Submitting Pests and Diseased Samples for Identification
The Plant Protection Unit has been providing diagnostic services to the Jamaican farming community for several decades. This service has prevented the loss of many crops by farmers due to correct identification of pest specimens and appropriate recommendations given. In order to improve on this service the submission of good samples and supporting information are essential. The main types of samples dealt with include insects (Entomology Unit), fungal, bacterial and viral (Pathology Unit) and nematodes (Nematology Unit). Samples can be submitted through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in each parish or submitted by you directly to the Plant Protection Unit, Bodles Research Station, Old Harbour, St. Catherine.
There are several requirements that must be followed in order to ensure that the sample is received in the best condition for diagnosis. Here are some steps that you can follow.
Most insects once they have been collected should be preserved immediately, preferably as many as possible, and delivered to the lab in the shortest possible time. If it cannot be delivered the same day, please refrigerate.
A plastic or glass jar containing 70 – 90% ethyl isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol can be used to kill and preserve the specimens. It is not advisable to use water for this purpose.
The live specimens can be killed in the freezer and stored between folded tissue paper and placed in an envelope or sealed in a crush proof container during transport to the lab.
Place infested plant part into an inflated plastic bag to prevent the crushing of the specimens or cut plant parts into small pieces and immerse in a container containing 70 – 90% alcohol. Do not try to remove these specimens from the plant surface as body parts necessary for identification may become detached or be crushed in the process.
These can be sent in a plastic bag on the host material or placed in a container (with food material), covered with a perforated cloth material and held in place with an elastic band.
Careful collection of plant material is essential to avoid unnecessary work and to achieve worthwhile results.
The following information will be required for all samples being submitted.
This format only provides tentative identification of pests which may be sufficient for the purpose of providing recommendations to alleviate the pest problem. However, for final confirmation the actual specimen will be required especially if species identification is required.
Digital images of pests and diseases can be sent to the Plant Protection Unit as an attachment from your normal email programme. The file size of attached photographs should be no larger than 75 KB each. This is necessary to ensure that the images can be down loaded when connection speeds and/or modems are slow.
To ensure the images are small enough and of the required quality to send and be down loaded, please carry out the following guidelines.