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Insecticides

Insecticides are used to control insect pests such as snout beetles, bertha army worm, cutworm, diamond back moth larvae, and grasshoppers. Usually things like weather, parasites, predators and disease will take care of these nasty critters for the farmer. But when these fail to control populations, the amount of money that the farmer could lose is significant. Chemical insecticides can give the needed additional population control.

Insect infestations do not occur every year and they are often limited in the areas affected. As a result, Alberta farmers use much less insecticide than herbicide. A 1996 report indicated that only 3.7 percent of farms applied insecticide to 300 000 hectares.

Two important insect pests that are responsible for widespread damage and economic loss are the bertha army worm and the grasshopper. Infestations of bertha army worms may be localized (in one area) or spread over hundreds of thousands of hectares of canola, and their populations are different every year. Grasshoppers are mainly grass eaters, so their damage is confined primarily to cereal crops, especially wheat and barley. Grasshopper infestations usually peak in years that have little to no rain.