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Detection, identification and control strategies for management of cutworms (Noctuidae) on the prairie provinces

Lead Researcher Kevin Floate
Co-Researcher(s) Chrystel Olivier, Jennifer Otani, Jeremy Hummel, Jim Broatch, Martin Erlandson, Maya Eveden, Rob Laird
Start Date April 2012
End Date March 2015
Funding Partners Manitoba Canola Growers, SaskCanola
Status Complete

The Challenge

Currently, there is no readily available and comprehensive cutworm document for farmers or industry members to reference when faced with management issues. Crop losses can approach 100% during outbreaks and the adoption of integrated pest management systems are essential to sustainable canola production.

The Project

Create a rapid and accurate molecular method (multiplex-PCR) to identify cutworm species. Cutworms can be difficult to identify, especially at the early larval instars which is the stage that is required to implement effective control methods. In conjunction with cutworm surveys, the role of natural enemies will be identified. A review of past literature, along with key findings from this project, will be summarized and made available to canola producers.

The Result

Along with the development of a multiplex PCR protocol, 1 new parasitic wasp was discovered. 20% of cutworm larvae that were collected over three years throughout Alberta reared parasitoids. These included three species of flies and 13 species of wasps. The use of fertilizer increased larval development time and weight. Different species favoured different crops for development.

Grower Benefit

With this in-depth research on cutworms, farmers now have a comprehensive source to reference when presented with an outbreak and implement an integrated pest management approach. Overall levels of canola production and quality will continue to increase, the effects on natural enemies will be minimized, and inputs of non-renewable resources will be reduced or maintained.


* this project was extended to 2017

Keywords: Cutworms, Cutworm, Noctuidae, Insect Management, Cutworm Management

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