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How to identify a pest problem

Theme: Basics of biocontrol

Theme: Integrated pest management

Theme: Pest guides

Knowing the identity of your problem pest is critical to sourcing an effective means of managing the pest. Therefore, 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:PlantwisePlus Knowledge Bank Diagnostic Tool
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
Another tool is COLEAD’s e-library that includes helpful technical and pedagogical guides to pest identification:COLEAD’s library

More information on key pests

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