Insect pest risk

High risk Moderate risk Low risk
Establishment pests
  • History of high mite pressure.
  • Previous crop hosts of earth mite populations (e.g. pastures).
  • Cool, dry or wet conditions that result in slow crop emergence and seedling growth.
  • Weedy crop and/or crop edges hosting red legged earth mite (RLEM) that may move into germinating crop.
  • Yellow lupin (e.g. Wodjil) is very susceptible to damage by RLEM.
Following a crop with reduced hosting capacity for RLEM (e.g. faba bean, narrow-leafed lupin and lentils).
  • Following a crop in which RLEM reproduction is low, or where RLEM have been controlled in prior to summer diapause (e.g.  chickpeas, winter cereal, albus lupins).
  • Rapid emergence and establishment of seedlings.
Native budworm
  • Wet winters in breeding areas of central Australia + suitable weather conditions that bring moths from west to east result in spring migrations.
  • Repeated influxes of moths over long periods, resulting in need for continuous monitoring and potentially repeat infestations.
  • Broadleaf weeds hosting cutworm and helicoverpa that then move into the crop as large, damaging larvae.
  • Hot weather in spring (can cause small larvae to burrow into pods).
  • Wet harvest weather (pods are ‘softer’ for longer and susceptible to damage right up to harvest).
  • High beneficial insect activity.
  • Dry winters in breeding areas (low population source)
  • Absence of frontal wind systems that provide opportunities for migration.
Aphids and virus
  • High rainfall (>500 mm) or irrigation district.
  • Proximity of crop to ‘green bridge’ (e.g. lucerne, medics, clover, volunteer pulses and broadleaf weeds) as a potential source of aphids and virus.


  • Wet autumn and spring promotes the growth of weed hosts.
  • Sowing into standing stubble reduces aphid landing.
  • Seed dressings may provide some benefit against persistent viruses.
  • Rapidly closing canopy that ‘shades’ out unthrifty, virus infected plants – limits further transmission.
  • Sowing virus-resistant cultivars and certified virus-free seed.
  • Early sowing allows flowering before aphid populations peak.
Slugs and snails
  • Annual rainfall >500 mm
  • Above average spring–autumn rainfall
  • No till stubble retained
  • Previous paddock history of slugs and snails
  • Summer volunteers and weeds
  • No sheep in enterprise
  • 450-500 mm annual rainfall
  • Tillage or burnt stubble only
  • Sheep on stubble
  • <450 mm annual rainfall
  • Drought
  • Tillage and burnt stubble
  • No volunteers and weeds
Other pests
  • Lupins adjacent to pastures may have more problems with pests encroaching across fence lines (e.g. brown pasture looper and weevils).
  • Narrow leaf lupin varieties Yorrel and Tallerack are susceptible to aphid feeding damage.
Wet autumn and spring promotes the growth of weed hosts (when weed hosts dry off pests move into crops). Narrow leaf lupin varieties Tanjil and Mandelup are tolerant to aphid feeding damage .

Pest incidence

Pest Crop stage






Mites (RLEM, Balaustium, Bryobia) Damaging Present
Lucerne flea Damaging Present
Cutworms Damaging
Slugs and snails* Damaging Damaging
Brown pasture looper Damaging Damaging
Aphids Damaging Damaging Present
Native budworm Present Present Damaging Damaging
Etiella Present Damaging Damaging
 * Snails may also cause grain con­t­a­m­i­na­tion at har­vest
Present Present in crop but gen­er­ally not dam­ag­ing
Dam­ag­ing Crop sus­cep­ti­ble to dam­age and loss.

Key IPM strategies for lupins

  • Economic damage is most likely to occur during establishment and from flowering until maturity.
  • Lupins can compensate for early and moderate damage by setting new buds and pods to replace those damaged by pests, however excessive early damage can reduce yield and delay harvest.
  • Narrow-leafed lupin crops will not be damaged by native budworm until they are close to maturity. Pod walls are not penetrated until the caterpillars are over 15 mm in length.
  • The decision to spray should not be made until caterpillars are greater than 15 mm and pods are losing their green colour.
  • Waiting until near the critical growth stage for damage often allows beneficial insects to reduce native budworm numbers below economically damaging levels.
  • Where there is a risk of virus transmission by aphids – refer to management options in insects as virus vectors.

Insecticide resistance

For more information

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