Kids make great pest detectives

Page last updated: Thursday, 5 May 2016 - 8:32pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

You’ve probably seen adults stamp their big feet in frustration when they realise bugs have munched through the vegie patch and mould has spoiled their flowers. Adults are often too busy to notice pests before the damage is done. Kids can help by becoming pest detectives who spot signs of trouble early. 

When it comes to spotting pests, kids are usually better than adults. Small people are nearer to the ground where pests usually live, and usually have sharper eyesight so they can spy really tiny insects or the little signs which tell you a plant disease is starting to grow.

Some insects damage plants. Others hurt people and pets. Some insects are a nuisance when you’re playing. Disease can spoil a yummy strawberry or tomato, and some weeds can even be prickly.

Of course, dealing with pests isn’t your job. If anything needs to be chopped off with sharp tools or squirted with spray, ask your adults to do their own dirty work! Your role is to investigate and discover.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia has lots of online information to help you identify many things you find.

Eye for identification

If you use a magnifying glass to view tiny insects, choose an unbreakable plastic one in case it drops on to the ground.

If you find something, there a few things you can do:

  • Download the MyPestGuide Reporter app to a mobile phone and you can use it to send in a report or photo of the pest you have found.
  • Email a photograph to
  • If you would like to meet a person from our Pest and Disease Information Service and show them your specimen, ask your adults whether they would like to drive you to our South Perth headquarters.
  • An especially useful information sheet is titled Sending specimens for identification if you want to send it by mail.
  • There is a lot of information on pests and diseases on this website.

Do get in touch. We love hearing from our pest detectives! Say hello to the Pest and Disease Information Service by telephoning the team on 1800 084 881. This is a Freecall number but always ask your adults for permission before you ring.


Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080