Insects

Crop damage
Many pests damage the plants by eating the leaves or by sucking the sap out of the plant. Some pests will cause damage to the flowers and/or buds which can result in problems with the fruit produced, while others will actually damage the fruit itself. And then there are those that will eat the plant and the fruit.

Some pests do damage which makes it identifiable, such as the flea beetle which makes tiny round holes in the leaves, others are not so easy like caterpillars and grasshoppers which do similar damage.

Most of the time you will see the pest on the leaf, often on the underside, as they tend to stay around whilst they have a food source.

Some insects are not particular about which plants they feed on. Aphids, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, nematodes, snails and slugs will attack most vegetables. Insects such as caterpillars, mites (not insects but included as pests) and weevils will be more host specific.
Many pests can be found on the underside of leaves. It is a good idea to get into the habit of looking there so you can see them before they do too much damage.

Asparagus

Common pests:

  • Two spotted mites
    Yellow stippling on leaves; webbing, mites mainly on underside of leaves; plants can be stunted and reduced yield.

  • Garden weevil

  • White fringed weevil
    Stems and foliage chewed

Avocado

Avocado trees are also prone to fungal diseases.

Common pests:

  • Mirid bug (Helopeltis) also called tea mosquito- similar damage as that of fruit spotting bug- sunken brown spotting-deformed new growth of leaves.
  • Fruit- spotting bug - sunken brown spotting-deformed new growth of leaves-hard lumps in the fruit.
  • Banana-spotting bug - same as with fruit spotting bug.
  • Queensland fruit fly - fly lays eggs in fruit.
  • Red banded thrips - suck on leaves and fruit.
  • Monolepta beetle - feed on leaves.
  • Swarming leaf beetles - damage new leaf growth and developing fruit.
  • Leaf roller - moth larvae roll leaves and form webbing, feeding on leaves and fruit.
Queensland fruit fly- larvae in fruit
Fruit- spotting bug
Queensland fruit fly- adult
Fruit- spotting bug

Beans

The most common sort of damage in beans is done by insects with sucking and piercing mouthparts.

They attack the pods as they are developing which causes them to become stunted and distorted as they grow. When they attack older pods they leave marks on the surface and the pod is not as succulent. Both the adults and the nymphs do this damage.

Common pests:

  • Aphids - suck stems and bean
  • Bean weevil - larvae in pods
  • Cluster caterpillar - holes in leaves eventually skeletonising them
  • Cutworm - seedlings chopped off at ground level
  • Grasshoppers - leaves chewed
  • Green vegetable bug - beans shrivel and become deformed
  • Leafhoppers - suck stems and leaves
  • Large and small bean bug - beans shrivel and become deformed
  • Looper caterpillar - chew leaves
  • Lucerne flea (springtail - found in cooler climates) - chews leaves
  • Native budworm (caterpillar) - holes in beans
  • Nematodes - attack roots
  • Onion maggot - seedlings die - seeds do not germinate
  • Snails & slugs - holes in leaves-slimy tracks
  • Thrips - pale streaks on leaves
  • Tiger moth- caterpillar - chewed leaves
  • Two-spotted mite - sucking insects-plants stunted-reduced yields
Green vegetable bug
Large brown bean bug
Small brown bean bug
Leaf footed bug
Green vegetable bug
Green stink bug
Green vegetable bug
Aphids
Large brown bean bug
Small brown bean bug
© The State of Queensland, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries 2015
Damage
Leaf footed bug
Damage
Green stink bug
Damage
Damage
Damage
Damage
Damage
Aphids
Damage

Beetroot

Common pests include:

  • Caterpillars: beet webworm - Ragged holes in leaves
  • Garden weevil
  • White fringed weevil - Stems and foliage chewed (adult)

Brassicas

Includes vegetables in the broccoli and cabbage family.

Common pests:

  • African black beetle - seedlings chewed at or below ground level (similar to cutworm)
  • Aphids - pierce and suck new growth
  • Caterpillar - diamondback moth / cabbage white butterfly / cabbage centre grub / cluster caterpillar / cabbage looper / tiger moth - chew on leaves
  • Corn earworm cutworm - seedlings wilting; stems attacked near ground level
  • Grasshoppers - Plants chewed & skeletonised
  • Green vegetable bug -pierce and suck stems and leaves
  • Leafhoppers - Leaves mottled-pierce and suck
  • Snails & slugs - Slimy tracks; holes in leaves
  • Thrips - pierce and suck
  • Rutherglen bug - damages flowers and formation of the heads in cauliflower and broccoli.
  • Vegetable weevil - Stems and foliage chewed (adult and larva)
  • Onion maggot - Seedlings die; seed fail to germinate; maggots at roots, maggots on flower heads
Cabbage white butterfly –larvae (caterpillar) on kale
Caterpillars on tatsoi
Caterpillar on kale
Cutworm- Heliothis caterpillar
Snails on kale leaf, damage looks similar as caterpillar
Cabbage white butterfly- adult
Green semi-looper- larva or the cabbage brown moth
Rutherglen bug damage on broccoli
Green semi-looper- larva or the cabbage brown moth
Rutherglen bug- adult
Cutworm caterpillar – Heliothis virescens
Hollow stems caused by boron deficiency

Carrots

Common pests:

  • Garden weevil / whitefringed weevil - stems and foliage chewed
  • Leafhoppers - hairy roots- stunted growth - pale colour- transmit diseases
  • Nematodes - cause nodules on roots
Nematodes

Citrus

Citrus trees seem to attract a large number of pests.

Common pests:

  • Leaf miner - Phyllocnistis citrella –larvae make tunnels in leaves
  • Fruit fly; queensland fruit fly / mediterranean fruit fly - lays eggs in fruit- sting marks on fruit
  • Caterpillars; orchard swallowtail butterfly / light brown apple moth / native budworm / lemon bud moth - chew leaves
  • Mites: rust mite / two-spotted mite / citrus bud mite - deform fruit- moisture loss in leaves-scarring on fruit
  • Thrips - scarring and pale patches on fruit, especially around the stem
  • Mealy bugs - longtailed / citrus mealy bug (citrophilous) - sucking insects- cause sooty mould-poor fruit quality
  • Citrus aphids - black-attack new growth and blossoms causing deformed flowers and leaves- causes sooty mould
  • Gall wasp - eggs laid in stems causes swellings (galls)
  • Nematodes - attack roots
  • Snails & slugs - holes in leaves, marks on fruit
  • Katydids - type of grasshopper- chews leaves
  • Borers - caterpillar of a moth-bores into the fruit causing rot and fruit drop- scars fruit /  larvae of beetle- tunnel into trunks and branches often ringbarking tree
  • Spined citrus bug - Biprorulus bibax-looks like green vegetable bug with spines on its shoulders-attacks young fruit causing it to drop- in older fruit flesh is dry and brown
  • Weevils - damage fruit and leaves
  • Whiteflies - pierce and suck stems and leaves
  • Monolepta beetle - chews leaves
  • Scales - sucking insects - cause sooty mould-poor fruit quality
  • Bronze orange bug - sucks on developing fruit
Two-spotted mite-silvering of leaves
Bronze orange bug-adult
Bronze orang bug
Bronze orange bug- nymphs
Mite
Pink scale
Black scale
Black citrus aphid
Scale
Monolepta beetle
Long-tailed mealy bug
Citrus leaf miner-larvae chew tunnels in leaf
Caterpillar
Orchard Swallowtail butterfly larva – does not do much damage at all.
Monolepta beetle- adult
Galls caused by wasp laying eggs in stems
Queensland fruit fly lays eggs in fruit, larvae eat the flesh
Sooty mould – caused by the honeydew excreted by aphids, scale and mealy bugs

Cucumbers

Common pests:

  • African black beetle - seedlings chewed at or below ground level.
  • Caterpillars - cucumber moth / cutworm - chew on leaves and fruit / cut stems of seedlings.
  • Grasshoppers - plants chewed or skeletonised.
  • Leaf eating lady beetles - Leaves chewed.
  • Snails & slugs - chew on leaves and fruit.
  • Thrips - white streaks on leaves.
  • Two spotted mites - Yellow stippling on leaves; webbing.
  • Cucumber fruit fly - brown spotting in fruit, eggs laid inside fruit.
Cucumber fruit fly- “sting” marks and distortion on cucumber
26 / 28 spot lady beetle - adult
Cucumber fruit fly- inside larvae will hatch and feed on flesh
26 / 28 spot lady beetle - adult
Cucumber moth larva (caterpillar)

26 / 28 spot lady beetle – larvae
Cutworm- caterpillar of Heliothis virescens
Cutworm- caterpillar of Heliothis virescens
Cucumber fruit fly - adult
Hollow fruit caused by boron deficiency
26 / 28 spot lady beetle - larva

Currants and Gooseberries

Common pests

  • Aphids - suck on leaves and fruit- new growth distorted- cause sooty mould
  • Three lined potato (lema) beetle - chews leaves
  • 26 / 28 spot lady beetle - chews on fruit and leaves
  • Whiteflies - sap sucking
  • Gooseberry sawfly - chew leaves
26 / 28 spot lady beetle on a gooseberry
26 / 28 spot lady beetle – adult
26 / 28 spot lady beetle -larvae

Eggplant

Common pests:

  • Eggfruit caterpillar - Small holes near fruit stalk.
  • Thrips: western flower thrip - scaring on fruit .
  • Two – spotted mites - Yellow stippling on leaves; webbing, mites mainly on underside of leaves; plants can be stunted and reduced yield.
Western flower thrip

