GFM Network News

This fellow’s ancestors hailed from Serbia, but the Rhinusa pilosa — a.k.a. stem-galling weevil — now makes its home in Alberta and B.C., where it feeds on yellow toadflax, a weed that infests pastures.

There’s foreign workers in the bug world, too — and they attack weeds

Bringing in weed-attacking pests is a laborious process but it’s often the only option for pastures

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are many ways to control weeds. Rose De Clerck-Floate’s favourite is to reunite them with their longtime enemies from the old country. “All of the weeds here can come from other parts of the world, mostly Europe and some from Asia, and establish here without the organisms that keep them in check in their […] Read more

Distinct markings give adult gall flies a rather striking appearance, while their larvae are anything but attractive. But they can do serious damage to a Canada thistle.

Tiny warriors get nasty on Canada thistle

Stem gall flies love to feed on — and breed in — the much-loathed and fast-spreading invasive weed

Reading Time: 2 minutes The West Central Forage Association has another biocontrol that can help you win the war against Canada thistle. The proud warriors are called stem gall flies and they’re available for sale. “The gall flies act on a different portion of the Canada thistle than the weevils do,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture and extension program […] Read more

A sample of some of the wireworms and click beetles found in Alberta.

Seeking options for wireworm control

Crop rotation and biological methods are being studied for managing the persistent pest

Reading Time: 4 minutes No available insecticides can kill them and the one that can at least slow them down may be phased out. But biological control may have promise for managing wireworms, says an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientist who has been researching the pest species. “They especially love cereal crops and food crops like carrots and potatoes […] Read more

The stem-mining weevil larvae live up to their name, burrowing down the length of Canada thistles and feeding on their leaves after becoming adults.

There’s a reason why stem-mining weevils are the priciest livestock in Alberta

The insects are mowing down Canada thistle across the province, and attracting lots of eager buyers

Reading Time: 2 minutes Tens of thousands of weevils have been pouring into Alberta from Montana — and producers are clamouring for more. “It’s a biological control and it’s been going great,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture extension co-ordinator with the West-Central Forage Association. The association began the project to import stem-mining weevils four years ago as a way […] Read more

Website identifies your insect friends

Website identifies your insect friends

WGRF works with Prairie Pest Monitoring Network to develop online and social media sites

Reading Time: < 1 minute Not all heroes wear capes. That’s the message behind a new communications campaign to increase awareness of some unsung heroes — beneficial insects. Recently launched by Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the ‘Field Heroes’ campaign encourages growers and agronomists to consider beneficial insects in crop production recommendations and decisions. “Beneficial insects play a vital pest […] Read more

Learn about the good bugs

Learn about the good bugs

Reading Time: < 1 minute A March 23 workshop will address how biocontrols can fit into an integrated pest management plan to help in greenhouse growing operations. “Biologicals are huge right now in greenhouse production and we’re seeing people introduce them and monitor them carefully for pests but at the same time aren’t quite sure where to take it from […] Read more

Prevention is the best cure when managing greenhouse pests

Prevention is the best cure when managing greenhouse pests

Greenhouse crop growers need to start with clean cuttings, prevent infestations, 
and monitor pest levels to guarantee a successful biocontrol program

Reading Time: 3 minutes For greenhouse crop growers, moving away from chemical pest control to biological controls can be a big investment — but one that’s worth it, if done right. “You have to change your mindset from pesticides to biocontrol,” said Veronica Cervantes, technical adviser at Biobest USA. “The first year you start your biocontrol program is the […] Read more

Pastures are vulnerable to common tansy, which can poison livestock.

This poisonous invader is growing in numbers

Reading Time: < 1 minute Introduced from Europe in the 1600s as an ornamental species, common tansy (sometimes called tangee) has been spotted across central Alberta and its numbers have been on the rise in recent years. The weed is particularly threatening in pasture and riparian habitats, but can also be found in disturbed soils and flower beds. Most livestock […] Read more