What is PestNet?

PestNet is a community network that helps people throughout the world obtain advice and information on plant protection, particularly for pest, disease and weed identification. PestNet users include crop growers, extension officers, researchers, and quarantine officers.

History of PestNet

PestNet was established over 20 years ago, based on a Yahoo Group email system. While the initial focus was on the South Pacific islands, where access to specialist advice was particularly difficult, PestNet soon spread to the Caribbean and South East Asia. It is now used by anyone needing advice on identifying pests, diseases, or weeds anywhere in the world. The details of a team of moderators who have developed and managed the operation of PestNet since its inception can be viewed here. As well as the important role played by these moderators, a critical factor in the success of PestNet has been the willingness of other plant pathologists, entomologists, agronomists, and others with years of experience working in the Pacific and elsewhere, to become involved in providing advice.

Recent Developments

In 2018, Yahoo announced changes in Yahoo! Groups, which made this platform unsuitable for PestNet activities [Yahoo groups was shut down on 15 December 2020]. A new PestNet platform has been developed, based on the latest online and mobile app software, and funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). It consists of the PestNet Community online app and an Android mobile app. An Apple app is currently in development; in the meantime, since the online app is optimised for mobile use, Apple phone and tablet users can access the PestNet Community via the online app.  

To complement the PestNet information and communication service, separate Android and Apple apps have been developed in recent years, providing fact sheets for pests and diseases found in crops grown in Pacific and other tropical regions. Recent updates of the app include weed species: consequently, Pacific Pests, Pathogens & Weeds apps are now available as an online app in addition to the Android and Apple versions.

Further information about the PestNet online and mobile apps and the Pest Fact Sheet apps can be accessed via the drop-down menu under the “Resources” tab on the main menu bar.