Fig tree

Common pests include:

  • Root knot nematode - attack the root
  • Darkling ground beetle - adults feed on the fruit
  • Dried fruit beetle - adults and larvae feed within developing fruit
  • Earwig - minor pest - will feed on fruit
  • Freeman sap beetle - feed on fruit
  • Confused sap beetle - feed on fruit
  • Fig leaf (tree) beetle - skeletonise the leaves
  • Fig blister mite - attack green and ripe fruit - cause the fruit to brown inside
  • Two spotted (spider) mite - attack leaves
  • Fig scale - sucking insects attak young shoots and foliage - transmit viruses - cause sooty mould
  • Fig tree borer - larvae feed on the bark and tunnel into the tree
  • Navel orangeworm - larvae of moth - scarring on fruit and flesh damage (currently not in Australia)
  • Queensland fruit fly - eggs laid in the fruit
Fig tree beetle
Fig tree beetle - adult
Fig tree beetle larvae


Hibiscus - Rosella

Hibiscus seems to get attacked by many insects.

Common pests:

  • Aphids - suck sap from leaves- cause sooty mould
  • Mealy bugs
  • Spider mites
  • Whiteflies - suck sap from leaves- cause sooty mould
  • Hibiscus flower beetle - lays eggs in flower and larvae feed on the petals - like pollen and damage flowers getting to it
  • Mealy bugs - sap suckers
  • Scale - sap suckers
  • Thrips - lay eggs within the flower bud which results in the bugs dropping off
  • Shield (stink) bugs - pierce and suck stems
  • Snails & slugs - chew leaves and flowers
  • Beetles- adults chew leaves - larvae chew roots
  • Pale cotton stainer - pierce and suck stems - damages flowers
  • Cottonseed bug - feeds on seeds
Pale cotton stainer- sucks stems and flowers
Hibiscus flower beetle damages the flowers when getting to the pollen
Pale cotton stainer in a hibiscus flower
Cottonseed bug inside a hibiscus seed pod

Lettuce & Leafy Greens

Common pests:

  • Aphids - suck sap from leaves
  • Caterpillars - chew leaves
  • Grasshoppers - chew leaves
  • Leafhoppers - chew leaves
  • Rutherglen bug - suck sap from leaves
  • Snails and slugs - chew leaves - damage edges of leaves
Caterpillar
Flea beetle
Caterpillar
Grasshopper
Flea beetle 
Grasshopper
Grasshopper
Ducks have taken bites out of lettuce
Snail
Caterpillar
Snail
Flea beetle
Snail
Rutherglen bug
Aphid
Aphid
Aphid
This damage done by the mucus trails of snails

Onion

Includes garlic, spring onions, leeks, chives, garlic chives

Common pests:

  • Onion maggot - Seedlings die; seed fail to germinate; maggots at roots
  • Thrips - White streaks on leaves; tiny insects
  • Wireworm - Seedlings damaged

Peas

Common pests:

  • Garden weevil; white fringe weevil - stems and foliage chewed (adult)
  • Grass hoppers and locusts - Plants chewed or skeletonised
  • Green vegetable bug - sucks the pods and stems
  • Looper caterpillar - attacks foliage
  • Lucerne flea - small irregular patches on leaf, sometimes lower surface;
  • Native budworm - holes in pods
  • Pea weevil - foliage and flowers of flowering peas eaten by adults; larva in green pea seeds.
  • Two-spotted mites - yellow stippling on leaves; webbing, mites mainly on underside of leaves; plants can be stunted and reduced yield.
A bird has neatly taken out the pea from the pod

Peppers

Common pests:

  • Caterpillars - chew leaves and fruit
  • Snails & slugs - will attack fruit as well as leaves
  • Two spotted mites - Yellow stippling on leaves; webbing, mites mainly on underside of leaves; plants can be stunted and reduced yield.
  • Thrips - deform flowers and leaves- scarring on fruit- transmit diseases
Slug on capsicum
Slug on capsicum
Caterpillar on a chilli

Potatoes

Common pests:

  • African black beetle - seedlings chewed at or below ground level -holes in tubers.
  • Garden weevil / White fringed weevil - foliage chewed (adult) and boring into tubers (larva)
  • Grasshoppers - Plants chewed or skeletonised
  • Green vegetable BUG - pierce and suck stems and leaves
  • Leaf eating lady beetles (26 & 28 spot / large leaf eating beetle) leaves skeletonised
  • Leafhoppers - Leaves mottled-pierce and suck
  • Caterpillars - looper caterpillar - attack foliage
  • Potato moth - chews leave; hollows out stems; tunnels into tubers
  • Lucerne flea - small irregular patches on leaf,
  • Snails & slugs - Slimy tracks; holes in leaves
  • Wireworms (larvae of click beetles) - tunnels into tubers
26 or 28 spot lady beetle and/or large leaf eating beetle
26 or 28 spot lady beetle
26 or 28 spot lady beetle and/or large leaf eating beetle
Large leaf-eating lady beetle

