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Invasive Plant Program

Adventive Biocontrol Agents

Adventive biological control agents are those that have arrived in BC by their own means. There are several scenarios for adventive agents in BC:

  1. Agents have arrived accidently in North America from overseas without screening research and have made their way into BC.
  2. Agents may be screened, approved and purposely imported into the United States (USA) and have thereafter made their way into BC;
  3. Agents may be screened, approved with a CFIA permit, and purposely imported into another province in Canada and have thereafter made their way to BC. These latter agents have been approved for Canada and are, therefore, deemed safe for release anywhere in the country. However, there are considerations regarding moving the agents between eco-zones that would require addressing on a case by case basis.

The collectability of adventive agents already known to exist in the province is included in the Summary of Agents in BC. However, upon finding a new adventive agent on an invasive plant species in Canada, weed biocontrol scientists or taxonomic experts should be consulted to first verify the identity of the organism and determine from where it possibly came. BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNR) staff facilitate these activities for adventive agents found in BC. If an adventive agent is found in the province, provide a live specimen, if possible, or a preserved specimen, either correctly pinned or stored in 70% alcohol, to FLNR Invasive Plant Program staff. The recommended procedure for preserving an insect can be found in the publication The Insects and Arachnids of Canada Part 1, posted on the Entomological Society of Canada web site. Once the identity has been confirmed, the decision on whether redistribution of an adventive agent should occur will be done on a case by case basis.

An adventive agent to BC that has been approved for Canada (i.e. released in a different province) can be redistributed, however, its identity should be confirmed.

An adventive agent that has been approved for release in the USA, or has accidentally arrived in North America but has been present for some time, can be redistributed within Canada if it is known from either the literature or prior host-specificity test results to be safe to use (i.e. with respect to its recorded host range), and then only if the intended distribution area is within the same eco-zone as where it was found. If these conditions are in question, additional host specificity testing by scientists and petitioning of CFIA for release of the agent in Canada may be required.
Movement of adventive agents between eco-zones within Canada that are already approved for use in the USA may involve less or no additional testing if Canadian plants of concern were addressed in the American testing of the agent and if no reports indicate that non-target damage after use occurred. Movement of agents already in Canada is addressed by recommendations/regulations arising from the Canadian Plant Protection Act. However, replicating adventive (or even native) agents to higher numbers prior to release into the field is covered under and may be in violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, under New Substances Notification regulations.

Consult with FLNR Invasive Plant Program staff prior to redistributing new or unfamiliar adventive agents.


"Healthy, functioning BC ecosystems, free of the impacts of invasive plants."