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NC State Extension

Submitting Samples From a Residential or Commercial Building

en Español

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beach house

A good sample is essential for an accurate diagnosis. Please follow these instructions carefully. The instructions on this page apply to the appropriate collection of arthropods (insects, spiders, mites, etc.), small invertebrates, and indoor molds from residential and commercial buildings.

Related pages…

To sample arthropods (insects, spiders, mites, etc.)

  • For most arthropods, including cockroaches, termites, bugs, beetles, flies, wasps, ants, maggots, spiders, mites, etc., specimens should be collected and killed in a well-sealed vial or other container that has ≥ 70% ethyl or isopropyl alcohol inside. For shipping purposes the vial/container should be double bagged in plastic zipper bags.
  • Butterflies and moths should be sent in dead (killed in the freezer), and packaged lightly in tissue paper in a crush-proof box. Do not put in alcohol.
  • For instruction on collecting worms, slugs, snails, and other soft-bodied invertebrates, please see the unknown creature page.

If a photograph of the organism can be taken with clarity and magnification (e.g. microscope camera) from several views/angles, images alone may be enough to determine the organism. Image samples are free to submit to the PDIC (preferably through the database), although if a follow-up physical sample is required, the sample will incur a standard fee.

Identification of indoor molds

  • Unfortunately we do not offer this service anymore (since January 2023). There are private labs that can help to identify indoor molds, but we cannot suggest any in particular. For general information on molds and remediation, please visit our blog post on the subject.