Insecticide susceptibility and resistance monitoring of flea beetles in canola

Project Details

Status: Completed
Investment: $147,470
Commodity: Canola
Organization: University of Alberta
Investigator: Boyd Mori

Flea beetles cause an estimated >$300M in losses annually on the prairies. Without insecticides as part of the integrated pest management program, canola may become less of the economic driver it is today.

Why is this research important for Alberta ag?

Crucifer and striped flea beetles are chronic pests of canola grown on the Prairies. In order to manage them, almost all canola is grown from neonicotinoid-treated seed. Even with seed treatment, unacceptable losses can still require foliar insecticide application. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency in Canada is currently re-assessing the use of neonicotinoids. If neonicotinoid insecticides are removed from the market, farmers will have limited seed treatment options and may have to further resort to foliar insecticide applications.

Previously, striped flea beetles were found to be less susceptible to neonicotinoids and have higher tolerance to cold temperatures and soil moisture compared to crucifer flea beetles. These differences in flea beetle biology and physiology may impact current and future pest management strategies.

This research will use laboratory bioassays and genomic approaches to explore the impact of insecticides on flea beetles. The susceptibility of flea beetles to neonicotinoid seed treatments will be measured to determine if susceptibility of either species has changes since wide-scale neonicotinoid adoption. Additionally, the susceptibility of foliar pyrethroid insecticides and three new seed treatments will be measured to obtain baseline data. Finally, sequencing of genomes and transcriptomes of both flea beetles will be done to investigate the underlying genetic architecture which may contribute to differences in insecticide susceptibility.

What benefits can producers expect from this research?

Providing baseline data on insecticide resistance from different regions will provide both farmers and industry with the information they need to successfully navigate the changing landscape of chemical pest management.

Pyrethroid and non-neonicotinoid seed treatment susceptibility data will also give farmers confidence in their choice of product. Results on the mechanisms of resistance to neonicotinoids will be useful to the chemical industry as they work towards developing new modes of action for insecticides.

How will these research findings reach producers on-farm?

Results will be provided to Alberta Canola Producers Commission and the Canola Council of Canada for distribution and for region-specific reports. Findings will also be presented at regional and national meetings, such as the Agronomy Update, CropSphere, and Canola Discovery Forum.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.