The IDL can provide an insect ID for $25
Do you have an insect problem – or an insect you’re interested in – and want to know what it is, or more about it?
2021 January update: THE INSECT DIAGNOSTIC LAB is currently OPEN weekdays. Diagnosticians are in the lab 2-3 days per week, but are available to answer questions at other times during the week. We welcome emailed PHOTOS and mailed-in SAMPLES for identification. Please click on “How to send a sample or photo” for instructions.
For directions on how to send us samples or email photos (or both) for identification at the IDL, click on this link:
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.
Do you already know what you have, or want more information? We have a number of factsheets available. For descriptions of a variety of insects and related organisms, and (if an indoor or outdoor pest) control recommendations, click on this link below:
In the Northeast, several kinds of outdoor insects are attracted to houses and building walls in autumn, searching for sheltered places to overwinter. Any that find gaps or openings can end up inside. During winter and spring on warm days you may see them indoors. Click on the LIST OF FACTSHEETS for information on any of these – as well as many other indoor pests, and outdoor species found on garden plants and trees.
There is a lot of concern about an Asian hornet in a few places in western USA, but as of May 2020 it is not found in eastern USA. All of the “giant hornets” we have been sent photos of in New York and nearby areas, are instead actually the European hornet (Vespa crabro), which has distinctive markings of black and yellow on the abdomen, and red-brown color on the front of the body. This Pennsylvania State University factsheet has information about European hornets: https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/european-hornet
Spotted Lanternfly –
A new invasive pest of orchards, vineyards, and tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus), the Spotted Lanternfly (“SLF”) has been found in southeastern Pennsylvania and Virginia, and is continuing to show up in new locations in 2018, including 2 sites in New York State. For a recent news article see: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-02/america-isn-t-ready-for-the-lanternfly-invasion?utm_campaign=news&utm_medium=bd&utm_source=applenews
For updates on Spotted Lanternfly infestations and other information, see: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly
In New York State, anyone that suspects they have found SLF is encouraged to send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Note the location where the insect was found, egg masses, and/or infestation signs)
Anyone that visits the Pennsylvania or New Jersey Quarantine Areas should thoroughly inspect their vehicle, luggage and gear for SLF and egg masses before leaving and scrape off all egg masses.
Other Topics of Interest:
Biocontrol Bytes – For a blog from an Integrated Pest Management specialist, designed to inform New Yorkers who are trying to control pests – on farms, in backyards, in businesses, or in homes – about the role that biological control plays (or could play) in successful integrated pest management, see: https://blogs.cornell.edu/biocontrolbytes/ For info about that blog: https://blogs.cornell.edu/biocontrolbytes/about/
Spotted Wing Drosophila – an invasive fly species has been causing fruit damage in the Northeast. Raspberries, blackberries, late-maturing blueberries, day-neutral strawberries, elderberries, cherries, and peaches are among the vulnerable crops. For details see: http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/spottedwing/pdfs/SWDgarden.pdf 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 see: http://blogs.cornell.edu/SWD1/
Common IDs each year – Are you curious about what kinds of things are sent in for identification? This file (IDL annual top spp through 2019) lists the most frequently-submitted IDs for indoor samples each year. The second page lists examples of garden, yard, and house plants people have sent samples from. In 2019 the most common indoor categories were No biting pest (Miscellaneous debris), and Carpet beetles.
Trends over time in Insect Diagnostics – Have you ever wondered how insects are identified, and how it has changed over time? See this 30 minute webinar at: http://vimeo.com/54970615
Photos in the IDL banner (at top of page & on factsheets) © 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).