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Unit Overview


Pests are defined as organisms that damage human interests, especially in the production of food, feed and fibre. Pests may have worse effects in agriculture for two broad reasons. First, food, feed and fibre are mostly produced from domesticated species, which are selectively bred to maximize production (yield). However, maximizing production increases susceptibility to pests. Second, the production systems designed to maximize food, feed and fibre production from domesticated species may also be optimal for pest species too. Integrated pest management (IPM) is a decision system used to limit the damage caused by pests, with an economic basis. This unit considers the evolution of domesticated species and production systems, their geographic origins and spread around the world, their corresponding pests, the development of pest control methods (especially chemical pesticides), and the continued evolution of pests to resist various pest control methods (especially chemical pesticides). The unit explores the development of IPM as pest control methods failed, due to pest resistance, with a focus on the economics underlying of pest management decisions. Both short term and long term consequences of pest control methods are considered, as are different forms of production system. Different scenarios with varying balance between costs and benefits of production and susceptibility, pest control methods and pest resistance are considered. The development of biological control is explored. This unit aims to provide a clear understanding of the knowledge required to produce an IPM plan, including economics of production and pest control, methods to measure damage, compare utility of different pest control methods, and consider unintended consequences of each. Examples of differing severity of pests, and pest control methods, from a wide range of plant and animal production systems in Australia and around the world. This unit is relevant to students with interests in production systems, food security, natural resource management, environmental risk assessment, and environmental/ecological modelling.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) explain evolution of domestic species in terms of production; (2) demonstrate an understanding of the evolution of pest species, and characteristics that contribute to their development as pest organisms; (3) describe the ecology of pests in production systems; (4) list the diverse pest control methods along with their varying advantages and disadvantages in different production systems; (5) explain the economic, environmental and societal costs of major pest species, and the major pest control methods; (6) understand the economics that underpin IPM, in particular describe the economic injury level and its importance in an IPM program; (7) identify the major techniques used for pest monitoring and surveillance; (8) identify, compare and evaluate pest management tactics, beyond pest control methods; (9) describe approaches to biosecurity; and (10) describe major pathways and barriers to pest invasion.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial presentation; (2) term paper developing an IPM plan; and (3) term presentation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Theodore Evans
Unit rules
Enrolment in
72510 Master of Agricultural Science (ID 164)
or 71570 Master of Geographic Information Science (ID 390)
Contact hours
total workload: 150 hours
contact hours: 4 hours per week for 12 weeks

Pedigo LP, Rice ME (2009) Entomology and pest management, 6th Ed. Pearson, Prentice Hall.

New TR (2002) Insects and Pest Management in Australian Agriculture: Oxford University Press

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
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  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.