be devastating to tree fruits, berries, grapes, vegetables and ornamental plants, and a nuisance to homeowners as the adults aggregate on and in buildings while seeking warm overwintering sites.
Both adults and nymphs feed by inserting their mouthparts into the flesh of fruit or vegetables. Feeding punctures result in small dead areas on fruit, vegetables and leaves.
Brown marmorated stink bugs can be a contamination issue for grapes because the presence of a few adults at crush can taint wine.
The ministry has conducted outreach to growers and the general public for brown marmorated stink bugs since 2010, and is increasing 2017 efforts through a multi-agency surveillance and monitoring plan, after the bugs were found in B.C. for the first time in 2016. A few were identified in Penticton in the spring and summer, and several more in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver and Chilliwack. The bugs are excellent hitchhikers and can be moved in shipping containers, wood, wood-packing material, cargo and vehicles
The brown marmorated stink bug, a native pest of Asia, was first identified in North America in Pennsylvania in 2001. It has since spread throughout the mid-Atlantic states and is present in California, Oregon and Washington. The adults are brown, about 13 to 17 mm long, and can be distinguished from other brown stink bugs by the presence of distinctive white bands on the antennae and their tendency to cluster together in groups.
Pictures, I.D. tips, and additional information is at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/...
The bug is a very serious pest that feeds on more than 100 different plant species and causes tens-of-millions of dollars of fruit losses annually in the United States. B.C. growers and homeowners are asked to report any suspect brown marmorated stink bug to the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture contacts below:
In the Southern Interior: Susanna Acheampong Ministry of Agriculture Email: Susanna.Acheampong@gov.bc.ca
In the Lower Mainland: Tracy Hueppelsheuser Ministry of Agriculture Email: Tracy.Hueppelsheuser@gov.bc.ca
Tracey Baute ‐ Field Crop Entomologist, Ontario
Greg Stewart ‐ Corn Specialist Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
A high level of concern was raised last spring regarding bee kills and corn planting in Ontario. Many growers are asking what actions they can take to help reduce the risk of bee kills this spring during planting. We will try to clarify the situation, and give the best recommendations we can provide at this time.
In the spring of 2012, coinciding with corn planting, there were approximately 200 incidences of what was likely acute poisoning of honey bees in Ontario. Representatives from the Ministry of Environment (MOE), Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), and OMAFRA investigated affected bee hives, taking bee samples for residue analysis by PMRA. Though final results have not been released, PMRA’s initial lab results indicate “that pesticides used on treated corn seeds may have contributed to at least some of the 2012 spring bee losses that occurred in Ontario, however, there is still additional information being collected”. It is important to note that they have found no cases of off‐label use by growers. It is also important to note that, though the analysis indicates the presence of clothianidin (active ingredient in Poncho), thiamethoxam (active ingredient in Cruiser) breaks down to metabolites that include clothianidin.Virtually all corn seed sold in Ontario is treated with some form of the insecticides in question.
Many factors may have contributed to these incidences. Environmental conditions and planting practices during the 2012 planting season may play a significant role. Unfortunately, without being present in each field at the time of planting to collect data, there may never be conclusive evidence as to route(s) of exposure to bees. However, results indicate that honey bees were somehow exposed to corn seed insecticides. So how can a bee come into contact with a seed insecticide during planting?
One of the more likely routes is dust. Research from Purdue University and other jurisdictions in Europe have found evidence that dust coming from the exhaust of high pressure air‐assisted corn planters contained particles of neonicotinoid (eg. Poncho or Cruiser) seed insecticides.Many factors can contribute to the contamination of the dust including abrasion of the seed from the planter lubricant (eg. talc), quality and formulation of the polymer seed coating (sticker), and rough handling of the seed bags causing chaffing of the seed coat. Planting on dry, windy days may also help to carry the “fugitive dust” greater distances. Bees can come into contact with the contaminated dust while flying across the field during planting or from the dust settling on water sources or nearby flowers that they are foraging on.
