If you wish to submit both a physical sample and
digital images of the problem, the site, or pattern of injury,
please be sure to NOTE in the Additional Information area
on BOTH the physical form and the digital form that you have submitted
both physical and digital images so that you will not be charged
twice for the same sample.
How to Collect and
Collect fresh specimens. Send a generous amount
of material, if available.
Ship in crush-proof container immediately after
collecting. If holdover periods are encountered, keep specimen
cool. Mail packages to arrive on weekdays.
Incomplete information or poorly selected specimens
may result in an inaccurate diagnosis or inappropriate control
recommendations. Badly damaged specimens are often unidentifiable
and additional sample requests can cause delays.
Please follow the submission instructions for
your particular type of sample: plant
samples for disease/injury, plant samples
for ID, insect specimens, nematode
specimens, greenhouse samples.
Ship sample to:
Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory
LSPS-Room 116, Purdue University
915 W. State Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054
Please double bag out-of-state
samples to prevent escape of pathogens/pests
Specimens for Disease/Injury Diagnosis
Herbaceous Plants: for general
decline/dying of plants, send whole plants,
showing early symptoms, with roots and adjacent
soil intact. Dig up plant carefully. Send
several plants. Bundle plants together and wrap roots in a
plastic bag. Wrap the entire bundle of plants in newspaper
and place in a crush-proof container for shipment. Do
not add water.
Tree Wilts: collect
branches 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter from branches
which are actively wilting but not totally
dead. Wrap in plastic to retain moisture. Collect
a handful of feeder roots and place in a plastic
Leaves/Branches/Fleshy Parts: when
localized infections such as cankers, leaf spots
and rots are involved, send specimens representing
early and moderate stages of disease. For cankers
include healthy portions from above and below diseased
area. Press leaves flat between heavy paper or
cardboard. Wrap fleshy parts in dry paper.
Turf: samples should
be at least 4"x4" and include both the
diseased and healthy portions of grass on the same
sample piece. Place the sample on a disposable
plate and wrap in newspaper for shipment.
Submitting Plant Specimens
Include a 6-10 inch sample of the terminal (tip)
portion of the stem with side buds, leaves and flowers in identifiable
Place the sample flat between a layer or two
of dry newspaper, paper toweling or similar
absorbent material. Try to prevent excessive folding of the
leaves and place flowers so that you are looking into the center
of the flower.
Pack the wrapped bundle in plastic, preferably
with a piece of cardboard to keep the sample flat.
NEVER PLACE ANY FRESH PLANT SAMPLE DIRECTLY
NEVER ADD WATER TO THE SAMPLE.
Shake excess water from aquatic weed
samples and place in plastic bag.
Wrap whole, uncut fruit specimens in paper, place
in a strong box, and pack with additional paper to prevent
Package in sturdy crush-proof container and pack
with additional paper to prevent shifting.
Care should be taken to package insects so that they
arrive unbroken. Be sure to separate and label the insects if two
or more are included in the same package and provide appropriate
information on each.
Tiny and/or Soft-bodied Specimens: such
as aphids, mites, thrips, caterpillars, grubs, and spiders
should be submitted in a small leakproof bottle or vial of
70 percent alcohol. Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol is suitable
and readily available. Do not submit insects in water, formaldehyde
or without alcohol as they will readily ferment and decompose.
*Grubs and caterpillars must be prepared before preservation to prevent discoloration.Drop them into gently boiling water for about 30 seconds (never microwave them!) before placing in vials of rubbing alcohol
Hard-bodied Specimens: such
as flies, grasshoppers, cockroaches, wasps, butterflies and
beetles can be submitted dry in a crush-proof container. Do
not tape insects to paper or place them loose in envelopes.
Nematode samples are handled through the Purdue
Nematology Lab in the Department of Entomology.
Samples for Nematode Diagnosis
form with samples and mail to:
Department of Entomology
901 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2089
Submitting Greenhouse Samples
Samples in plug trays, as well as unrooted and rooted cuttings, and plants in
pots require extra care when they are packaged for submittal to a diagnostic
lab. Before you mail the next sample, please take a few minutes to review these
suggestions for packaging and submitting samples. This will help preserve the
integrity of the sample during shipment and increasing the likelihood of a
more accurate diagnosis.
Plugs - keep them in the tray
If possible, do not remove the plugs from the plug tray. Submitting either an
entire tray or cutting off a section of the tray helps keep the
soil off the foliage where
most symptoms are observed. Secondary decay often occurs when soil
is allowed to come in contact with the foliage, interfering with
accurate diagnosis. When possible, submit at least 5-10 cells with
plugs. This provides the diagnostician with ample material for
microscopic observation, culturing, and virus testing if necessary.
Cuttings - separate foliage from media with a plastic
The primary concern is to keep the growing media
separate from the foliage. You would be amazed how quickly damp
a dusting of growing mix rots once it is sealed in packing material!
Put the cuttings into a plastic bag, sealing the bag with a twist
tie at the soil line. Do not seal the foliage in a plastic bag.
Then wrap the sample in newspaper to prevent additional drying
out of foliage before it is received.
Potted Material - pack around
Take into consideration that the mail carrier will
not necessarily keep these packages right side up. Wrap plastic
wrap, clear packing
tape or paper over
the pot surface, or put the pot
in a bag and seal it with a twist tie around the base of the
plant. Fill any extra space in the shipping box with newspaper,
styrofoam peanuts, or another space
filling packing material to prevent jostling of sample during
We welcome delivery direct to our lab. See our location page for details. https://www.ppdl.purdue.edu/PPDL/location.html
- watch the weekend
Do not mail or ship samples on Friday, as we are
not here to receive them over the weekend. Samples can be sent
via US mail, UPS, FedEx, etc. We encourage you to send samples
with priority or express delivery so we receive them in the best
condition possible to provide you with the most accurate diagnosis.