Preserving specimens properly greatly increases the chance of getting a identification. Immature and soft bodied specimens decay and crush easily so please use the following suggestions when collecting, packing and submitting specimens.

Packing Instructions


  1. If submitting several different insects/spiders please place them in separate containers each with a separate label written in pencil.
  2. Pack specimens in sturdy containers to prevent crushing in transit. Use soft paper to pack live specimens in the container.
  3. Identify the package with labels both outside and inside. Put the Insect ID Form in a plastic bag to prevent accidental moisture damage.
  4. If sending dead specimens, place in container with a piece of paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol or submerged in rubbing alcohol (ethyl alcohol is preferred). There are postal restrictions regarding sending alcohol in the mail:
  • The sample containers should be leak-proof plastic, glass or metal containers.
  • The lid of each sample container should be sealed onto the container so it doesn’t accidentally come open.
  • There should be no more than 30 mL of alcohol in each sample container.
  • Sample containers should be placed into a secondary container (a ziplock-type bag would suffice) with absorbent, cushioning material such as paper towels.
  • The secondary container should be put into a strong outer package (padded envelop or box) for mailing.
  • On the address side of the mailing container, write “This package conforms to 49 CFR 173.4”.
  • A complete return address and delivery address must be used.
  • Please review this "Safety instructions: Shipping Preserved Specimens" fact sheet.
Collecting Instructions


  1. Try to not crush the specimen being submitted and if possible send multiple specimens.
  2. If you are submitting a caterpillar, maggot or other immature insect preserve a specimen in ethyl or isopropyl alcohol and, if possible, include live specimen(s) in a container with a piece of dry paper towel. When sending a live specimen please label the exterior with the word "LIVE".
  3. Spiders can be sent dead submerged in alcohol. Please indicate if you are only interested in knowing if the specimen is a potentially dangerous species (i.e. Hobo spider, black widow, or brown recluse) or not.
Mailing Address

Mailing address

Mail to:
OSU Plant Clinic
Botany and Plant Pathology
4575 SW Research Way
Research Way Lab Building
Corvallis, OR 97333