by SUSAN MANN
A national working group of horticultural industry and government representatives is being set up to develop a plan for combating two new Asian invasive insects – the brown marmorated stink bug and the spotted wing drosophila.
Charles Stevens, the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association’s crop protection section chair and a representative on the Canadian Horticultural Council’s crop, plant protection and environment committee, says there are very limited controls for these insects because they’re relatively new. In addition, the marmorated stink bug is hard to kill.
Through the group, industry and government representatives will know what work is currently underway so there isn’t duplication. The group will also develop an agenda on what has to be done and a timeline. It may take a year or two “to come up with a game plan,” he says.
The group isn’t just looking at chemicals but will also be studying biological controls. “The idea is try to find new methods that don’t screw up our Integrated Pest Management,” he says.
The horticultural council and the Pest Management Centre are leading the national working group’s formation. Other representatives on it will include: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, provincial specialists and researchers, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency, IR-4 (the American minor use program), CropLife Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and researchers from the Untied States.
Stevens says this is a Canadian group but he hopes it will bring in American experts to help since these two pests showed up in the United States before coming to Canada.
The spotted wing drosophila attacks berry crops with blueberries and raspberries being at the highest risk along with stone fruits and any other thin-skinned fruit. The Ontario agriculture ministry monitored it at more than 65 sites in 16 counties last year. The pest was detected in 12 counties at more than 50 per cent of the monitored sites. With industry support, the agriculture ministry will continue monitoring this year, it says on the ministry’s website.
There is also a monitoring network for the brown marmorated stink bug in Ontario. Stevens says this pest is very prevalent in Pennsylvania with one person “talking about shoveling them off the walkway.”
Steven says the stink bug has the potential of attacking 300 different crops, including soybeans, tender fruits and vegetables. This major pest has been found in Hamilton “but they have yet to find them, as far as I know, in an actual orchard or corn field.” BF