Insect Identification


Insect and Other Pest Identification

A Madagascar hissing cockroach

Is something bugging you? Bring a sample by the District office anytime we’re open. The laboratory staff will attempt to identify your sample and, if possible, provide information on resolving your pest issue.

To increase the likelihood that our staff will be able to identify your sample, please:

  • contain your sample in a closed vial, jar, bag, or other container
  • avoid damaging the sample if possible
  • bring the sample to the office promptly before decomposition begins
  • note when and where you collected the sample, and whether it bit or stung anyone
  • samples on adhesive monitoring traps for mites, bedbugs, and fleas are also ok

In some cases, it may be possible to identify insects and arthropods from photos. You may email photos to For best results taking bug photos, please read this first. You may want to save the sample in case your specimen cannot be identified from your photo.

The District laboratory CANNOT test resident-submitted ticks for Lyme disease or other pathogens. If you are bitten by a tick and would like to have the tick tested, please make sure that the tick remains alive and is contained in a slightly humid environment like a small jar or a plastic bag containing a moist piece of paper towel.Ticks can be brought to the District office for identification only or submitted to the County Health Laboratory, located at 225 West 37th Street, Room 113, San Mateo, California for testing. For more information, call (650) 573-2500.

The District laboratory staff will do their best to promptly identify resident-submitted samples promptly, but there may be delays during times of heavy workload or when there are multiple or frequent sample submissions.