What can corn producers do to help reduce the risk of bee kills when planting? The following are actions that should help reduce the production of contaminated dust during planting, and consequently (hopefully) reduce the exposure of bees to this dust. There is no guarantee that these actions will prevent bee kills from happening during planting. Many of these are best management practices that growers should be following anyway, given they are applying pesticides when planting treated seed.
1. Strengthen communication with local beekeepers. Honey bees can forage up to 5km from their hives. Take an active role in finding out where the nearest hives are to your fields and let the local beekeepers know when you plan to plant. There may be steps that they can take to protect their hives during planting. Contact information for the local beekeepers’ association in your area can be found on the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association website at:http://www.ontariobee.com/community/local‐beekeepers‐associations
2. Time of planting. Keep in mind that during dry spring conditions, dust will travel further on windy days. If there is an opportunity to plant in the early morning or evening on windy days, when bees are less likely to be foraging, it may also help to reduce the risk of exposure.
3. Manage dandelions and other flowering weeds in and around fields, prior to planting. The warm March, followed by a very cold April of 2012 may have resulted in dandelions being the predominate flowering plant for bees to forage on during corn planting. Managing flowering weeds in and along field perimeters prior to planting may help to reduce the likelihood of bees foraging around your field at the time of planting.
4. Minimize the amount of insecticide seed treatment used. Growers planting corn on corn with moderate to high populations of corn rootworm should consider planting a Bt corn rootworm hybrid. Transgenic control has been proven to be more effective than using a high rate of seed insecticide. In addition, not every grower in the province has soil insect pest problems. It is time to get back to integrated pest management. Evaluate your fields and determine if soil pests are present at threshold levels. Even if they were in the past, it doesn’t mean they are now, especially if insecticide seed treatments have been used in the same field over multiple years. If the soil pests are not at threshold and impacting yield, a seed insecticide is not necessary. Most companies can accommodate orders for noninsecticide treated seed, as long as the orders are done well in advance. Test noninsecticide treated seed to see how they do on your farm. For information on how to monitor for soil insects and determine thresholds, refer to the Soil Insects and Pests section of the OMAFRA Publication 811, Agronomy Guide for Field Crops at: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub811/13general.htm#soilpests
5. Limit the amount of seed lubricant (eg. Talc) used at planting. The amount of lubricant needed varies by planter.There has been a tendency to err on the “safe side” for planter performance, and apply at the upper end of the label rate. Experience from some growers would suggest that in low humidity situations, little to no talc is required. Follow label recommendations. A build‐up of talc on the blower exhaust indicates overuse. Take precautions to reduce the risk of inhaling talc, which can have serious health effects. Fortunately, there are promising new lubricants being developed that could greatly reduce the amount of dust produced.
6. Exhaust dust towards the center of the field. When planting the outside rounds along the perimeter of the field, blow the air in.If your planter exhausts air towards the right side, plant in a counter‐clockwise direction. This will help direct the dust into the field rather than directing the dust onto the vegetation and water sources near the field’s edge.
7. Modifying planters with deflectors. Deflecting exhaust air directly at or into the ground will reduce the distance the contaminated dust is able to travel. Deflectors have been mandated in parts of Europe to reduce dust implications. In North America, deflectors need to be tested for their impact both on planter performance and on efficacy to reduce dust concerns. Stay tuned.
Again, following all of these recommendations does not guarantee that there will not be future bee kill incidences at planting. These are the best suggestions we can offer based on the information available to date. We will continue to modify these recommendations as more information is made available, and research and technology is developed to address the issue. Updates will be provided on the Field Crop News site at:http://fieldcropnews.com/
Note: Any suspected bee kill incidents in B.C. should be reported to:
BC Provincial Apiculturist
Source: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/IPM/english/sweet-corn/insects/corn-rootworm... (read entire article here)
Corn rootworm larvae are cylindrical worms with a white body, brown head and 6 small legs behind the head. They are 3 mm to 1.5 cm (1/8- 3/5 in.) long when fully grown. Adults have hard shells and are roughly 6 mm (1/4 in.) long. The Western corn rootworm is yellow with black stripes on the wing pad. The Northern corn rootworm is pale green-yellow.