Pumpkins

Common pests:

  • Aphids - feed on leaves and young tip growth - transmit diseases - cause sooty mould
  • African black beetle - seedlings chewed at or below ground level
  • Green vegetable bug
  • Pumpkin beetle - chew foliage
  • Cutworm - cuts the seedlings off at ground level
  • 26/28 spotted lady beetle - chews leaves
  • Two spotted mite - sap suckers - cause leaf to shrivel and drop off
  • Thrips - lay eggs in leaves, flower buds and fruit - stunted leaves - scarred and deformed fruit
  • Caterpillar - heliothis - chew leaves, flowers and fruit
Pumpkin beetle
Banded pumpkin beetle
Plain pumpkin beetle

Silverbeet

Common pests:

  • Beet webworm - larvae of a moth - ragged holes in leaves
  • Garden weevil; Whitefringed weevil - adult eats stems, foliage and roots
  • Green vegetable bug - suckers
  • Snails and slugs - chew leaves - trails leave marks on leaves
  • Rutherglen bug
  • Aphids - sap suckers- cause sooty mould - transmit viruses
  • Caterpillar - chew leaves
  • Thrips - transmit diseases - deform and scar leaves
Rutherglen bugs

Strawberries

Common pests:

  • Slugs & snails - chew fruit and leaves
  • Strawberry root weevil - larvae feed on roots- adults feed on the leaves
  • Spittle bugs - nymphs are sap suckers- reduce strawberry size
  • Western flower thrip - larvae and adults damage flowers and fruit
  • Aphids - suck sap from leaves and buds- cause sooty mould - transmit diseases
  • Two spotted mite - deforms fruit, sucks on leaves
  • Cluster caterpillar - chews leaves, flower buds and fruit
  • White curl grub - eats roots
  • Queensland fruit fly - lays eggs in fruit
  • Grasshoppers - leaves chewed
  • Rutherglen bug - damage flowers, fruit and seed - deform fruit - generally don’t do much damage
Caterpillar
Two spotted mite - silvering of the leaves
Slugs and snails - eat the fruit
Two spotted mite - suck the moisture out of leaves
Thrip attack flower bud cause deformities
Two spotted mite
Rutherglen bugs
Frogmouth - caused by irregular watering
Mice pick off the seeds - fruit goes mushy

Sweet Potatoes

Common pests:

  • Weevils - Garden weevil / White fringed weevil / Sweet potato weevil - adults chew on stems and foliage; larvae bore tunnels into tubers
  • Mole crickets - holes in tubers.
  • Sweet potato leaf miner - tunnels into leaf tissue creating tracks
  • Tortoise beetle - chews holes in leaves
  • Flea beetle - chews holes in leaves
Flea beetle / tortoise beetle
Sweet potato weevil
Tortoise beetle
Flea beetle
Mole cricket

Sweet Corn

Common pests:

  • African black beetle - seedling chewed at or below ground level
  • Corn earworm cutworm - holes in leaves and damage to cobs
  • Grasshoppers - plants chewed, leaves skeletonised
  • Green vegetable bug - kernels of corn shrivel

Tomatoes

Tomatoes also get attacked by a wide range of insects.

Common pests:

  • African black beetle - chews young seedlings (like cutworm)
  • Grasshoppers - chew leaves
  • Aphids - suck on new shoots - produce honey dew
  • Caterpillars/ Looper caterpillar / Native budworm - chew on leaves and fruit
  • Cutworms - seedlings - a number of different species of moth produce cutworms
  • Flea beetles - feed on foliage
  • Blister beetles - feed on foliage
  • Leafhoppers - pierce and suck on leaves - transmit diseases
  • Mites / Spider mites (two spotted) / Tomato russet mite - leaf tips - flower buds
  • Nematodes - attack roots
  • Slugs and snails - chew leaves and fruit
  • Whiteflies - pierce and suck stems and leaves
  • Wireworms - attack roots
  • Fruit FLY - lays eggs in fruit
  • Thrips - sap suckers - disease carriers
  • Green vegetable bug - hard spots where it has pierced fruit
  • Leaf eating lady beetles - chew leaves
Queensland fruit fly - sting damage on a tomato
Grasshoppers
Queensland fruit fly damage on tomato
Cutworm
Queensland fruit fly - maggots feed on the flesh
Cutworm
Queensland fruit fly
Aphids
Cutworm - larva of brown moth - Heliothis virescens
Green vegetable bug
Aphids
Green vegetable bug
Green vegetable bug
Splitting caused by irregular watering and if too much rain in a short space of time
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