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Sample Collection and Submission for Identification of Insects

Cast Skin of Larva - Under mircoscope magnification
Cast Skin of Larva – Under microscope magnification

We often receive requests from customers to identify insects that are found within their homes.  Homeowners often want to know if the insects are of concern due to their activity level (population), damage, encountering biting insects or simply out of curiosity.  Although some of the insects can be identified by our knowledgeable office staff, it is at times necessary to submit the sample to our on-staff Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) for further identification.  Specimens may be mailed or brought into our office during regular business hours.

Proper sample collection is important when submitting an insect for identification in order to preserve the specimen.  Crushed or damaged specimens are not suitable for identification.  Specimens should not be collected on tape as it is nearly impossible to remove the sample from the tape without damage occurring to the specimen.  It is important to collect multiple samples whenever possible to ensure that completely intact specimens are available for identification.  Collecting different life stages when available can also be helpful in the identification process. High quality photos may also be submitted.  We recommend placing a ruler into the picture to give reference to size.  Please note that pictures alone may not be able to be conclusively identified.

Samples should be placed into pill bottles or crush proof containers.  Soft bodied insects must be preserved using 70% ethanol or household rubbing alcohol.  These samples must be contained in leak proof glass or plastic vials.  Fragile specimens such as butterflies and moths may be packaged in layers of tissue paper and placed in a sturdy box.  Samples should be submitted with a printed form providing additional information regarding the sample.  This form can be found on our website located at: Quality Pro.

Please note that turn around time for sample identification is 3-5 full business days from the dated the sample is received in our office.