Insect Diagnostic Laboratory

Cornell University, Dept. of Entomology
2144 Comstock Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853-2601

Link to Cornell’s  Dept. of Entomology

QUICK IDL PAGE LINKS:        Factsheets      Directions for sample IDs

Do you have an insect problem — or an insect you’re interested in — and want to know what it is, or more about it?

At Cornell’s Department of Entomology the Insect Diagnostic Lab can help identify insects and related arthropods, and provide management suggestions if needed. There is a $25 fee, for samples or photos submitted to the lab for an ID; these funds allow the Lab to remain open.
Click here for directions on how to send in samples or photos for identification.


Do you already know what you have, or want more information?  We have a number of factsheets available.  Please feel free to take a look for descriptions and control recommendations.
Click on this link:
 Insect Diagnostic Lab Factsheets List


It’s that time of year again — in the Northeast as the weather turns cooler, on sunny days you may see some of these outdoor species on house siding, windows and doors. When they can squeeze in through gaps, or get let in when a door opens, they show up indoors as well.  These insects spend the winter sheltered under the siding or in attics – or in rooms – but do not feed while indoors. For information about any of these, see our alphabetical Factsheets List.

Western conifer seed bug

Western conifer seed bug

Boxelder bug

Boxelder bug

Multicolored Asian lady beetles

Multicolored Asian lady beetles

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

Brown marmorated stink bug



Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), a new invasive fly species originally from Asia, has been causing widespread injury to some fruit crops in New York State. Raspberries, blackberries, late-maturing blueberries, day-neutral strawberries, elderberries, cherries, and peaches are among the vulnerable crops. A factsheet on the Spotted Wing Drosophila is available from Cornell Cooperative Extension at: Because this species resembles other fruit flies, we recommend that you make sure the ID is verified before doing any major control measures.  For the latest information from NYS Integrated Pest Management on SWD, go to:

Have you ever wondered how insects are identified, and how it has changed over time?  In this 30 minute webinar our diagnostician Jason Dombroskie discusses Trends in Insect Diagnostics.

Are you curious about what kinds of things are commonly sent in for identification?  Follow this link for IDL Top Spp tallies Jan2016 which includes the most frequently-submitted kinds of samples in the past few years from indoors, and also a list of the types of garden, yard, and house plants people have sent samples from, for pest identification.  In 2015 the most common indoor categories were No biting pest in sample, Bed bug, and Carpet beetles. However, two-thirds of the samples people were concerned might be bed bugs, turned out to be something else.

Other Contacts:

For questions about West Nile virus or Lyme disease, contact the local office of your state health department.

For questions about insects and related pests in and around the home, or in the garden, you can contact your local Cooperative Extension office. In New York State, see: Local Cooperative Extension Offices

For problems with a plant caused by disease, see Cornell’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic at

Photos in the IDL banner are © 2012 by Jason J. Dombroskie, Ph.D. (IDL Coordinator & Diagnostician).

From left to right: Alder flea beetle – adults (Chrysomelidae: Altica ambiens); Larder beetle – larva (Dermestidae: Dermestes lardarius); Spotted tussock moth – caterpillar (Erebidae, or Arctiidae: Lophocampa maculata); Indian meal moth – adult (Pyralidae: Plodia interpunctella); Cornfield ant (Formicidae: Lasius sp.) with Scale insects (Coccidae: Coccus sp.); European sowbug, or Common woodlouse – an Isopod, not an insect (Oniscidae: Oniscus asellus); Multicolored Asian lady beetle – adults (Coccinellidae: Harmonia axyridis); The Herald (moth) – caterpillar (Erebidae, or Noctuidae: Scoliopteryx libatrix).

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