Swede midge poses threat to Minnesota canola crop

An invasive insect known to infest canola has appeared in the Upper Midwest.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) first identified Swede midge in the Twin Cities area last year, and reports damage to vegetables in Ramsey and Hennepin counties this summer.

MDA entomologist Mark Abrahamson says the small fly effects cruciferous crops like broccoli, cabbage, and canola.

“We haven’t yet seen it in the northwestern part of the state where canola is produced, although it has been found in neighboring Manitoba.  So it is certainly a risk to enter Minnesota and effect our canola production.”

In addition to Manitoba, Swede midge is also found in areas of eastern Canada and the northeastern U.S.

Abrahamson tells Brownfield the pest is difficult to manage.

“We’re still early in the process in terms of dealing with it in this part of the country, so there may be some more things to learn.  But it has been a significant problem.  Although, like I said, so far it hasn’t yet shown up in that part of the state for us here in Minnesota.”

He says MDA has monitored canola fields with traps for a few years, but scouting for Swede midge is challenging because the flies are so tiny.

Abrahamson asks any grower suspecting crop damage from the insect to contact the Department of Agriculture.









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