Pest Management

T: 780-322-3831 | F: 780-322-3000 | Email:
Address: 10203 - 101 Avenue (Railway), Nampa AB, T0H 2R0


Pests in Alberta

The Agricultural Pest Act provides authority for the Minister to declare as a pest or nuisance any animal, bird, insect, plant or disease which negatively impacts the environment and/or agricultural production.

Legislation enables inspectors and local authorities to deal with these Pests & Nuisances.

Northern Sunrise County is responsible for protecting the agricultural productivity of the municipality by controlling native and introduced pests.

Landowners are accountable for controlling pests on their properties.

The Agricultural Pest Act directs that declared Agricultural Pests must be controlled, while Agricultural Nuisances may be controlled.

Examples of pests in the County are:

  • Clubroot of Canola - not present currently in the County, but is monitored
  • Virulent Blackleg of Canola
  • Fusarium Head Blight (Graminearum)
  • Grasshoppers
  • Norway Rat (Alberta is a rat free Province!  What does this mean: there is no resident population of rats in Alberta.  They are not allowed to establish themselves in this Province.  It does not mean that we never get rats.  Occasionally small infestations are found in Alberta.  The difference is that when found, the rats are isolated and eradicated through proven control methods).

Examples of nuisances in the County are:

  • Coyotes
  • Richardson's Ground Squirrel
  • Skunks

Plan to scout for crop pests?

Early detection of harmful crop pests allows producers an opportunity to utilize available control measures or plan rotations to manage outbreaks.

Most disease pests may be prevented or limited by lengthening crop rotations - shortened rotations dramatically increase the risk of infection.

The Agricultural Pest Act has listed a number of pests which must be controlled, and properties in Northern Sunrise County will be inspected for these pests as well.

Lets start scouting for cutworms now!

For many, seed isn't even in the ground yet, but the cutworms are ready for it when it is. So the time to start scouting for cutworms is now! Even if it is too wet to seed, consider checking volunteer plants for cutworms or feeding damage. General cutworm monitoring protocols can be found on the Monitoring Protocols page. Species-specific protocols can be found in the new Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies.

There are over 20 cutworm species that may cause economic damage to your crop, each with different feeding behaviour, preferred hosts and lifecycle. This is why species identification is so important: it helps growers understand what they are up against: determining how and when to scout, knowing whether the cutworm species is found above-ground (climbing) or below-ground, recognizing damage, choosing control options. Species also impacts the most appropriate time of day for monitoring and applying controls.

Action and economic thresholds do exist for many of the cutworm species - please use them. This will help control costs by eliminating unnecessary sprays and reducing the impact on non-targeted insects - insects that are natural cutworm enemies.

This week's Insect of the Week is the Pale Western Cutworm. This is a below-ground feeder. Larvae hatch in late April/early May. As they feed on/tunnel through shoots as they pass through the soil, young larvae produce holes on newly-emerged shoots and furled leaves . Older larvae will sever plants just below the soil surface and may pull and eat the severed shoots underground.

To download the new, full colour Cutworm Pests of Crops on the Canadian Prairies, go the Cutworm Corner page.

Common Crop Pests

Below are some examples of crop pests that cause the greatest concern locally:

Virulent Blackleg of Canola

Fungal canker / dry rot disease of growing crop, causing girdling and lodging.  Heavily infested crops can result in major yield loss and grade reductions.  Spreads by seeds and spores. Yes it never left!

Clubroot of Canola

Soil born plant pathogen disease.  Clubroot alters hormone balance, resulting in galls.  Spread by spore infected soils.  May decimate up to 80% of yield, and reduce marketing options.  Planting a Clubroot tolerant variety will further delay the spread of this disease.

Grasshoppers of various species

May cause serious damage and yield loss to both forages and annual crops and should be closely monitored.  If we don't get good rain in late May - early June, start scouting!

2017 Grasshopper Forecast Map The risk of economically significant grasshopper populations in 2017 has decreased in all areas of Alberta with the exception of southern Alberta. [GOA 2017 Grasshopper Forecast]

Fusarium Graminearum of cereal crops and corn

This disease contains mycotoxins which are toxic to animals.  May reduce yields and can seriously limit marketing options, due to the toxins present in infected seed.
The Alberta Fusarium Graminearum Management Plan recommends that all seeds sent to facilities for cleaning be tested prior to delivery to avoid contaminating the plant and other seed lots.

Fusarium is a serious cereal disease that has been spreading across Alberta.  Learn how to manage it.

STOP Fusarium Before it Stops You!

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Fusarium Management - Alberta Agriculture

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Did you know? 

Northern Sunrise County offers financial assistance for lab analysis of Fusarium Graminearum.  Please call for details.

The County supports the testing of all cereal seed prior to delivery to the seed cleaning facility, and has agreed to subsidize a portion of testing costs.  This simple measure may help to prevent Fusarium Graminearum from becoming more established in the area.
  • Purchasing Blackleg resistant varieties does not mean the plant isn't susceptible to the fungus.  These varieties are very tolerant, not resistant, which means the plants can still get infected.
  • Cutting a Canola plant at the crown can help detect internal infection of Virulent Blackleg.
  • Pressure washing equipment with 1 - 2 % bleach solution can greatly reduce risk of spreading Clubroot.  EcoClear or HyperOx can also be effectively used.

Common Nuisances

Below are expamples of local nuisances that cause the greatest concern:


Coyotes cause over 75 percent of the predation losses of livestock in Alberta. The coyote is the most numerous of the dog family in Alberta.  In comparison to Alberta's other native wild dog species, the coyote is smaller in size than the grey wolf, but larger than the red fox.  They are highly adaptable, and can be found in all terrestrial habitats in Alberta.  The majority of coyotes in Alberta are found in agricultural areas, where rodents, and other small animals including pocket gophers, ground squirrels, rabbits, hares and mice, constitute most of their food supply.  Most of the rest of their food, especially during winter, comes from scavenging livestock and other animal carcasses.  They are opportunistic predators, usually attacking the easiest prey. Any coyote has the potential to kill livestock, but only some do.

Richardson's Ground Squirrel

Commonly called the prairie gopher, yellow gopher, flicker tail or picket pin.  Ground squirrels play an important role in the ecology of Alberta's wildlife.  They are a major source of food for many predatory birds, mammals and reptiles.  It is the most common ground squirrel of the five species found in Alberta.  They spend the majority of their life underground.  They eat a wide variety of food, most prefer succulent green vegetation such as grasses, forbs, young shrubs and seeds.  Damage caused by Richardson's ground squirrels range from causing an occasional headache for some to a significant loss of crop production to others.


Skunks are not protected by law in Alberta.  The Agricultural Pests Act declares the skunk as a nuisance.  Skunks are nocturnal animals, active and feeding during night hours.  They eat many harmful insects and rodents but also prey on eggs and young of waterfowl and other ground-nesting birds.  They sometimes cause problems in bee yards by feeding on bees as they emerge from the hive.  They also occasionally prey on farm poultry and eggs.

Pest vs. Nuisances

The difference between a pest and a nuisance is the method in which they are controlled.  A pest shall be eradicated and a nuisance is to be controlled.

A complete list of Pests and Nuisances is available under sections 2 and 3 or the Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation.

An "animal" or "bird" does not include:
  • big game
  • a bird of prey
  • a game bird
  • or an endangered animal

As a landowner how does this affect you?

We all have a vested interest in controlling crop pests, and all landowners are responsible for taking action to ensure spread is controlled and does not increase.

Spread will continue unless we collectively make a concerted effort to control them.  Integrated management control work by all landowners is the most effective way to stop the spread of crop  pests.

Let Us Help

Pest control can be a daunting task.  Northern Sunrise County recognizes this, which is why we have put a few programs in place to assist landowners.
Authorization Release
A release from the landowner that permits the County to relay information about the property to their renter / leaseholder.

Bran Bait Release
The Grasshopper Management Program was developed to address high levels of grasshopper infestations by applying Bran Bait in Municipal Right-of-Ways adjacent to the affected crop(s).  Applications of Bran Bait shall be conducted by annual request, priority of application shall be determined by level of grasshopper infestation, as budget permits.

Forms Worth Completing
Authorization to relay Information to current renters / leaseholders 
Grasshopper Management Program


Pest Inspection Report


Once a property has been inspected a report is made.

This report includes:

  • Property owner
  • Legal land description
  • Inspection notes
  • Findings of pests if applicable
Pest location(s) are marked out with orange plygon(s) (shape) which is then displayed on the report map.


Agricultural Reports

Click on the links below to be redirected to reports
Crop   Pest
2017 - Alberta Crop Reports  
2017 - Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network
    2017 - Prairie Pest Monitoring Newwork

Crop and Insect Pest and Weed reports are generated from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Alberta Insect Pest Monitoring Network, Prairie Pest Monitoring Network.