Elisabeth Hodgdon is a PhD student studying swede midge, an invasive pest of canola and cruciferous vegetables, at the University of Vermont. Her advisor, Dr. Yolanda Chen, and Hodgdon are conducting an online survey of vegetable growers in the northeastern U.S. and Canada this spring to document where economic losses due to swede midge are occurring, how growers are managing this pest, and if growers are willing to try new alternatives to insecticides for swede midge management.
“This is a great opportunity for Ontario Brassica growers to help shape future research on Swede midge control and management strategies,” says Travis Cranmer, a vegetable specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The survey also includes economic information, such as how much growers typically spend on crucifer pest management and how much they would be willing to spend on effective swede midge management strategies.
“Our research group's goal is to develop new pest management techniques for swede midge that are effective and economically feasible for vegetable growers,” says Hodgdon. “We will use the survey data to help guide our research efforts so that we are better able to serve the needs of growers in our region. We collaborate with researchers at the University of Guelph and at the Institut de Recherche et de Développement en Agroenvironnement (IRDA) in Quebec. As such, we are interested in better understanding the willingness of Canadian growers to adopt new pest management practices as well.”
Swede midge, now present in several states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada, causes deformed leaves, scarred stems, and lack of head formation in broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and other related crops. Here are some sample questions:
· How many acres of cruciferous vegetables you produce
· How much you’ve lost due to swede midge
· What do you do to manage your insect pests
· How much you budget for insect pest management