Diamondback moth larvae
Courtesy of NDSU

You need to keep an extra eye on your canola because there are pests out and about. The diamondback moth was introduced to North America about 150 years ago from Europe. The larvae feed on all plants in the mustard family, but in Western Canada canola and mustard are its primary targets.

"This is fairly early in the spring, so what this means is the diamond back moth will make it through three complete, and maybe into a forth generation in Alberta this year," explains Scott Meers, an Insect Management Specialist with Alberta Agriculture. "The real risk is that the population will build up to the point we have damaging situations."

The species has been found clear across the prairies. "From the Peace River region all the way out to Manitoba, so they are fairly widespread," Meers says.

The only effective way of controlling the diamondback moth outbreak is to apply an insecticide.  Which insecticide you use will depend on factors like cost, environmental conditions, days to harvest, availability of product, the presence of other pests and the presence of pollinating insects. Meers says the months are relatively easy to control. "We work hard on getting a read on the population early so we can watch it and make sure people aren't caught unaware."

Meers says they are seeing some early reports of cutworms in early seeded crops, so that is something else to watch out for.