GFM Network News


Wheat midge is an “insidious” thief of both yield and quality, says entomologist Tyler Wist, seen here demonstrating how to sweep for the pest.

Keep watch for wheat midge this growing season

This silent killer is a ‘big bad’ threat and may be out in force in some areas this year

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ask any wheat farmer about orange blossom wheat midge and they may tell you it’s the ‘big bad’ of crop insects and comparable to fusarium in terms of pure destructive power. “It’s kind of insidious,” said AgCanada entomologist Tyler Wist. “Often if you’re not out looking for it you don’t even know it’s there. Then […] Read more

While there are some spots with increased levels of sawfly damage, a survey done in the fall found levels lower than those during the outbreaks of the early 2000s. The black dots show locations where zero sawfly damage was found.

Wheat stem sawfly survey finds some hot spots in southern Alberta

Populations of the pest seem low in most areas, but some fields had moderate or high damage

Reading Time: 2 minutes Populations of wheat stem sawfly are increasing in parts of southern Alberta, the latest provincial survey has found. The survey, conducted in the fall, found increased levels of sawfly damage in Forty Mile County. However, sawfly numbers seem to have declined in Willow Creek and Vulcan Counties, but that might just be a reflection of […] Read more


Insecticide-resistant alfalfa weevils have been found in some fields in southern Alberta.

Resistant insect populations growing in southern Alberta

Insecticide-resistant alfalfa weevils are cropping up in alfalfa seed-growing regions, and beneficial bugs may be the answer

Reading Time: 3 minutes Insecticide-resistant insects have flown under the radar on the Canadian Prairies — but researchers are keeping an eye on a growing population of them in southern Alberta. “We don’t have very many insects that are resistant to insecticides here on the Prairies, so luckily, it’s not that widespread of an issue,” said Boyd Mori, researcher […] Read more

Diamondback moths typically arrive in early spring after being carried by wind currents from the U.S. or even northern Mexico. Their larvae will feed on canola and mustard.

Crop pest survey tools up and running

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network has “live feed maps” up and running for the province. The maps show results from traps around the province set up and overseen by co-operator farmers. As co-operators post results from the traps, they are posted immediately to the map. The five insects covered by these maps are bertha […] Read more


More farmers are requesting permits to use pesticides to kill grain beetles in their bins. But the fumigant Phostoxin doesn’t work when temperatures are below 12 C.

Grain beetles on the rise after wet harvest

Requests for pesticide certificates are up, likely because more grain is being turned away at elevators

Reading Time: 2 minutes Farmers are finding more grain beetles and that has provincial ag officials fielding more requests for renewals or issuing new certificates under the Farmer Pesticide Certificate Program. “We see it almost every year in southern Alberta, but it’s creeping up to central Alberta, too,” said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “After the very difficult harvest, […] Read more

Boyd Mori.

New insect expert introduces himself and advises on key pests for 2020

Cabbage seed pod weevils, bertha army worms and pea leaf weevils the insects to watch for in 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes The province has gained one new entomologist but has lost its best-known bug specialist. Boyd Mori, a new assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s agriculture department, paid tribute to provincial insect management specialist Scott Meers in his presentation at FarmTech — and urged his audience to lobby the government for a replacement. “Scott Meers […] Read more


Aphids on winter wheat leaf.

Smartphone app for aphid control in cereal crops

Reading Time: < 1 minute Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has released a smartphone app called the Cereal Aphid Manager to help producers control the pest. Producers count both aphids and beneficials that eat them (at a minimum of five locations), and the app predicts what the aphid population will be in seven days and recommends whether to spray or not. […] Read more

The rusty grain beetle is ranked as the No. 1 pest most often found 
in stored grain.

Grain beetles appear to be on the rise this winter

A jump in inquiries about pesticide certificate program is a sign that grain pests are an issue, says crops specialist

Reading Time: 2 minutes Provincial officials have been fielding more requests this winter for the Farmer Pesticide Certificate Program for renewals or issuing new certificates, and grain beetles are the reason why. “We see it almost every year in southern Alberta, but it’s creeping up to central Alberta, too,” said crop specialist Harry Brook. “That is telling me that people are […] Read more


The extreme cold that gripped Alberta last month will kill some pests, as long as they don’t have a nice blanket of snow to protect them.

There could be some gain from the bone-chilling pain

Record cold temperatures provide silver lining by killing off bertha army worms and alfalfa weevils

Reading Time: 2 minutes Last month’s cold weather snap could pay some dividends for crop producers. “It could be good news. The bad news is that we got snow at the beginning of it, so snow tends to insulate,” said Scott Meers, insect pest management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. The deep freeze gripped the entire province, with […] Read more

Pea leaf weevil.

Pea leaf weevils an issue in 2018

Reading Time: < 1 minute Three insect forecast maps are now available at the Alberta Agriculture website. Wheat stem sawfly and wheat midge forecasts help producers make varietal decisions, said insect management specialist Scott Meers, adding, “we’ve also released the pea leaf weevil maps early because a lot of producers are seed treating for that pest.” Pea leaf weevils are […] Read more