This project will generate new knowledge on the pollen beetle, an invasive pest, which will help in making control decisions to reduce the economic impact of this pest on the industry.
The pollen beetle (Brassicogethes viridescens (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae)) is a pest of canola and other brassica crops and can cause serious damage to crops such as B. napus, B. rapa, B. juncea, and B. carinata. It is native to Europe where, along with its sister species Brassicogethes aeneus, it can cause severe yield reduction.
B. viridescens was first identified in 1967 from Nova Scotia; currently it is established in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec. Adults beetles overwinter in leaf litter along the end of fields, spring emerging adults begin colonizing the canola crop as buds start to develop and the females lay eggs within these green buds. Larval feeding within the buds can injure the ovary causing premature flower drop and failure of the bud to produce pods.
Although currently only present in the Maritimes and Quebec, climate models predict its expansion into new areas such as western Canada. Recent research in Canada focused on developing thresholds, life tables and determining insecticide efficacy. Monitoring a crop to determine pest presence, timing of colonization, infestation levels and susceptibility of different canola varieties is essential for making decisions on control actions to be taken.
This project will generate new knowledge on this invasive pest which will help in making control decisions to reduce the economic impact of this pest on the industry. It will support the resiliency of the canola sector by developing tools and accumulating knowledge about this pest before it expands its range into other canola growing regions of Canada. Information generated from this project will be transferred to producers and other stake holders.
The long term goal is to gather as much information as possible about this invasive species which will allow us to mitigate losses and help the canola industry maintain or increase its production target. The information obtained through this work will be useful to support future biological control efforts.
The objectives if this research are to:
1) Evaluate the efficiency of different monitoring techniques to predict damage.
2) Canola variety preference by pollen beetles.
3) Survey fields in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for the presence /absence of pollen beetles. Survey for parasitoids in the Maritimes; an important parasitoid occurs in Scandinavia.