The use patterns and role of insecticide seed treatments, with focus on neonicotinoid insecticides, were examined for canola/oilseed rape production in Canada and the EU. Since nearly all planted canola acres in Western Canada and, historically, a majority of planted oilseed acres in the EU, use seed treatments, it is worth examining whether broad use of insecticidal seed treatments (IST) is compatible with principles of integrated pest management (IPM). The neonicotinoid insecticide (NNI) seed treatment (NNI ST) use pattern has risen due to effective control of several early season insect pests, the most destructive being flea beetles (Phyllotreta sp.
). Negative environmental impact and poor efficacy of foliar applied insecticides on flea beetles led growers to look for better alternatives. Due to their biology, predictive models have been difficult to develop for flea beetles, and, therefore, targeted application of seed treatments, as part of an IPM program, has contributed to grower profitability and overall pollinator success for canola production in Western Canada. Early evidence suggests that the recent restriction on NNI may negatively impact grower profitability and does not appear to be having positive impact on pollinator health. Further investigation on impact of NNI on individual bee vs. hive health need to be conducted. Predictive models for flea beetle emergence/feeding activity in canola/oilseed rape need to be developed, as broad acre deployment of NNI seed treatments may not be sustainable due to concerns about resistance/tolerance in flea beetles and other pest species.
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