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NC State Extension


Our core services:

  • Diagnosis of the causes of plant problems, both abiotic and biotic (pathogens, insects, mites, etc.)
  • Identification of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates collected from homes, gardens, offices, warehouses, etc.

Additional services we offer:

  • Identification of molds growing in homes and commercial buildings.
  • Identification of mushrooms and other macrofungi. Important: In cases of mushroom ingestion, contact the Carolinas Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Information on how to submit these is on our “Something Else” page.
  • Assay of pear baits used to determine whether Phytophthora is present in irrigation ponds.

In most cases, our work is based on examination and analysis of physical specimens, though accompanying digital images are often helpful. Some identifications can be made based on photographs alone. These should be submitted through our database.

We can provide diagnostic and identification services for large numbers of samples or special projects on a limited basis. Please contact Dr. Matt Bertone, Director of the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic (919-515-9530 or, to discuss your needs.

Services for which you should contact other laboratories:

  • Requests for identification and management of terrestrial and aquatic weeds should be submitted to the corresponding specialist.
  • Requests for identification of any plant where no management information is needed may be submitted to the botanical herbarium within the NC State Department of Plant and Microbial Biology.
  • Requests for predictive nematode assays on soil should be submitted to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nematode Assay Section.
  • Requests for nutrient testing of soil, soilless media, or plant tissue should be submitted to the corresponding laboratory within the NCDA&CS Agronomics Division.
  • Requests for pesticide residue testing should be made to a private laboratory.
  • Testing of planting material that shows no symptoms. In the case of seeds, one option is the Iowa State University Seed Lab.
  • Testing of air samples for ethylene. We regret that as of we had to discontinue this service in 2020.
  • Testing required for export permits or phytosanitary certificates.


The time between sample submission and the sending of a report to you via email can vary from hours to weeks, depending on the quality of the sample, the complexity of the assays to be performed, and the availability of specialists, among other factors. As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t heard from us within a week of our receipt of the sample, please call to check on its status. An expedited turnaround-time policy applies to turfgrass samples submitted by golf courses to the Turf Diagnostics Laboratory. Contact them for details.