Pest Control

Smoky Lake County supports the management of the agricultural productivity of the municipality by controlling or eradicating of pests and nuisances within its boundaries that may have a detrimental impact on the agricultural sector. Landowners are also accountable for controlling or eradicating pests on their properties. Agriculture Services’ Pest Management Program is legislated by the Agricultural Pests Act.

Agricultural pests and nuisances are defined under the Agricultural Pest Act as any animal, bird, insect, plant or disease which negatively impacts agricultural production.

Smoky Lake County Agricultural Services works to educate producers and landowners on agricultural pests and nuisances, and participates in several provincial initiatives to monitor and control pest levels within the County. Pest Inspectors are appointed by the Agricultural Service Board to carry out the duties of the Agricultural Pest Act.

Photo of a grey and tan rodent with a slightly bushy tail. Richardson Ground Squirrels  Urocitellus richardsonii 

On March 4, 2020 under the authority of the Pest Control Products Act Health Canada has cancelled the registration of all strychnine products used to control Richardson ground squirrels.

Richardson’s Ground Squirrels (commonly known as ‘gophers’) are found in many areas throughout Alberta.

High populations of ground squirrels can create serious problems in rural areas by competing with livestock for forage, destroying food crops, potentially injuring livestock (if they fall into the holes), damage haying equipment due to soil mounds from their burrows and may prey on the eggs and young of ground-nesting birds.

Rozol bait is a registered anti-coagulant poison. Anti-coagulants are available in several grain bait forms, as well as a liquid concentrate that can be mixed with grain. Anti-coagulants do not pose a significant risk to non-target animals. The most effective time to use Rozol is in late March, after the female ground squirrels have come out of hibernation. To be effective, ground squirrels must consume more than one meal over a two- or three-day period. Rozol can be purchased from most farm supply stores.

View this Agri-Facts for more information on Managing Richardson's Ground Squirrels


Beavers  Castor canadensis 

The beaver is Canada’s largest rodent. On average, it can grow to weigh between 16 to 32 kg and measure 60 to 80 cm in length. The beaver has a thick-set body covered with dark, reddish brown fur. They have small front paws and large hind webbed feet. Beavers have a horizontally flattened and paddle-shaped black tail, which has a scaly texture.

Beavers build dams to flood their chosen location, making the area more habitable for themselves. In developing and maintaining their habitat, beavers may remove and damage trees, block watercourses and cause excessive flooding, which can damage roads and infrastructure.

Smoky Lake County does not trap on private land unless it is impacting County infrastructure (road flooding) in which case we will always obtain landowner permission first to go on the land to trap the problem beavers. For beaver issues on private land, ratepayers will need to hire their own trapper at their expense.

Owners or renters of agricultural land which is being flooded by beavers can be compensated $15.00/ tail providing the problem area has FIRST been verified by the Agricultural Fieldman and the application form is completed. Beaver tails from approved problem areas can be turned into the Agricultural Fieldman or Assistant Agricultural Fieldman at the Main County Office.
Please schedule an appointment prior to drop off by calling 780-656-3730. 

Policy Statement No. 62-07-06: Beaver Management Program

Agricultural Decision Matrix Tool for Beaver Management

Human-Wildlife Conflict: Beavers 

Coyotes   Canis latrans 

Coyotes are opportunistic in the farmyard and will consume cats and small dogs. They prefer to hunt in pairs and groups for larger prey, including deer and domestic animals (calves, sheep, llamas, dogs, and cats). They will readily consume insects, reptiles, berries, grain, compost, and barnyard wastes. Coyotes cause over 75% of the predation losses of livestock in Alberta. Livestock producers can prevent or reduce coyote predation with fencing, good herd management, guardian animals, frightening devices and various lethal control methods.

Smoky Lake County handles distribution of 1080 tablets for producers having problems with coyote predation on livestock during calving/ lambing season. 1080 tablets is a meant to be a final option for predation after other livestock management strategies have been tried. Landowners must call the Agriculture Department to set up an appointment to obtain tablets at 780-656-3730.

Coyote Predation of Livestock

Human-Wildlife Conflict- Coyotes

Norway Rat   Rattus norvegicus 

Alberta has maintained a “rat-free status” since 1937 because there are no residential populations of Norway or Roof rats in the province. Any rat infestations are controlled and eradicated. In 2004 the Alberta Research Council determined that Alberta saved $42.2 million/year in economic and environmental damages from invasive rats by maintaining a Provincial Rat Control Program that costs about $300,000 in toxicants and labour each year.

Norway rats pose a significant threat as they reproduce rapidly (in one year a female can have up to 15,000 offspring), can decimate food stores in homes, business or on farms in rapid time and can carry diseases, parasites and pathogens which can directly and indirectly affect human and livestock health.

 In Alberta, muskrats, pocket gophers and richardson ground squirrels are commonly mistaken for rats.

All rat sighting should be reported. If you think you see a rat please safely take a picture, note the location and send the information to:

          Phone: 310-FARM (3276 (your call will then be directed to the correct contact for the Rat Control Program)

Alberta's Rat Control Program

Alberta Invasive Species Fact Sheet- Norway Rat

Wild Boar  Sus scrofa 

Wild boars were introduced to Alberta in the 1980s and ‘90s as livestock species in an effort to diversify agriculture. Over the years many have escaped their enclosures and thanks to their ability to adapt to a wide variety of environments they have been able to thrive as a feral species, causing damage to crops, pastures, property and the environment. Wild boar at large are one of the most damaging invasive species in North America, and should never be approached.

Non-professional (recreational) hunting of wild boar at-large can actually make it harder for organized control efforts. Boar are very smart. Hunting can make them learn quickly to avoid humans, disperse to new locations and become nocturnal.

Report observations of wild boar at large through:  

          EDDMapS Alberta,  by calling 310- FARM or by 
          Phone: 310-FARM (3276)

Squeal on Pigs! Campaign

Alberta Invasive Species Fact Sheet- Feral Pig

Wild Boar at Large