Both the adults and the larvae attack sweet corn. Larvae feed on root hairs and tunnel into the roots resulting in poor water and nutrient uptake, as well as a loss of structural support to the stalk. Indications of infested fields include poor root formation, plants with curved stalks (goose necking) or a high proportion of lodged plants. Corn rootworm damage affects both yield and harvestability.
Later in the season, adult rootworm feed on fresh corn silks. Severe feeding may affect pollination of sweet corn if the silks are clipped prior to seed set, resulting in a barren cob.
The corn rootworm over-winters in the soil as an egg. Adults lay their eggs in the fall in corn fields. Eggs must go through diapause (winter chilling) before they hatch. Development begins once the soil temperatures reach 10°C (50°F). The larvae emerge and feed on corn roots for 3- 4 weeks. Pupation takes 1- 2 days.
Corn rootworm complete only one generation per year. After emerging, adults will look for corn fields on which to feed and lay the overwintering eggs.
Sweet corn fields planted after sweet corn or field corn have the highest risk of infestation. A new variant of the corn rootworm is present in Ontario and across the U.S. mid-west. This variant lays its eggs in soybean crops. While this variant is currently present at very low levels in Ontario, it is important to scout all sweet corn fields for the presence of corn rootworm. Control may be necessary in the future should this variant establish itself in Ontario soybean fields.
Period of Activity
Corn rootworm larvae emerge in late May to mid-June. Feeding continues through mid-July. Damage symptoms may not become noticeable until the crop reaches the early-tassel stage. First generation adults emerge in late July through early August.
It is difficult to scout for this pest prior to the onset of symptoms. To diagnose symptomatic plants, dig around the plant and remove its root mass. Place it on a dark surface (garbage bag) and break apart the soil looking for the white larvae. Also inspect roots for feeding injury. Rootworms may occasionally be found under the leaf collar. Inspect plants in several different areas, as populations tend to be variable across the field.
Identification and Management Field Guide
NEW! Field Guide to Support Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Field and Forage Crops Field Crop and Forage Pests and their Natural Enemies in Western Canada: IDENTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT FIELD GUIDE
Whether you’re a new or experienced producer, agrologist or field scout in Western Canada, “What’s ‘bugging’ this crop?” and “Does it need to be controlled?” are typical questions raised when scouting for pests in a field of grain, oilseed, pulse or forage.
This new, 152-page, full-colour field guide, now available online, is designed to help you make informed decisions in managing over 90 harmful pests of field and forage crops in Western Canada. Better decision making helps save time and effort and eliminates unnecessary pesticide applications to improve your bottom line. The guide also helps the reader identify many natural enemies that prey on or parasitize pest insects. Recognizing and fostering populations of natural enemies will enhance their role in keeping or reducing pest populations below economic levels.
What you’ll find inside:
Description of over 90 economic pests and 30+ natural enemy species or species groups:
Large full-colour photos depicting various life stages of featured pests and natural enemies
Overview of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies
Natural enemy and pest relationships
Author: Hugh Philip, 2015
Published by: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon, SK [with funding from the Pest Management Centre’s Pesticide Risk Reduction Program]
Downloadable formats: pdf and pdf-enhanced [features internal hyperlinks allowing the reader to quickly jump to referenced pages]
Languages: Available in English and French
French title: Guide d’identification des ravageurs des grandes cultures et des cultures fourragères et de leurs ennemis naturels et mesures de lutte applicables à l’Ouest canadien
Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.6 cm (landscape)
Document numbers – regular pdf
Document numbers – pdf-enhanced
Price: FREE download from http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2015/aac-aafc/A59-23-2015-eng.pdf
Pollinators are animals, mostly insects, and primarily bees, but also birds and bats and a few other animals that help plants produce fruit and seed. Pollinators transfer pollen between the male and female parts of flowers more or less accidentally while they are collecting food in the form of pollen and nectar. We say “more or less accidentally” because it turns out that in the long run, doing so is beneficial to both the pollinators and the plants.
