Lab Services & Specimen Identification

The laboratory identification of plant pests not known to occur in California provides the basis for much of the regulatory enforcement of plant quarantine regulations within Orange County. In addition to the laboratory's regulatory responsibilities, requests for identification of specimens (not household pests) submitted by residents, schools, universities, and private industry are accommodated as time permits. Requests for identification are accepted for specimens originating in Orange County only. Samples can be submitted to our office for processing by the Entomology or Plant Pathology laboratory. Requests for identification will be answered by mail notification only. Turnaround time depends upon the lab's regulatory workload at the time of submission.

Analysis and Identification of Arthropods and Nematodes:

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Daphnia

This is a large image of Orchamoplatus mammaeferus.
Orchamoplatus mammaeferus

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Ceroplastes rubens

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Meloidogyne

Plant Pathology Laboratory

The laboratories of the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office provide analysis and identification services in support of regulatory programs. Identification of specimens submitted by residents will be conducted as regulatory workload allows. No pest control information is generated through this activity and no pest control information is provided to persons submitting specimens for identification. The laboratories of the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office are not equipped to handle specimen material that might contain human pests and disease agents. Specimens collected on, or associated with, the human body will not be processed.

Procedure for submitting plant disease or plant specimens for identification:

  1. The sample should be as fresh and complete as possible with examples of roots, stem and/or leaves depending on the perceived symptoms. When this is not possible, as with trees or a lawn, a picture can be helpful.
  2. The sample should be representative of the symptoms and in the diseased or dying stage, but not completely dead. Once a plant is dead, microorganisms that decay organic matter start to grow, making it difficult to diagnose what originally caused the plant to die.
  3. When a sample consists of only a few leaves, grass clippings, or pieces of bark, it is difficult to make a proper diagnosis.
  4. For a plant identification, you should submit flowers and/or fruit along with the leaves and stems whenever possible. These should not be placed in plastic since this runs the risk of becoming cooked or decomposed beyond recognition.

Entomology Laboratory

Specimens of insects, mites, and mollusks found associated with plants or free-living (not household pests) in Orange County may be submitted by mail or in person to the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office. Specimens submitted to the entomology laboratory will be provided with a classification of their specimen to the most specific identity (taxon) available based upon the sample submitted. The laboratories of the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office provide analysis and identification services in support of regulatory programs. Identification of specimens submitted by residents will be conducted as regulatory workload allows. No pest control information is generated through this activity and no pest control information is provided to persons submitting specimens for identification.

The laboratories of the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office are not equipped to handle specimen material that might contain human pests and disease agents. Specimens collected on, or associated with, the human body will not be processed.

Procedure for submitting insect, mite and mollusk specimens:

  1. Specimens of insects, mites, snails and slugs will be identified if specimens are isolated in clean, clearly-marked containers or adhering to fresh plant material. Specimens received in rotted condition or specimens requiring extensive processing to find suspected organisms will not be processed.
  2. Dead, dry insects should be protected from mail handling by placing them in small boxes or dry vials (empty film canisters or pill bottles work well for this purpose).
  3. Insects or mites attached or restricted to plant material are best submitted on a small portion of the affected plant placed in newspaper and placed in an open-ended plastic bag before packaging for mailing.
  4. Plant-associated mites should be placed in a vial in a small amount of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and submitted in person to the Agricultural Commissioner's Office.
  5. Live mollusks are best submitted in person to the Agricultural Commissioner’s Office in small boxes or ventilated glass jars.

Plant / Pest Identification Program Form

You can download the form that you will need to fill out, sign, and return to the address listed below.

Pest / Plant Identification Form

  1. Download & Fill out the form.

  2. Submit your sample with the completed form to our office in person or, using the Procedure for Submitting, mail to:
    Orange County Agricultural Commissioner
    Specimen for Identification
    222 East Bristol Lane
    Orange, CA 92865-2714