Penn State entomology offers insect identification services


December 12, 2017

Penn State University’s department of entomology provides Pennsylvania residents pest identification services free of charge.

Specimens can be taken to county Penn State extension offices, where extension personnel often can identify an insect on the spot. If the specimen is difficult to identify, local extension educators will forward the sample to the Insect Identification Laboratory.

Michael Skvarla is director of the Insect Identification Lab, which is within Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

“I’m excited to be at Penn State and to use my knowledge to help others have a better understanding of the insects that share the planet with us,” Skvarla says.

Skvarla has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in entomology from the University of Arkansas. In May, he joined the Department of Entomology as director of the Insect Identification Lab, where he spends his days identifying insect specimens.

“What is so interesting is that we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to identifying and naming all species of insects — there are millions more we have yet to discover,” he says. “Insects are one of the most diverse group of organisms and have a great impact on our ecosystem.”


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