A snapshot of our insect identification workshops 

Haven’t had the chance to attend one of our insect identification workshops yet? 

The good news is we are scheduled to run two more before March 2024. 

If you are thinking of attending, here’s a sneak peek at how the day runs and your chance to have a say about the next workshop locations and dates.

Workshop aims

Caterpillars are one of the most easily recognisable insect forms. The common name for the immature, larval stage of a moth or butterfly, most of us can spot a caterpillar when we see one, and from an early age are taught about their transformation into winged adults. 

But have you ever wondered what defines a caterpillar and what makes them different from the larval stage of a beetle or a fly for example? 

Or why aren’t spiders or mites actually insects? 

Or how can you tell if a beetle will eat your pests or your crop?

As part of the GRDC-funded project IPMforGrains we’ve been running a series of insect identification workshops in Victoria and southern NSW. These are the type of fundamental questions of entomology that the classes begin with, before focusing on key pests and beneficial invertebrates found in broadacre winter grains crops. 

Workshop participant identifying a mystery caterpillar. Photo by Lilia Jenkins, Cesar Australia

Workshop curriculum

Our workshops are a combination of presentations and hands on practical sessions run by entomologists, research scientists and extension specialists from our team at Cesar Australia. 

The day begins with learning about insect morphology, including mouthparts and feeding damage, and lifecycles. After establishing the fundamentals, we focus on moths, aphid, mites, springtails and beneficials for the remainder of the workshop. 

All our workshop participants are provided with a hard copy of the ISpy Manual (Insects of Southern Australian Broadacre Farming Systems Identification Manual and Education Resource 2nd Edition). We use thes manuals to progress through a series of identification exercises using the taxonomic keys to identify real insect samples under a microscope. 

The species covered in the workshop include some key pests relevant to south-eastern winter grains crops, including native budworm (Helicoverpa punctigera), green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) and redlegged earth mite (Halotydeus destructor). 

The workshops involve a hands-on practical session. Photo by Lilia Jenkins, Cesar Australia

Express your interest in attending 

In the last year we have run workshops in Wagga Wagga, Horsham, Ballarat and Melbourne. 

With two more workshop to go, we are interested in hearing about when and where we should hold our remaining two workshops; here’s your chance to have your say! 

Express your interest and suggest dates and location here.

Once workshop locations and dates are decided, we will promote and request registrations through our PestFacts south-eastern emails so make sure that you are subscribed

Cover image: Photo by Lilia Jenkins, Cesar Australia

What is Pestfacts south-eastern?

PestFacts south-eastern keeps growers and advisers informed about invertebrate pests and beneficials in broadacre crops and pastures during the winter-cropping season in Victoria and southern New South Wales.


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Since 2019 PestFacts south-eastern has been running through IPMforGrains: Best Practice Insect Pest Management, a project delivered by the National Pest Information Network (Cesar Australia, DPIRD, QDAF, NSW DPI, and SARDI). This project aims to provide grain growers and advisors with information on invertebrate grain pest occurrence and equip industry with the knowledge needed to implement integrated pest management practices. This initiative is a GRDC investment and includes in-kind contributions from all project partner organisations.

The online PestFacts south-eastern collection also includes a selection of articles published between 2015 – 2018 when the service was run through a previous GRDC investment, The National Pest Information Service.

PestFacts south-eastern is supported by