This project examined the relationship between the diversity and abundance of beneficial insects and canola production in Western Canada. Specifically, it addressed the role of natural habitats near canola fields provide as reservoirs for pollinators and natural enemies of canola pests, and the effect on canola yield.
For this final year of the project, researchers focused on ground-dwelling beneficial arthropods, which may be important predators of crop pests. Species examined included two wolf spiders, a carabid beetle, and a harvestman. Natural habitats within and near fields appear to function as reservoirs, and therefore may help maintain populations of natural enemies. A second phase of the network has begun. It advances the yield-related objectives piloted in this project and aims to measure the contribution of natural habitats that support beneficial arthropods to canola yields in the surrounding fields.