Have an insect question or image for identification?
Before contacting the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab, consider contacting your local Extension office for assistance. A list of Wisconsin county-based Extension offices can be found here.
Questions or digital images of insects/arthropods can be sent to the Wisconsin Bug Guy at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions regarding pest management, check out the Resources tab in the menu for a long list of available factsheets. The UW-Madison Extension horticulture website has additional resources.
Carefully read all instructions on this page prior to submitting a question or image.
The following three pieces of information are required for any insect/arthropod question or image submission. Failure to include this information will lead to processing delays and submissions lacking this information may not be processed in some cases.
1) Your name
2) US State*, County, and Nearest Town
3) Description of where the specimen was found, what it was doing, size of the specimen, and any other relevant notes
*The main role of the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab is to assist Wisconsin residents with insect/arthropod identification services. Residents of other states are encouraged to consult their local University Extension service, which will be familiar with the particular insects of your area.
Tips for insect photos:
Insects can often be identified through digital images alone and with advances in phones and cameras, many people have high resolution digital cameras readily available. However, taking images appropriate for identification of insects and other arthropods can still be a challenge, due to the small size of many insects. Below are some photography tips to help facilitate the identification process at the UW Insect Diagnostic Lab:
- Use your best photography equipment available (i.e., highest resolution) to get the clearest image possible. Use a tripod or stabilize the camera, if possible.
- Get as close as feasible to insect subjects, as long as the images are clear. A clear, crisp photo from farther away is preferred over a blurry, up-close shot.
- Take several images of specimens, from different angles (top, bottom, side)
- Include a size reference (ruler, coin, pencil, etc.)
- Include geographic information. This is very important, as many insects may be restricted to certain parts of the state, country, or globe.
- Include images of damaged plant(s) if an insect is found feeding on a plant—include images of the entire plant and also up-close images of any damage to the plant.
- Provide the required background information about the case.