VIPs: Very Important (Insect) Pests: Information Resources

by Ruth Gustafson – October 3, 2018

This guide lists resources related to insect pests which are useful for locating literature across a range of topics including:  behavior, control, identification, and systematics and taxonomy.  All  resources mentioned by SLA program speakers (Dr. Tony Stankus and Dr. John Bowers) are also linked below.  Please note that key resources for researching insect pests which require licensing will be listed with a VPN symbol.

Terminology:  Historically, insect pests may be noted as crop/plant foes, enemies or injurious to crops/plants.  They may be termed noxious.   Ways to deal with these insect pests have a variety of names:  antifeedants; biocontrol or biological control; control; insecticides; integrated control or integrated pest management (IPM); management; phytosanitation; suppression; pesticides.   Overall, insect pest research may be incorporated under the disciplinary areas of agricultural entomology, applied entomology or economic entomology.

Pertinent Library of Congress Subject Headings include:

Insect pests

subcategories   — biological control   — control   — detection   — identification   — integrated control


subcategories   — environmental aspects    —  physiological effect

Additional pests significant to agriculture, such as arthropods or vertebrates, are not included in this guide.

Ruth Gustafson

Student Services
Student Services and Researcher Services Librarian


In this Guide:

Below are the largest library catalogs freely available for locating information on insect pests.  Major book publishers about insect pests are:  CABI (CAB International), CRC Press, Academic Press/Elsevier, Springer and Wiley.   Agricultural government agencies, university agricultural extensions and botanical gardens also publish a wide range of reports, booklets and handbooks on insect pests.

Publications about pests are often arranged by one of these categories:  geographic range of the insect; taxa of the insect; type of crop impacted; post-harvest/storage impact.   In addition, insect pests publications may be focused on whether they are:  native/non-native (invasive or exotic);  the direct cause of disease/damage or a vector of another organism that causes these.

  • AGRICOLA : AGRICultural OnLine Access, NAL Catalog  Administrated by:  National Agricultural Library (NAL).  This free access version of the AGRICOLA bibliographic database “consists of two subsets of records. The first contains citations for journal articles that include abstracts. The second consists of bibliographic records describing monographs, serials, audiovisual materials and online content from around the world. AGRICOLA includes but is not limited to resources available in the library. The database contains 5,200,000+ records and includes printed works from as far back as the 15th century.AGRICOLA records describe publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture and allied disciplines, including animal and veterinary sciences, entomology, plant sciences, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries, farming and farming systems, agricultural economics, extension and education, food and human nutrition, and earth and environmental sciences.”


  • FAO Library Catalog   :  The FAO Library catalog of the David Lubin Memorial Library includes “FAO documents since 1945 (digital and print), non FAO monographs since 1976 and an extensive FAO and non FAO serials collection.”


  • : Includes collections from major agricultural libraries from around the world.

Major publishers of journals which include a substantial number of articles about insect pests include Academic Press/Elsevier, Oxford University Press, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and Wiley.

Top-cited journals focusing on insect pests include:  Journal of Pest Science; Pest Management Science; Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology; Biological Control; Biocontrol; Journal of Economic Entomology; Journal of Applied Entomology; and Biocontrol Science and Technology.

CABI publishes the excellent series of Distribution Maps of Plant Pests (VPN) which can be licensed online.


CAB Abstracts [via Ovid]


Provides citations and abstracts to the international agricultural literature, including veterinary medicine, human and animal nutrition, forestry, rural development, as well as other related topics such as tourism and human ecology. Covers over 11,000 journals & conference proceedings and selected books in agriculture. Produced by CAB (Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux) International (CABI) with more than 10 million records. HISTORICAL SCOPE: Archive abstracts added in August 2005 go back to 1910 with 1,860,000 additional records. CAB DATABASE PDFs: As of January 2009, hard-to-find literature may be available as CAB Database PDFs (so noted *below* the UC-eLinks button).  These CABI Full Text items give users automatic access to over 350,000 journal articles, conference papers and reports - 80% of which are not available electronically anywhere else. NOTE: the default UCD Search Type is set to Advanced Ovid Search.
Coverage: 1910-present
Tags: Agriculture, Animals, Ecology, Plants, Science
Related links: Database Guide[OvidSP]
BIOSIS Previews Classic [via Clarivate]


BIOSIS Previews is a database designed by biologists for researching the biological sciences literature.
Agricola [via Ovid]


Published by the National Agricultural Library, the Agricola database describes publications and resources encompassing all aspects of agriculture


Contains more than 1.46 million citations to literature from across core areas of agricultural science, including 42,000 full-text articles authored by USDA researchers. Produced by the National Agricultural Library (NAL), a part of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Coverage: 1997-
AGRIS, International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology [via FAO]


AGRIS covers all aspects of agricultural sciences and technology, including grey literature not available through normal publication and distribution channels, such as unpublished scientific and technical reports, theses, conference papers and government publications.
Coverage: 1975-present
Tags: Agriculture, Crops, Horticulture, Irrigation, Pomology, Soils
National Technical Reports Library


NTRL (National Technical Reports Library) is from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) within the Department of Commerce. NTRL provides access to government-sponsored research, development and technical reports with full-text access to reports that have been digitized. Searches over 3 million reports with links to over 800,000 full-text reports.
Coverage: 1964-

Resources are listed in order of presentation by Dr. John Bowers.