Red turnip beetle: Rare threat

Red turnip beetles eat plants from the brassica family only, and they are sometimes — though rarely — an economic pest in canola.

They move into a canola field from fields sown to canola the previous year and, if necessary, can travel considerable distances to reach a canola crop.

The pest is not a common economic threat, but we know of higher numbers in a small area of central Alberta this year. Red turnip beetles move slowly, completely devouring canola plants as they move toward the centre from the field’s edge. This makes the damage obvious from a distance and also means damage tends to be in a small area. Targeted sprays are often enough, especially if damage is noticed early.

Red turnip beetle