Published: The West Australian Countryman 16 October 2014
A mild winter coupled with a warm dry spring can be factors which impact canola crops in Western Australia.
Invertebrate pests like aphids can be hard to control and require a high level of visual and biological monitoring.
Despite best efforts they can appear to descend on canola crops virtually over night.
But farmers find an unusual ally in the battle against these soft bodied armies in the transverse ladybird (Coccinella transversalis).
Department of Agriculture and Food entomologist Svetlana Micic said surveys have found that the transverse ladybird is the most common species found in canola crops.
In recent years, and with corresponding weather conditions, canola farmers in Western Australia have seen an astronomical rise in the presence of aphids at the time of flowing and podding, impacting bud formation and delaying the onset of flowering, wilting stems, reducing pod sets, and setting off flower abortion.
Typically dense on growing tips, aphids suck the sap out of plants and leave crop yields compromised if unmanaged.