Almost three-quarters of all the flowering plants in the world rely, at least to some degree, on pollinators to play this role (CSPNA 2007). In fact, we can call it a “service” because from both the plant’s perspective and ours, that is what it is. And because of this, entire terrestrial ecosystems, within which these flowering plants grow and interact, depend on this service – from Amazon forests (most tropical tree species are insect pollinated (Michener 2007)) to the native grasslands in the North American Great Plains, to the vegetated “green” zones along prairie streams in western Canada. And if that wasn’t enough, pollinators are vital to agriculture (Table 1). Most fruit, vegetable and seed crops (about 70 percent) are pollinated by animals (Klein 2007) as are some fibre crops (e.g., flax and cotton) and major forage-seed crops like alfalfa and clover (Michener 2007). Some crops are entirely dependent on insect pollination for seed and fruit production while others benefit from higher yields, better quality produce, or more uniform maturation (Corbet 1991; Delaplane 2000). In fact, roughly 35 percent of global crop production depends on pollinators (Klein 2007), and even more, these plants tend to be nutritionally very important to our diet – they provide about 90 percent of our vitamin C, all of our lycopene, almost all of the antioxidants b-cryptoxanthin and b-tocopherol, most of the lipid, vitamin A and related carotenoids, calcium and fluoride, and a large amount of the folic acid intake (Eilers 2011). In the case of honey bees, which provide the majority of agricultural pollination done by bees, they also produce useful and economically important products: wax and honey.
Table 1: Major crops grown in Canada that depend on or benefit from insect pollination.
The number of honey bee colonies in Canada has been increasing over the last five years from about 570,000 in 2008 to more than 706,000 in 2012 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2013) as beekeepers import more and more bees to fulfill increasing demands for pollination services as requested by farmers. For wild bees, there are indications that their abundance and diversity is declining and that some species are already at risk (COSEWIC 2010; CSPNA 2007). For the domesticated and agriculturally-important European honey bee, annual losses in the range of 15-30 percent of colonies in North America, primarily due to over-winter kill, appear to be typical (van der Zee 2012; vanEngelsdorp 2012). However, since 2006, a phenomenon termed Colony Collapse Disorder has been reported in the United States where entire colonies are lost because of what appears to be a combination of factors that are difficult to gauge, thereby adding to the vulnerability of pollination services to agriculture (Dainat 2012).
While the causes of all of these declines (wild and managed bees) can be hard to pin down, the following are among the culprits:
Fortunately, beekeepers have been able to increase the number of honey bees that they import from other countries, not only to compensate for over- winter kill and colony collapse disorder, but to respond to the increase in demand from farmers for pollinators for their crops and from the demand for more honey. Honey production increased from ~29,500,000 kg to over 41,000,000 kg between 2008 and 2012 (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 2013). It is also true, however, that for the majority of species, we don’t know very much about the habitats they depend on, their interdependencies with other species, the trends in their populations, or how changes in the environment affect them. This booklet is the story of the pollinators as we know it, what we know about why they are important to agriculture in Canada and some ideas on how we think they can be protected.
Link to entire document: Native Pollinators and Agriculture in Canada (AAFC publication)
Western Corn Rootworm (WCRW), Diabrotica virgifera, Family: Chrysomelidae, a major corn pest, was confirmed in the central and eastern Fraser Valley in August 2016. Surveying in August and September revealed varying levels of infestation in fields, in both silage corn and sweet corn. WCRW has also been confirmed in a dahlia crop adjacent to corn fields.
