Pest identification

Knowing the identity of your problem pest is critical to sourcing an effective means of managing the pest. Here we provide guidance and tools to help pest identification, and also potentially develop your diagnostic skills.

What is a pest?

According to FAO’s International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management, a pest is:

“any species, strain or bio-type of plant, animal or pathogenic agent injurious to plants and plant products, materials or environments and includes vectors of parasites or pathogens of human and animal disease and animals causing public health nuisance.”

How to identify a pest problem

Below is a list of key resources which can support your pest identification needs:

To help diagnose your pest problems download this useful general guide from CABI:Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide 
To learn even more, take a self-study course in Crop Pest Diagnosis:CABI Crop Pest Diagnosis Course
For detailed information on your pest problem you can use CABI’s search tool:Plantwise Knowledge Bank Diagnostic Tool
A useful guide to the identification of Aphids from the EU BIOCOMES project can be found and used here:Aphid Identification in Fruit Tree Crops
Another useful tool is the AHDB Encyclopedia of pests and natural enemies:AHDB Encyclopedia of pests and natural enemies
There is also a lot of information on major horticultural diseases on the AHDB website:AHDB Knowledge Library
There is also a quick visual guide to ten major greenhouse pests produced by Biotus:Top 10 Greenhouse Pests

More information on key pests

Other Resources

Learn biocontrol online

The CABI Academy is an online learning platform for users around the globe. Our courses turn the latest research and innovations into practical, action-based resources and learning activities.We partner with world-leading universities, research organisations, and businesses to ensure the learnings from our courses are the most up-to-date and applicable to real life.


Using natural pest control on your coffee crops – what are the benefits and how do you do it? Our guide takes you through the steps from start to finish to help you start using safer pest control.

Pest Management

Storage, handling, timing and method of application of biological based approaches to pest management can be critical in ensuring efficacy of the product. Here you will find a selection of resources that will support you in maximising the impact of these agents in your production system.

Types of biocontrol agents

A better understanding of the range of biocontrol agents and the way in which they interact with the target pest can help in the selection of a suitable agent for your production system, but also provide insight into how they can be more effectively used. Here we provide additional information and resources to provide more information on these novel approaches.

Definition of biocontrol

A more sustainable approach to the management of agricultural and environmental pests is the use of biological control (or biocontrol). Here we briefly explain the definition of biocontrol and the different types of biocontrol methods for managing pest problems.