How to Identify an Insect

Before selecting a method for dealing with an insect, the first most important step is to know which insect you’ve got.

You can try doing an internet search using some general terms such as “black and red beetle” and view the results as images. Scroll through the photos to see if any look familiar. You’d be amazed at how well this works, or at least narrows down the possibilities.

If you’re still stumped, try contacting your local Master Gardener program. Most counties’ programs hold plant clinics where you can walk in, phone or email to ask for help in identifying the insect in question. If you’re unsure how to locate the program nearest you, use this tool to search for your region’s program.

And if you decide to take your problem insect to the Master Gardeners, know that the insect should be dead. That way, you won’t release it into the plant clinic and spread the problem. The easiest way to dispatch the bug is to place it in a container and freeze it overnight.

But the bottom line is this: know what you’re dealing with so you can choose the appropriate solution!

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