Life cycle: One generation per year, eggs laid in established corn in late summer in soil cracks. Eggs overwinter, hatch in spring, and larvae are attracted to and feed on corn roots of planted corn fields for 1 month. Larvae pupate in soil, and adults emerge in July. Adults feed on corn foliage and pollen, and mate. Beetles are active fliers and will feed on many plants. Females feed for two weeks, and then lay eggs in corn fields. Both males and females live for about 1 month.
Management includes: Crop rotation out of corn every 2-4 years, use of seed treatments or in-furrow sprays at planting, foliar spray for adults in July-August.
If you have questions, contact: British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture
Abbotsford Ph: 604-556-3001
Kelowna Ph: 250-861-7681
CLICK HERE for entire pdf article and photos!
Temperature plays a major role in the growth and development of insects. There is a threshold temperature for each insect where no development occurs when temperatures are below that level and a maximum temperature (termed upper cutoff) above which development stops. In between is an optimum temperature range in which insects grow rapidly. These temperatures can be used to predict insect activity.
Degree days are used to predict insect development. One degree day results when the average temperature for a day is one degree over the threshold temperature. The Farmwest website maintains a Pest Calculator that calculates degree days for several pests at many locations across the province. Currently you can monitor degree days for Apple Clearwing Moth, Codling Moth, Leaf rollers, fruit flys and more.
Following degree days will allow you to become more accurate in your pest management. This in turn can result in reductions in pesticide use and better control through more accurate timing when pesticides are required.
by Margaret Holm, Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance
Unfortunately, the sailing ships that brought explorers and settlers to British Columbia also brought rats and mice. For a hundred years or more the large Norway Rat and Black Rat species were confined to coastal areas, but in the past decade, the smaller Black Rat has spread to the interior of the province and is a new problem in urban and rural areas.
The black rat, or roof rat, has a tail that is longer than its body. It nests in sheds and attics and is an excellent climber, using pipes, wood siding and wires to clamber into small holes and chew through plastic vent covers and screens to gain access.
A pair of black rats can produce six litters a year so you definitely want to be prepared if you have heard that rats are living in your region. Trapping is effective for small populations and is the preferred method over the use of poisoned bait, which can harm non-target animals such as domestic pets, hawks, owls and snakes. Since snakes and raptors are doing us a favour by preying on rodents, we should make sure that our pest control methods are not harming these native animals.
Rodent control for all species involves controlling food attractants, limiting access to building for nesting and shelter, and having snap traps set in key locations. Snap traps are a safer and a better choice than using poisoned bait. Rats require the use of a larger snap traps designed for their body size. Ideally the trap is placed in corners along inside walls. Ideally the traps are enclosed in plastic tubing or a wooden box. Two traps facing out are effective but make sure the space is large enough for the mechanism to snap and to be easily set again.
Rats like fresh foods and will reject spoiled or rancid food. They are also smart and find ways to steal from traps. Rodent food bait, such as a slice of fruit or vegetable with peanut butter, should be placed securely on the trip mechanism or even wired on. Check the traps daily and leave them in place as a preventative measure even after rodents are trapped out.
The best practice is to make your property unattractive to rodents by being aware of food sources and building access points. Keep garbage and edibles in containers with tight-filling lids. Place traps under lumber, pallets and debris which are common nest spots as well as sheds. Based on field tests, ultrasonic devices have insufficient repellency to merit use.
If preventive control measures and trapping are not adequate, poison baits may be necessary. Treated baits should be placed in in covered, tamper-resistant bait stations or in locations not accessible to children, pets, wildlife or domestic animals. Bait stations can be built or may be purchased commercially. Entry holes should be sized for target animal, no larger and interior baffles or small openings should prevent people from touching the bait. Lastly, anchor the bait stations to the ground and flag. Never scatter bait outside a bait station or rodent burrow.
