Solanaceous vegetables

Solanaceous vegetables – an overview:

This page provides an overview of the key pests and diseases of Solanaceous vegetables in Australia. The related tools provided at the end of the page can be used by growers and crop consultants to assist in the identification of insect pests, mites, diseases, beneficials, and disorders. They include photographs and detailed information about specific pests. For unknown pests, it is important to have an expert identify them so that they can be managed appropriately.
The Solanaceae family of vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum and chillies. Solanaceous vegetables are affected by a range of viral diseases. Therefore it is important to control weeds which may be a host to a virus. Capsicum, tomato, and eggplant are frequently grown as greenhouse vegetables. The Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) measures, or integrated pest management methods, used specifically for these greenhouse crops can be found here.

Key pests of solanaceous vegetables:


Insect pests


Tomato Thrips; Aphids; Mites; Whitefly; Beetles; Fruit fly; Cluster caterpillars; Looper caterpillars; Potato moth; Heliothis (Helicoverpa). Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV); Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV); Bacterial canker; Bacterial speck; Bacterial spot; Damping-off; Powdery mildew; Tomato yellow leaf curl virus; Tomato leaf curl virus; Early blight; Bacterial wilt; Grey mould; Sclerotinia rot; Anthracnose; Fusarium wilt; Nematodes.
Eggplant Aphids; Thrips; Leafhoppers; Two-spotted mite; Beetles; Whitefly; Heliothis (Helicoverpa); Ceropid (spittle) bug; Leafminers; Potato moth. Damping-off; Tomato spotted wilt virus; Root rots; Tobacco mosaic virus; Tobamoviruses; Bacterial wilt; Nematodes.
Capsicum and chilli Aphids; Thrips; Beetles; Queensland fruit fly; Whitefly; Mites. Bacterial spot; Bacterial wilt; Anthracnose; Cercospora spot; Powdery mildew; Stem rot; Sudden wilt; Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV); Tomato yellow leaf curl virus; Capsicum chlorosis virus (CaCV); Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV); Pepper mild mottle virus (PMMV); Potato mosaic virus (OVY); Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV); Nematodes.
Potato Thrips (Melon thrips, Western Flower thrips, Onion thrips); Aphids; Potato moth; Whitefly; Beetles; Looper caterpillars; Leafhoppers; Bugs; Potato moth. Armillaria root rot; Bacterial wilt; Black leg; Soft rot; Potato cyst nematode; Root-knot nematode; Late blight; Tomato spotted wilt virus; Potato leaf roll virus; Potato virus Y; Common scab of potatoes; Rhizoctonia; Powdery mildew; Fusarium wilt; Anthracnose.

Pest management:

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – IPM methods discourage the use of broad-spectrum chemical pesticides and instead recommend growers employ a combination of plant protection strategies, such as best-farm hygiene, biological controls, and a targeted application of selective chemicals.
  • Key control method considerations for viral diseases include – the use of healthy seedlings; destruction of harvested capsicum and tomato crops before planting new blocks nearby; maintenance of high crop and farm hygiene standards; and use of virus resistant varieties in disease management strategies, where possible. For crops such as capsicum that can be infected with Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV), it is important than anyone who has been smoking wash their hands before coming into contact with the crop, particularly before picking.
  • Chemical control – Pests can be controlled with an appropriately registered chemical. The APVMA maintains a database of all chemicals registered for the control of pests in Australia. However, growers need to ensure that they meet the relevant Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for the chemicals in the end market, be it domestic or export.
  • Weed management – Effective weed management strategies are limited for capsicum and chilli producers. Weed management practices include the use of plastic mulch, selective grass herbicides, hand weeding, or tillage. It is important to control weeds that may be host to a virus or insect pests.
  • Control of insect pests, mites and diseases can be achieved using biological, cultural and/or chemical methods. Cost-effective, safe strategies such as irrigation at strategic times and maintaining good crop hygiene should be used. It is important to examine the history of a paddock and determine what insect pests, mites and diseases were common in previous years. Preventative measures should be taken for the pests of most concern.

Source of information and related tools: