Submitting Samples for Identification
Forest insect and disease samples can be submitted to the Montana DNRC Forest Pest Management program for identification. A definitive answer cannot always be provided based on a sample so a site visit may be needed to inspect the tree or stand of trees from which samples were collected.
Specimens found in homes, gardens, and yard trees should be submitted to the Schutter Diagnostic Lab at Montana State University.
Proper collection and timely shipping of samples is critical; follow the procedures below to increase the chances of diagnostic success.
Collection and information:
- Collect an adequate amount of material; call FPM for advice if needed.
- Provide a name, phone, and (or) email for who collected and submitted the specimen.
- Date of collection.
- Host (tree) species if known, approximate height and diameter, and general appearance, particularly of crown.
- Location information as available, possibly including:
- Legal description
- GPS waypoint
- County and nearest city
- Nearest county or state road
- Street/road address
- Provide digital pictures via email if possible; send large files (>3MB) one or two at a time. Try to include images depicting:
- Near and mid-range close-ups of damage
- Entire tree to show condition and color of crown
- Adjacent trees to show patterns of damage
Packing and shipping:
- Plant materials such as foliage, wood, bark, roots, or conks should be placed in paper bags or wrapped in newspaper and mailed in a box. Pack box with newspaper or other materials so samples do not get broken during S&H.
- Ship insects, except adult moths and butterflies, in leak-proof vials filled with 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Use a small box or well-padded envelope. Please do not send insect samples in ziplock bags or airtight containers without alcohol, especially in warm weather.
- Moths and butterflies can be killed by freezing for 15 minutes. Enclose specimens in folds of paper to keep the wings flat and the specimen intact. Use a box for shipment.
- Mail specimens as soon as possible to prevent drying of foliage or insects, deterioration of conks or insects, or growth of mold on the exterior of fresh plant material. Send an email (Amy Gannon, Brennan Ferguson) to let us know an insect and (or) disease sample is on the way.
2705 Spurgin Road, Missoula, MT 59804
Phone: (406) 542-4300
Fax: (406) 542-4217