About this Ute Guide


Through the pictures and decriptions provided in this Ute Guide, the economically damaging pests of crops, pastures and stored grains in Western, south-eastern and northern Australia can be identified. Besides insects, many agricultural pests including mites, molluscs, millipedes and crustaceans have been included in this Ute Guide. Also included are some of the beneficial species that may be seen and some major bio-security pest threats, which we hope will never establish here. Any suspicious findings should be reported to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881.

Use of this Ute Guide will help in reducing confusion, anxiety and inappropriate control. It should result in better management of pests, increased farm profitability and minimum chemical usage.

There are more than 86,000 speciifc of insects described in Australia with still a large number yet to be named or discovered. Less than one percent of known insects are considered economic pests. With no hope of recognising all insects seen in a crop, the aim should be to keep this Ute Guide handy so that the important ones can be easily recognised.

As not all insects found in field crops are in this guide, further adivce may be required before making control or management decisions. Talk to your agronomist or the Department of Agriculture/Primary Industries for more complete information on identification, management and thresholds.

Why is identification important?

  • We need to know if the species present is a pest of is beneficial. Many that are presernt on the plant or in the soil will be of no consequence. Once the insect is correctly identified, appropriate information can be sought regarding its biology, pest status and management.
  • Many pests can look similar and incorrect identification is likely to lead to inappropriate control measures. For example, mite pests such as redlegged earth mite, blue oat, Bryobia and Balaustium mites all respond differently to control measures including rates and types of insecticide.
  • Early identification and detection of exotic pests can allow for successful eradication or containment programs.
  • Changing pest complexes can be recognised early and general awareness and preparedness can be increased.


Each insect common name has its scientific name listed.

Common names can be misleading, as they vary with different languages and between countries or regions. For example, the pest with the preferred common name of spinetailed weevil is also known as cereal curculio in SA and pests known as vegetable weevils in WA are known as false wireworms in SA.

In order to effectively classify organisms (such as plants, animals and fungi), scientists use the same naming system. Every species has two given names: the Generic (genus, always given with a capital letter and sometimes denoted with the first letter e.g. A. mundra is Agrotis mundra) and the specific (species, always lower case). Both are written in italics. The scientific name down to species level is provided in this book where possible. Where the species name is not known with certainty, the genus name is given followed by "sp." for one species and "spp." for more than one species.