What to look for

​​​​​It is important that you check plants, animals and their environment regularly for pests and diseases. The following signs or symptoms may indicate the presence of a pest or disease.


Plant symptoms to keep an eye out for include:

  • plant death
  • die-back of shoot-tips
  • failure of plants to thrive such as a reduction in growth or low production
  • low germination rates
  • yellow, black, brown or orange spots on leaves
  • unusual markings or colouration on leaves or fruit such as yellowing
  • leaf curling
  • galls where insects have laid eggs
  • early fruit drop
  • sticky bacterial ooze on the surface of shoots
  • blossom blight where blossoms appear water-soaked and turn brown or black
  • shoot blight
  • fruit with insect maggots.

Also keep an eye out for new weeds.

If you do notice the above signs or suspect that something is wrong with your crops, trees or other plants, report it to your department of agriculture or primary industries by phoning the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

Honey​​ bees

The Plant Health Australia (PHA) provides a series of fact sheets on high priority exotic pests of honey bees. To download the fact sheets visit the PHA website.

The BeeAware website is a hub of information for beekeepers and growers about honey bee biosecurity and pollination of agricultural and horticultural crops.

The Exotic Plant Pest Hotline, 1800 084 881 can also be used to report suspect pests or diseases of honey bees.


Birds an​​d livestock

Birds and livestock, including horses may show one or more the following signs when a disease is present:

  • sores or ulcers
  • excessive dribbling from the mouth
  • diarrhoea especially with blood
  • large discharges from any orifice such as the nose
  • not eating properly or off their feed
  • dramatic decreases in production such as milk from cows or eggs from chickens
  • non-responsive animals
  • staggering or head drooping
  • severe lameness
  • swollen heads
  • inability to rise, and
  • unexplained deaths.

Importantly, if you notice multiple animals or more than one species on your property displaying above signs, report your concerns by phoning the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

If you observe signs of illness in companion animals including dogs, cats and domestic (pet) birds, please contact your local veterinarian.

Aquatic ani​​mals

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s Aquatic Diseases Significant to Au​stralia: Identification Field Guide helps people recognise diseases that can impact on Australia’s aquaculture industries and fisheries. The guide covers 48 aquatic animal diseases that affect species of finfish, crustaceans, molluscs and amphibians.

Aquatic animal diseases should be reported to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Marin​e Pests​

The Keeping marine pests out of Australian waters website provides a series of marine pest identification cards that will help you identify pests new to our marine environment.

The cards show the identifying features of particular pests and where you are likely to find them. They also help you distinguish pests from local native species that may have a similar appearance.

Marine pests must be reported to the department of agriculture or primary industries in the state or territory in which they are found. The contact details for each department can be found on the Report an o​​utbreak page on this website.