UNH Extension Can Help You and Your Customers Identify Insects


July 15, 2023

If you work outdoors, you likely encounter many different insects on plants, structures, the ground, and just about anywhere. The vast majority of insects encountered in the landscape are not harmful. Most are harmless residents of the landscape. Many are beneficial, helping to keep pests in check.

UNH Extension can help you identify the insects you find, and can help determine what, if any, control methods will be appropriate. Whether you’re concerned about the potential for an insect to cause harm in the landscape, or a customer is concerned about an insect causing harm to their family or property, or if you’re simply curious to know about an insect you have found, UNH Extension can help.

Accurate identification can help you save time and money, avoid unnecessary control measures, and identify developing problems before damage becomes significant.

The UNH Arthropod ID Service is a collaborative effort between UNH College of Life Science and Agriculture, Department of Biological Sciences, Entomological Collection and UNH Extension to provide residents of New Hampshire with trusted information about insects, spiders, ticks, and other arthropods impacting their lives.

NH businesses, residents, public health officials and others deliver arthropods (insects, spiders, ticks, etc) to the lab, usually by mail. From there, University entomologists accurately identify the species of arthropod by examining the specimen under a microscope and comparing it to documented literature and to existing arthropods preserved within the 700,000 specimen collection. UNH Extension staff provide information about the species and its significance, including information about how to protect people, plants, and property, if needed.

In many cases, insects can be identified by sending digital images to answers@unh.edu. If the insect cannot be identified from the image, we will recommend that the specimen be sent to the lab for closer examination.

If you are experiencing a plant growth problem, consider calling your local Extension Field Specialist as well. Extension specialists in each NH county are available to work with farms and green industry businesses to diagnose plant problems and to provide recommendations for control or management.

LEARN MORE about identifying insects in the landscape with UNH Extension’s Rachel Maccini at the 2023 NHLA Field Day, September 20, 2023.

— by Amy Papineau, Landscape & Greenhouse Horticulture Field Specialist, UNH Extension

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