Insect diagnostic service

The South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) Entomology Unit  provides an insect identification and advisory service.

Our qualified team identify insects to the highest taxonomic level for species where this is possible.

We can also give you biological information and guidelines for control.

SARDI has a collection of approximately 5,000 species of pests and beneficial insects.

This collection helps us provide rapid and reliable identification of most insects.

Diagnostic services

We offer:

  • Insect identification.
  • Insect identification + biological and management information.

Our diagnostic services are available to the public.


All prices are available on application.

Please do not send payment with your sample, unless indicated otherwise.

We will send an invoice with the result to you.

Preparing your sample

Soft-bodied insects (larvae)

Place dead larvae samples in 80% alcohol or methylated spirits.

Make sure live larvae have adequate supply of host plant material or soil.

Adult insects

  1. Adult insects (beetles, wasps, moths etc.) can be killed before posting by placing them in a freezer for a few hours.
  2. Pack the specimens into a container and use tissues to prevent damage.

Packaging your sample

Selecting a container

Put liquid samples in a container that:

  • can't be easily crushed
  • has a good sealing lid.

Small plastic vials are ideal.

Dried specimens:

  • Don't place dried specimens directly into an envelope.
  • Always pack them in a container.

Preparing your sample for delivery

You can place the container into 'Post Pack' or other suitable envelope with packing included.

Ensure you have our correct postal or delivery address.

Sending your sample

All specimens sent to us for identification must be accompanied by the Insect Diagnostic Service Specimen Form (PDF 59.2 KB).

Please complete the form as accurately and completely as possible.

Incorrect or incomplete information will slow down the process.

Information you must include on your form:

  • Client details.
  • Sample details:
    • date collected
    • plant or animal host if known
    • location and a brief description of the damage caused.
  • Information about pattern or extent of infestation.
  • Investigation requested. Indicate whether you require identification only or identification plus additional biological and / or control information.
  • Special requirements, for example: if you want the results faxed to you.

Posting your sample

Insect Diagnostic Service
c/o Entomology Unit
Waite Building
Box 397 GPO
Adelaide 5001

Delivering your sample

Insect Diagnostic Service
Entomology Unit
1st Floor, East Wing
Waite Building
Waite Road
Urrbrae 5064

Getting your results

We can provide identification reports by phone, facsimile or email.

We will usually send results within 3 working days of receiving your sample.

We make every effort to identify to species level. When this is not possible, we will forward the specimen to a taxonomic specialist. In these cases, additional costs will be invoiced to you.

Once you receive your interim report, you have 48 hours to tell us whether you need further identification.


If you have questions about our services, or are unsure about how to prepare or send your sample, please contact us.

Phone: (08) 8303 9543
Fax: (08) 8303 9542

Page Last Reviewed: 26 Jun 2015
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