Skip to main content

Mitigating Pests, Diseases and Weeds

Diseases, insects, vertebrates and invasive plants require active pest management to protect our region's agriculture industry. Disease and pest control guidance is provided by the Agricultural Services team for certain pests listed under the Agricultural Pests Act. This expertise is designed as a counterpart to home-grown prevention management to reduce the potential for problems on a consistent basis.

Some Risks are Greater Than Others

When risks associated with wildlife in urban settings exist, Alberta Fish and Wildlife may be consulted to help producers and property owners deal with wildlife-caused damage.

Crop/Horticultural Pests and Diseases

Black Knot

Black knot (Dibotryon Morbosum) is a prevalent disease in the Canadian prairies, naturally occurring and predominantly affecting trees and shrubs within the Cherry (Prunus) genus. Various species, including ornamental and edible cherries (such as Maydays, Schubert chokecherry, chokecherry, Nanking cherry, pin cherry, sand cherry, sour cherry, etc.), Saskatoon’s,  and plums are susceptible to this disease.

The most distinguishing symptom of Black Knot is the characteristic black, tar-like swellings that develop on branches of the infected plant.


Clubroot is a serious soil-borne disease of canola, mustard and other crops in the cabbage family. Cole crop vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, radish, rutabaga and turnip, are susceptible to clubroot, as are many cruciferous weeds, for example, wild mustard, stinkweed and shepherd's purse.

Visit the Government of Alberta website to find out about this damaging crop disease, how producers can prevent it, and what government is doing to manage it in Alberta.

Colorado Potato Beetle

Colorado Potato Beetles (CPB) have challenged the world’s potato industry for decades. In production areas where these pests do not exist, producers and governments strive to maintain a CPB-free status. Where they do exist, CPBs cause crop losses and increase production costs.

Poplar Borer

The Poplar Borer (Saperda Calcarata Say) is a native North American wood boring beetle that attack native aspen, balsam poplar and willows. Poplar borer beetle also attack a variety of poplar cultivars including Swedish aspen and Towering Poplar. It is one of the most common insect for Swedish aspen and Towering poplar in urban area.

Many Swedish aspen and Towering poplar trees have been planted in urban areas that besides their short life span, susceptibility to drought and bronze leaves disease (BLD) are also frequently attacked by this insect.

These fast-growing trees are planted along property fences, roads, driveways,  on limited spaces and anywhere to create a “ living wall” for private screens to separate their properties from others.  Like other tree species these aspen/poplars are susceptible to many insects and diseases.

Vertebrate Pests and Nuisances

Alberta's Rat Control Program

Albertans have enjoyed living without the menace of rats since 1950 when the Rat Control Program was established. Alberta’s rat-free status means there is no resident population of rats and they are not allowed to establish themselves. It does not mean we never get rats. Small infestations occasionally occur, but when found, the rats are isolated and eradicated through proven control methods.

Find out how we keep Alberta rat-free and what you can do to help.

Skunks and Rabies
  • Skunks can carry rabies, although there are very few rabid skunks in Alberta.
  • Any skunk that is active in the daytime, unusually aggressive or approaches people and other animals without fear should be avoided.
  • In the later stages of rabies infections, skunks may wander, be listless and docile, and have head or body tremors.
  • If you see such behaviour in a skunk, bring in children and pets then notify the nearest Fish and Wildlife office or municipal animal control organization.
  • Keep your pet's rabies vaccinations up to date, especially if it is allowed to roam.


Learn more to help manage conflicts with skunks:

Download in-depth information about skunk control from The Handbook: Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage, published by the University of Nebraska:

Wild Boar

When not being raised as livestock, wild boar are considered to be ‘at large.’ In Alberta, wild boar are an invasive species and a provincially regulated agricultural pest when at large. They can damage property, agricultural crops, pastures and the environment, and are known to endanger people and animals.

Under the Agricultural Pests Act and Pest and Nuisance Control Regulation, landowners are required to control or destroy pests and prevent them from becoming established on their land. In addition, you can help by learning to recognize signs of their activity, and reporting sightings of wild boar at large.

Report Wild Boar

If you see wild boar at large, or signs of wild boar activity:

  1. Safely take a picture.
  2. Note the location.
  3. Fill in our online reporting form:

Each year, the MD conducts a proactive inspection program to promote best management practices to minimize the spread of clubroot.

Ih clubroot 01

All canola fields and fields found with volunteer canola will be inspected for clubroot. Fields known to have clubroot from previous years will be inspected and monitored to ensure that the disease is being controlled. Inspections will take place in August and October. 

The MD's policy is to identify the disease in croplands as to limit the spread and establishment of clubroot within its municipal boundary. We promote the best management practices following recommendations provided under the Alberta Clubroot Management Plan. A notice will be issued under the Alberta Agricultural Pests Act when Clubroot is identified. 

to Top