Are cutworms coming to a field near you? In recent years, cutworm outbreaks in the Prairie Provinces have resulted in thousands of acres of cropland sprayed and hundreds of acres completely lost, not just acres of cereals, but also significant canola acreage, as well as peas, other pulses, and specialty crops. Although the most severe outbreaks have occurred in southern Alberta, the biology of some cutworm species, such as the army cutworm, allows them to appear at outbreak populations in areas where they were not an issue in previous years. One of the most frustrating aspects of the cutworm problem is the unpredictability of their outbreaks. Entomologists from across the Prairies are conducting cutworms surveys and are looking for help. Read more: Cutworm Letter 2014 final draft
Seeing lots of seagulls or crows in a field? This is one potential sign that cutworms are in high numbers in that field. You could also take an extra minute, while checking your seeding depth, to take a look for cutworms and wireworms. Wireworms, unlike cutworms, cannot be effectively managed with a foliar applied insecticide and they are not known to cause major damage to canola.