Economic Thresholds for Insects Attacking Forages

 
 
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 Alfalfa plant bug | Alfalfa weevil | Grasshoppers | Lygus bugs | Pea aphid | Plant bugs | Sweetclover weevil | Red clover thrips | References

Many economic thresholds currently in use are nominal (i.e. unsupported by research). Some economic thresholds have been developed for major pests attacking crops in Western Canada. The following data have been compiled from various sources including the guidelines published by the Western Committee on Crop Pests and are indicative of the threshold recommendations being made.

Alfalfa Plant Bug

Crop
Threshold (37)
Notes
Alfalfa SeedAlberta - Nymph stages 1,2 & 3 cause no economic damage. Nymph stages 4 & 5 or adults: 2 - 3 / 90° sweep.
Saskatchewan & Manitoba - Nymph stages 4 & 5 or adults: 4 / 180° sweep.

Alfalfa Weevil

Crop
Threshold
Notes
Alfalfa Hay-20-30 larvae/sweep for 12% leaf loss
-50-75 larvae/sweep for 30% leaf loss
-56 larvae/stem at peak of larval population for a return on treatment costs.
Alfalfa hay crops (3) (16) (17) (7) -Apply controls when 25-50% of leaves on the upper one-third of the stem show damage (3) or when 50-70% of terminals show injury (7).
Alfalfa SeedAlberta - 20-25 3rd or 4th instar larvae / 90° sweep (37).
Saskatchewan - 20-30 3rd or 4th instar larvae / 180° sweep (37) or 35-50% of foliage tips show feeding damage (24).
Manitoba- Not found.

Grasshoppers

Crop
Threshold (37)
Notes
Alfalfa SeedMore than 12 / m²See also Cereals section.


Lygus Bugs

Crop
Threshold (37)
Notes
Alfalfa SeedAlberta - Nymph stages 1,2 & 3 cause no economic damage. Nymph stages 4 & 5 or adults: 2 - 3 / 90° sweep.
Saskatchewan & Manitoba - Nymph stages 4 & 5 or adults: 8 / 180° sweep.

Pea Aphid

Crop
Threshold
Notes
Alfalfa SeedAlberta - 150 - 200 per 90° sweep (37).1430 aphids/sweep did not reduce the forage yield of alfalfa (18). Caged alfalfa initially infested with 100-200 aphids/plant produced less forage and had lower carotene content than uninfested plants (14).
Saskatchewan & Manitoba 100 - 200 per 180° sweep when dryland crop is noisture-stressed, or until mid August (37).

Plant Bugs

Alfalfa plant bug, Superb plant bug, Lygus bugs, Plagiognathus bug.

Crop
Threshold
Notes
Alfalfa Seed5 nymphs/sweep of any / all species of plant bugs when the alfalfa is in bud or bloom (11) (32) (39).

Sweetclover Weevil

Crop
Threshold (9)
Notes
Seedling1 weevil/5 seedlings in cotyledon stage under slow growing conditions
1 weevil/3 seedlings in cotyledon stage under normal growing conditions
Newly emerged 2nd-year sweetclover9-12 weevils/plant

Red Clover Thrips

Crop
Threshold
Notes
Red Clover SeedDamage insignificant unless 50-80 thrips/raceme are present (10).Threshold levels only occur during years of early spring drought on dryland.

References

1. Anonymous. 1999. Flea Beetle Management for Canola, Rapeseed and Mustard in the Northern Great Plains. Sustainable Agriculture Facts. Growing for Tomorrow.

3. Bereza. 1977. Ontario Agdex. 121(622): 4 pp.

7. Carpenter, G. P. 1970. Alfalfa Weevil Control in Idaho by Early Treatment of the First Crop. Journal of Economic Entomology. 63: 1602-1604.

9. Craig, C. H. 1978. Damage potential of the sweetclover weevil, Sitona cylindricollis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), in the Canadian Prairies. The Canadian Entomologist. 110: 883-889.

10. Craig, C. H. 1987. Unpublished data

11. Craig, C. H. and Lasiuk, W. 1971. Control of plant bugs in alfalfa seed fields. Pesticide Research Report. 167-169.

14. Harper, A. M. and Lilly, C. E. 1966. Effects of the Pea Aphid on Alfalfa in Southern Alberta. Journal of Economic Entomology. 59: 1426-1427.

16. Hastings, E. and Pepper, J. H. 1953. Further Contributions to Alfalfa Weevil Studies. Journal of Economic Entomology. 46: 785-788.

17. Hintz, T. R., Wilson, M. C., and Armbrust, E. J. 1976. Impact of alfalfa weevil larval feeding on the quality and yield of first cutting alfalfa. Journal of Economic Entomology. 69(6): 749-754.

18. Hobbs, G. A., Holmes, N. D., Swailes, G. E., and Church, N. S. 1961. Effect of the Pea Aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harr.) (Homoptera: Aphididae), on Yields of Alfalfa Hay on Irrigated Land. The Canadian Entomologist. 93(9): 801-804.

24. Johansen. 1980. Pacific North West Ext. Publ. 128

32. McMahon. 1950. Rep. B.C. Agron. Assoc. 58.

37. Schaber, B. D. 1992. Insects Infesting Seed Alfalfa in the Prairie Provinces: A Field Guide. Agriculture Canada Publication. Publication No: 1881E: 26 pp.

39. Sorenson, Charles James. Lygus hesperus Knight and Lygus elisus Van Duzee in relation to alfalfa seed production. Bulletin: Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, 284. 1939: 61.
 
 
 
 

Other Documents in the Series

 
  Economic Thresholds for Insects Attacking Cereals and Corn
Economic Thresholds for Insects Attacking Forages - Current Document
Economic Thresholds for Insects Attacking Oilseeds
Economic Thresholds for Insects Attacking Special Crops
 
 
 
 
For more information about the content of this document, contact Scott Meers.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on November 22, 2001.
Last Reviewed/Revised on December 7, 2011.