GFM Network News


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

‘We’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to wireworms

Populations are growing and control methods shrinking, says provincial crop specialist

Wireworm damage to field crops is poised to escalate, says a provincial crop specialist. “For several decades, Lindane (Vitavax Dual, etc.) insecticide applied to crops on the Canadian Prairies kept wireworm numbers low,” said Neil Whatley, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre. “Since the ban of this organochlorine pesticide in 2004, wireworm damage in […] 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

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


Scott Meers.

Insect specialist Scott Meers retires

The man known as the ‘bug counter’ is stepping down. In an email he wrote to the Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring network newsletter, Scott Meers said that it has been an honour to work in this role, but it is time to move on. He also stated that he has made the decision independent of […] Read more

Cleaning up spilled grain around a bin eliminates potential breeding sites for pests such as the flat grain beetle.

Expert offers tips for successful crop storage

Keeping out pests and getting rid of excess moisture are key, says provincial crop specialist

A little preparation prior to harvesting can ensure worry-free winter crop storage. “Warm or wet conditions at harvest and multi-staged crops are potential ingredients for storage problems,” said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “Don’t get an unpleasant surprise when selling the grain with discounts or by being rejected for heated grain or insect problems.” Clean […] Read more


Nine pests to watch for if you’re growing flax

Dr. James Tansey, Saskatchewan Agriculture’s insect specialist, reminded farmers at a Saskatchewan Agriculture conference in Weyburn, Sask., that “plants are not a passive part of the environment.” Flax produces poison in the form of cyanogenic glycoside (cyanide) that is toxic to several insects. However, your flax crop may still need some help protecting itself from[...]
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Bertha armyworm.

Keep watch for army worms in fields

The province’s extensive network of bertha army worm traps isn’t sounding any alarm bells yet, but producers should keep watch, says insect management specialist Scott Meers. Results from the traps are posted on the Alberta Agriculture website. If the cumulative count reaches 300 moths, Meers strongly recommends scouting starting in late July and progress through[...]
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The province’s veterinary medical association is urging Albertans to check their pets for ticks. Humans and dogs are more susceptible to Lyme disease, but ticks on cats, dogs, or yourself should be submitted for testing.

Summertime is danger time for ticks

Check for ticks on yourself and your pets, say provincial officials

Authorities are warning Albertans to take the time and check for ticks — on themselves and their pets. The threat isn’t tick bites, but the chance a tick could transmit Lyme disease, said the registrar of the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA). “There have been approximately 100 human cases of Lyme disease reported by Albertans[...]
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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

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[...]
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Five insect pests for Manitoba farmers to watch

Cutworms, grasshoppers, flea beetles and bertha armyworm are all on top of the watch list for 2019, as numbers were higher in 2018. All four overwinter well in Manitoba provided there’s enough insulation for them.

Provincial pest specialist Scott Meers scouting for wheat midge. That pest isn’t expected to be a major
problem this year — bertha army worm, grasshoppers, and wheat stem sawfly are Meers’ top threats.

There’s a time of year when it pays to go looking for a fight

To combat the hordes of bad guys looking for a free meal, you need to plan your attack

Looking for trouble? You should be when it comes to insects that might be a threat to your crops. The “big three” this year are bertha army worm, grasshoppers, and wheat stem sawfly, says provincial pest specialist Scott Meers. But it depends where you farm, so Meers recommends you bookmark the website of the Alberta[...]
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