Have you ever wondered what to do if you find an insect or leaf damage in your garden that you have never seen before? Many people will tell you to use Google to describe what you have found to try and find an answer. While this approach can be helpful, a faster and more accurate identification can be done through your local extension service.
Here in Florence county our extension service can be reached by mail at: 2685 South Irby St # K, Florence, SC 29505; telephone: 843-661-4800; or on the web. Please note this web address will take you directly to email the Clemson Extension’s Administrative Specialist. From there the county extension service will be able to deduce what pest or disease you are dealing with. You may be asked to provide pictures as well as a physical sample by your extension office.
In the event that our local extension service is unable to identify your pest or disease, they will be able to send your submission on to the state lab. You may be contacted at this point to provide physical samples if you have not already provided them. When providing physical samples it is imperative that you take a good sample. Make sure that your sample can not be crushed in the mail or, if you are sending in a plant specimen make sure you take care to delicately wrap your sample in moist paper towels (do not over saturate the sample) .
By providing samples in this manner we can work to create a better educated community in regard to pests. Many invasive pests are found because homeowners and concerned citizens have sent samples in to their local labs or contacted their local extension services to identify suspected pest damage.