Make sure the bait stations are checked regularly and dispose of dead animals daily to prevent other animals from being attracted to and eating the carcass. To reduce exposure of non-target birds and other wildlife to poisoned carcasses, dead rodents should be securely wrapped and placed in closed containers for disposal or buried to a depth that will make them inaccessible to scavengers.
Sadly, recent studies of Great Horned Owl and Red-tailed Hawk carcasses found in locations across Canada, showed significant levels of anticoagulant rodenticide chemicals in the livers of the dead raptors. Researchers estimate that use of rodenticides is an unintended but significant threat to hawks and owls. Since rodents may need several feedings of bait before they succumb, they can become a poisonous meal for snakes and raptors. Some rodent populations have become resistant to certain poisons. Snap traps may require a bit more effort but it’s safer and supports species doing rodent control the natural way.
Check out “Living with Wildlife”, a series of nine wildlife management guides for agriculture published with the support of the BC Agriculture Council at http://osca.org “Living with Wildlife” pages.
Click here for pdf version of complete article.
Many rodents have no impact on crops while others cause from minimal to significant damage. Proper identification and assessment of damage is important for rodent management. Trapping is effective for small populations and is the preferred method over the use of poisoned bait, which can harm non-target animals such as dogs, hawks, owls and snakes.
Lower Mainland Growers see more Spotted Wing Drosophila
by Ronda Payne February 16, 2016
Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) has been harassing Lower Mainland berry growers for five years and Tracy Hueppelsheuser, entomologist, Plant and Animal Health Branch with the BC Ministry of Agriculture, noted that 2015 was an even more exceptional year for the persistent pest.
Research has been ongoing to find and approve the tools farmers need to defend crops against SWD with no current biological control recommended by Agrifood BC and few chemical controls. Chemicals listed by the ministry are Delegate WG, Entrust SC, Mako EC and Malathion 85E. Mako and Malathion were both emergency registered for treatment of SWD in 2015, Entrust is OMRI approved for organic production and treatment guidelines for all products are available on the ministry production guide site.
Few tools to choose from means growers must be aware of all possible ways to manage SWD and Hueppelsheuser feels 2015 was a great example of preparedness and action.
“Winter and spring trapping along edges of Fraser Valley raspberry and blueberry fields from December to May has been done for the last five years,” she says. “The winter of 2014 to 2015 was warm and dry, resulting in much less SWD mortality than in previous years. Over this winter and spring, we caught six to nine times more flies than in previous winters.”
Summer was even worse with trapping showing seven to 122 times more flies in blueberry and raspberry fields when compared to previous summers. Hueppelsheuser says the numbers ramped up earlier and were exceptionally high in both summer and winter. Wild fruit saw heavy SWD infestations in 2015 even though previous years saw light infestations in wild fruit.
“The berry industry was bracing for the worst, and I think that was a good thing,” she says. “Growers were therefore more prepared to deal with the pest in a timely and proactive manner.”
This early preparedness combined with the hot, dry summer (SWD thrives in humid environments) allowed the programs of management to be implemented more accurately in terms of spray and harvest schedules. This didn’t necessarily keep SWD out of sight, but it certainly kept it at bay. A far better outcome than anticipated.
Hueppelsheuser is hoping more emergency registrations will be approved for the 2016 season. She encourages growers to stay on top of the activities outlined on the ministry site including traps, elimination of culled and old fruit from all areas, watching host plants in neighboring fields and most importantly is to pick early, clean and often.
“SWD is anything but routine,” she says. “The story has played out differently each of the five years we have had this pest and we would encourage growers to keep up to date with the information available.”
In summary, Heuppelsheuser’s biggest advice can be taken from how the 2015 season played out – anticipate SWD and plan for it to avoid being unprepared.
by Tracy Hueppelsheuser and Susan Smith, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture
Western Corn Rootworm is a major corn pest in the midwest and eastern North America
It causes significant damage by:
First detection in B.C. was confirmed August 10, 2016 in Sumas Prairie.