What you can submit
Intact and well-preserved specimens will provide us the best chance for accurate identification. Also, we ask that you kill any insects prior to mailing them to us. For larger insects, you can place them in a sealed container (ie. a used pill bottle), and stick them in a freezer overnight to kill them. For smaller and soft bodied insects, you can also stick them in rubbing alcohol or white vinegar in a sealed container. Do not place insects in water, as this will not preserve specimens. For insects that are on the skin, you can use tape to collect off of the body, and then seal the organism between the two layers of tape. Sticky traps are also useful at collecting small insects, and can be enclosed within a container for shipping.
In addition to insects samples, we also encourage sending us photos of specimens in advance. We can often times get enough detail from an image (even from a cell phone camera) to make an identification. When sending photos, please use a ruler or reference item, so we can determine the size of the organism. Also, portable microscopes are very inexpensive and allow users to take up-close photos of microscopic organisms.
What not to submit
Please do not send LIVE insects. Insects must be dead and preserved before placing in the mail. Do not send any bodily tissues and/or fluids. Do not send blood, stool, urine, semen, skin, or hair samples. Do not send clothing. Do not send vacuum cleaner samples. Do not send worms, snails, slugs, frogs, turtles, or other animals.
- All specimens are dead
- Specimens are on tape or in a tightly sealed container
- Specimens have been killed and preserved by freezing or in alcohol or vinegar
- There are no bodily fluids or tissues
- Photos have a rule or reference item to determine size
- The included address label is taped to the box
- You include your contact information within the box
- You include a description of where specimens were collected
Insect Sample Submission Mailing label
Please adhere this mailing label to your insect sample submission:
Department of Entomology
Attn: Small Insect Specimen ID
404 Life Sciences Building
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803