COVID-19 Instructions: Due to the current pandemic, the Insect Identification Laboratory is only open one day per week. Sending digital specimens via email is therefore the fastest way to receive an identification. Physical specimens will still be processed as they arrive but there may be a slight to significant delay depending on how the speed of the post office and when the specimens arrive in relation to when the lab is open.

Digital specimens can be sent to Michael Skvarla at Still photographs are preferred as they have higher resolution than videos. Please include details that will help with the identification, such as where the insect was found (state and city, as well as finer details such as "in my kitchen"), host plant (if it's a plant pest), and the damage caused/what the issue is. Please do not send a blank email with just photographs and no text describing the issue.

Physical specimens
Please include a completed Identification Request Form with all physical samples.

Most physical specimens should be preserved in 70% alcohol (ethanol is preferred, isopropyl/rubbing alcohol is acceptable; both are available at most pharmacies) in a liquid-tight container, such as a small jar. The container should be double bagged in self-sealing plastic bags (such as Ziplock bags) to prevent leakage during shipment and shipped in a box or other rigid container.

Samples that include plant material should be double bagged and shipped in a box or other rigid container. Do not preserve plant material in alcohol.

Specimens that are shipped in non-rigid containers such as padded envelopes are frequently destroyed during shipping and identification of poorly preserved specimens may not be possible.

Please do not send samples that are removed from the body or contain bodily fluids. The lab is not equipped to handle potentially biohazardous material and such samples will be discarded without being opened.

Physical specimens should be shipped to:
Insect Identification Laboratory
Department of Entomology
501 Agricultural Science & Industries Building
University Park, PA, 16802

Department of Entomology


501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802