Beneficial Insects

There are a number of beneficial insects in canola systems. Beneficial insects can be classified as predatory, parasitoid, or pollinator insects. As with small grains production, predatory and parasitoid insects benefit crops by controlling pest insect populations. Unlike small grain production systems, pollinators are an important aspect of canola production.


Boxes next to a field.

Canola is an attractive plant to many types of pollinators such as Honeybees, Bumble bees, Mason bees, and various types of Butterflies and Moths. Beekeepers have been known to bring up hives and place them next to fields. Therefore, if pests rise to levels that require an insecticide application, try to apply insecticides later in the day towards the evening hours or at night when bees are less active, or during the early morning hours before bees start to actively forage.

Extension Bulletins

Cover of Pollinators in Canola in the Inland Pacific Northwest.

Pollinators in Canola in the Inland Pacific Northwest

Pollinators contribute widely to the growth and productivity of crops worldwide. Due to habitat loss, reduced food availability, increased parasite and pathogen pressure, and increased exposure to environmental toxins, these insects are facing steeply declining populations, which is causing global alarm. While a single approach to solving the pollinator crisis is unrealistic, canola grown in the inland Pacific Northwest region of the United States could have a major positive effect on wild bee populations. This region is exceptionally well suited for canola production, and canola provides extensive pollen and nectar food resources to bees. Canola production in the inland Pacific Northwest could aid bees—this region is dominated by cereal crops, which provide no food resources. At the same time, insect pollination from both wild bees and managed honey bees may increase canola seed yields, creating an economic boost for farmers. The aim of this article is to inform growers of the importance of pollinators in the canola growing region of the Inland Pacific Northwest and to provide crop management recommendations to facilitate habitat and food conservation for these pollinators.

Parasitic and Predatory Insects

Honeybee on a canola plant.

As for pollinators, care should be taken anytime an insecticide is to be applied to a crop. Oftentimes, natural enemies such as ladybird beetles, lacewing larvae, syrphid larvae or parasitic wasps can be found feeding on or parasitizing Cabbage aphids or other pests of canola. Insecticide treatments should only be applied if pest levels have reached or surpassed “Action-Thresholds.” Both insect pest and beneficial presence and numbers can be determined through sampling with an insect net or beating tray.

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Samantha Crow
Program Specialist 2