Submitting an Insect Specimen
Insects and related arthropods can be submitted to the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic for identification. In addition to identification we provide you with information about your insects life cycle, if it is a pest or not, and integrated pest management options for you to implement if it is a pest. Typically you will receive your diagnosis within two weeks of when we receive your sample.
Collecting and Mailing Household Pest Samples
- Collect multiple (6–12) intact specimens if available.
- Specimens should be dead when shipped and mailed in a bottle, box or padded envelope.
- Soft-bodied insects such as caterpillars, aphids and ants, and spiders, mites and ticks can be preserved in hand sanitizer gel.
- Hard insects such as moths, butterflies and beetles do not need to be preserved, but they should be restrained inside the container so they don't bounce around during shipment (for example, secure a moth or butterfly inside a box with layers of dry paper toweling).
- Mail samples in a padded mailer or box to protect against crushing.
- Please include a copy of form PIDC0033 "Insect Identification Form" with your sample.
Human Parasites: We will not examine skin, scabs, excrement or urine for other bodily fluids for insects or mites. Scabies and other potential parasites must be diagnosed by a medical doctor. We can identify the following human parasites: ticks, lice, fleas, bird mites and bed bugs. Small insects and mites must be taped to a white sheet of paper and circled.
Photo shows how to properly package hard bodied insects - in a container to prevent crushing and retrained within the container (with toilet paper) to prevent damage.