Aphid Monitoring Project Update

Thursday, September 12, 2013

1. Spring flight update
It’s been a long time coming but I am going to say that the so-called “spring” flight of strawberry aphid is over. If you look at the green line on the graphs below, which shows the total counts of winged aphids, there are still plenty of winged aphids in the air but it is the red line that shows the numbers of winged “strawberry aphid”, the primary species responsible for spreading the two viruses that are causing our problems. Last week there were no winged strawberry aphids in our Valley/Western traps and we only caught 2 winged strawberry aphids in the Central/Eastern traps. The total flight period for the Valley/Western was from June 10th until August 16th and for Central/Eastern it was from June 17th until August 23rd, the latter region being about a week behind Valley/Western.  The total duration was about 10 weeks in both regions and the peak catch was June 24th – 28th in Valley/Western and July 8th – 12th in Central/Eastern, this time about two weeks difference.

2. Reducing number of monitoring sites
The initial project funding was to monitor aphid numbers on twenty farms across the province through spring and summer. This activity is complete this week and the two project scouts, Bridget Wilson and Matthew Peill, will be returning to their studies at the end of the week. Please thank them if you get a chance because they both did a tremendous job this growing season.

With Bridget and Matthew leaving, the monitoring sites were all to be discontinued; however, Dr. Martin, the virologist from the USDA that we have been consulting with, has indicated that there is often a “fall” flight of aphids that we should monitor for if possible. Donna Crawford (Horticulture Nova Scotia) was successful in sourcing some additional funding for this new activity and we will be maintaining some sites to determine if and when there is a fall flight of strawberry aphid. One biologist was hired to conduct the monitoring and will be based out of Perennia’s Truro office.  If you were a cooperator during the growing season and were identified to continue with fall monitoring, please give Eileen Beaton, the biologist conducting the monitoring, your continued cooperation. For those that will be winding down their sampling this week, please accept my gratitude for your excellent cooperation. In many cases, tedious sampling and trap collection, along with mailing was required on a weekly basis and we all have benefited from your unpaid work. We thank-you sincerely.

3. Sampling of all new plantings
Dr. Martin also recommended that we sample all of our new plantings to assess the success of our aphid management programs this year and provide an insight into what we are looking at for virus disease in 2014. Donna Crawford was equally successful in sourcing funding for this activity and with the help of Department of Agriculture staff we are undertaking this sampling and testing beginning this week. This is a different kind of sampling than employed with your fruiting fields this summer and will tell us not just whether you have virus or not but how much. This is powerful information for you as a grower but also for the decision makers out there. Please give your full cooperation when you receive a call to make an appointment for the sampling. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me by phone or email.