A good pest management program starts with the early identification. When pests are correctly identified early, there are more options. MSU Diagnostic Services can identify those pests and help save crops, time and money.
Use this and field history as a gauge when you scout the field. When a problem is found, MSU Diagnostic Services and MSU Extension have resources to help with identification.
To ensure an accurate identification, samples must be prepared in a specific way. Here are three sample types that can be submitted and how to submit them properly.
Plant health and weed analysis
To get the best identification results there should be several samples and they should include the entire plant, including roots with the media or soil intact, the stem and foliage. Separate the soil from the foliage so that the two do not touch each other.
Collect samples that show the progression of symptoms including healthy, marginally and severely infected, if possible.
Digital images of the field can and should be sent in to show the pattern of damage, both zoomed in and entire field shots are the best. The photos can be emailed to the lab at pestid@MSU.edu or mailed in with the sample.
Submitting good and bad plants is also recommended to show the progression of the symptoms the plant is experiencing.
Insect samples should be sent in a leak-proof vial of alcohol or vinegar.
A sample of the damage caused to the plants should also be sent in along with the insect sample.
If the insect is in larval stages, it should be lightly boiled while alive then placed in alcohol or it can be sent in still alive.
Moths and butterflies should be frozen for 30 minutes and then shipped in a vial with tissue paper.
Nematode samples, including the soil and roots, should be placed into a plastic – not paper – bag and correctly labeled.
Samples should be collected by taking a quart or pint of soil and should not be exposed to high temperatures.
All sample types
The container that the sample is submitted in is not important, but it does need to be able to survive the mailing process to the lab; envelopes should not be used.