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Specimen Submission Guidelines

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

Following all of the guidelines will insure you submit a sample that we can handle and identify.

  • All samples must be submitted in a container such as a closed vial, jar, plastic bag, or other vessel.
  • If you find an insect in your clothing, bedding, or food, remove the insect, place it in a container, and submit the container. We are unable to accept clothing, bedding, food scraps, or garbage disposal contents.
  • Very small samples can be collected on clear tape, lint roller, or other adhesive surfaces. Sticky traps for mites, bedbugs, and fleas (these are different from glue traps used for mice) can be purchased at most hardware stores. These should be left in areas where you suspect an infestation. Please don't use sticky traps outdoors – they can harm small wildlife and collect many non-target insects.
  • If you believe you have an agricultural pest, please contact the County of San Mateo Agriculture Department.
  • Avoid crushing or breaking the sample.
  • Bring the sample to the office promptly before it decomposes, or store it in the freezer.
  • Note when and where you collected the sample, and whether it bit or stung anyone.


The District is not a medical facility and does NOT accept the following items for insect identification:

  • Undergarments
  • Diapers
  • Skin or tissue samples
  • Items containing or contaminated with bodily fluids (such as nasal excretions, ear wax, spit, semen, urine, vaginal excretions, blood, and others)
  • Excrement (animal or human)
  • Hair samples
  • Vacuum bags
  • Articles of clothing
  • Food items

If you believe you have insects in your body and believe an evaluation of your bodily fluids is required, please contact your physician or other medical care personnel.




    Page last reviewed: December 28, 2023

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