Red insects: Turnip beetle and some Lygaeidae

Red turnip beetles are eating large patches in a few fields in central Alberta. (See the photos below.)

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.

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 beetles are not common but can do a lot of damage when they show up. Credit: Keith Gabert

Red turnip beetle damage in a patch of canola near Camrose, Alberta. Credit: Keith Gabert

Little red bugs

Little red bugs seem to be causing some damage in canola fields, particularly in southern Saskatchewan but maybe elsewhere as well. Insect ID experts have narrowed it down to the Lygaeidae family. Is damage worth spraying? Is spray even effective? We don’t know yet. Read more in the Prairie Pest Monitoring Network blog.