Insect identification

Small and often highly mobile, insects and other arthropods can be difficult to identify in the field.

Correct identification is essential when planning a management strategy, as not everything that is found when sampling a crop is causing economic damage. Mistaking beneficial insects for pests can result in both an unnecessary application of pesticide (wasting time and money), and the potential reduction of natural predation or parasitism, increasing the possibility of an actual pest outbreak.

Several useful insect identification publications are also listed on the publications and links pages.

Images available in this section:

  • Aphids – examples of some of the aphids found in broad acre systems
  • Helicoverpa – examples of life stages, colour variation and natural enemy impact
  • Podsucking bugs – images of the different life stages of podsucking bug species
  • Mirids – examples of life stages of common mirid and mirid-like species
  • Predatory bugsexamples of some of the beneficial bug species
  • Predatory beetles – examples of some of the beneficial beetle species (including ladybird adults)
  • Ladybird stages – final stage instars, pupae and adults for common ladybird species
  • Eggs – examples of eggs of both pests and beneficials
  • Commonly confused – examples of insects that are often mistaken for each other.