Instructions for Submitting Specimens

    Instructions for Submitting Specimens

    Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab Instructions for Submitting Specimens or Damage of Insects and Their Relatives


    The Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab (UPPDL) is a service of Utah State University Cooperative Extension and the Department of Biology at Utah State University. The UPPDL has Entomology and Plant Pathology Specialists and Diagnosticians available to diagnose plant pest problems. In addition to insects, we do provide diagnostics on closely-related arthropods. Services we provide include identifying specimens and providing information about the following:

    • Insects found on plants, structures and in other situations
    • Plant damage caused by insects
    • Spiders, ticks, scorpions, mites, and other arachnids
    • Centipedes, millipedes, and a few other arthropods

    Upon request and when available, we will provide information about the damage, habits, life cycle, and control of insects or other arthropods. PLEASE NOTE: We generally cannot identify mollusks, worms, or other invertebrates that are not arthropods. When possible, we will refer you to another facility or person that identifies such organisms.


    1. If at all possible, include more than one specimen (5-6 is ideal). Some specimens must be dissected for identification and individual differences make identification of some single specimens difficult.
    2. Include immatures and adults if present; depending on the species, immatures or adults may be easier to identify. Larger immatures are preferable to small ones. Pupae and eggs are difficult to identify but can be submitted.
    3. A sample of the damage caused by the insect should be included where applicable and practical. Otherwise, a detailed description of the damage or other problem should be given.
    4. All insect or other arthropod samples MUST be preserved in alcohol to preserve the specimen. Rubbing alcohol (70%) is suitable for preserving all insects or other arthropods.
    5. Place specimens in a glass vial with alcohol or use a small bottle that will not leak. Place the container and the completed form in a screw-top mailing tube. Include packing material to avoid breakage.


    1. A SINGLE form can be used for several insects collected on the SAME plant or specific site. Use SEPARATE forms for those from DIFFERENT plants or sites. Fill out as much information as you can.
    2. You can print the UPPDL Sample Submission Form and complete it manually, or fill out the form on-line and print the completed version. When completing a form manually, pencil is preferable to pen in case of alcohol leakage in transit (alcohol dissolves most pen ink). If you choose not to or cannot complete a copy of the form in advance, you will need to provide the required information at your local Extension office.


    1. Submit a completed form and your specimens to your local Extension office. This information is critical for proper diagnostic processing. Samples received without this form will not be diagnosed.
    2. A $7.00 fee is required for processing each sample. Each DIFFERENT plant or specific site represents a SEPARATE sample. (If multiple types of insects or other arthropods were collected from the SAME plant or specific site, then they can be included on one form and comprise one sample.) The sample fee can be paid at your local Extension office. For samples submitted from Extension offices, pre-paid UPPDL stickers are the preferred method of payment.
    3. If it is impractical or impossible for you to visit your local Extension office, specimens may be mailed directly to the UPPDL. Please be sure to include payment and a completed submission form. We accept cash or checks.


    1. Submitting printed images or images via email can help us make the proper diagnosis. Taking photos of the pest from within a range of perspectives is ideal, e.g. close-ups through landscape-level photos that allow us to see broad patterns of damage.


    Ryan Davis, Insect Diagnostician
    Phone: 435.797.2435 Fax: 435.797.8197

    Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Lab
    Department of Biology
    5305 Old Main Hill
    Logan, UT 84322-5305