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.

PLEASE NOTE: there is no mail delivery to Cornell on Monday May 28 (Memorial Day) and the Diagnostic Lab will be closed Friday afternoon May 25 to Tuesday May 29 for the holiday and Cornell graduation. The next mail delivery will be late afternoon Tuesday May 29 but some samples might not be completed until Wednesday May 30. We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.



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. Household pests, garden insects, spiders, millipedes, and many others are covered.
Click on this link:
 Insect Diagnostic Lab Factsheets List

In autumn in the Northeast, several kinds of outdoor insects are attracted to houses and building walls, searching for sheltered places to overwinter.  If there are gaps around screens or doors, unscreened vents, or other openings, they can end up inside.  They can also get under siding and into attics, and during the winter and spring on warm days may find their way indoors, where they wander but do not eat anything, and end up at windows trying to get outside again. In summer you may notice them outdoors. See our alphabetical Factsheets List for information on these (as well as a number of other indoor or outdoor insects):

Multicolored Asian lady beetles

Boxelder bug

Western conifer seed 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 species which includes the most frequently-submitted kinds of samples from indoors, each year from 2008 to 2017. The second page of the file lists examples of garden, yard, and house plants people have sent samples from, for pest identification.  In 2017 the most common indoor categories were No biting pest in sample, Carpet beetles, and Bed Bugs.

Other Contacts:

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

Questions about West Nile virus or Lyme disease: contact the local office of your state health department.

Testing ticks for disease:  the Cornell Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) in Ithaca NY can ID the tick and test whether it is carrying certain disease organisms. Ticks can be from a human or any animal. For directions and fees, see:  Animal Health Diagnostic Center:   (607) 253-3900  Email:

For plant diseases: contact Cornell’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic at

Photos in the IDL banner © 2012: 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).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email