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Insect Identification Service

If you want to know whether those are termite swarmers or ants you just found in the house, or want to know what species of termite you have, you can send your sample to the MSU Extension Insect Identification Lab. Just place several of the insects in a small leak-proof bottle of ethyl alcohol and package for mailing. Be sure to include your contact information and information about the sample.

An aluminum container covered in paper towels and a leak-proof bottle is ready for mailing.
Insect samples should be preserved in ethyl alcohol in a leak-proof bottle.
Wrap samples in paper towels or other absorbent padding and place in a crush-proof container for mailing.

Mail to:          

Extension Insect ID Lab
Box 9775
Mississippi State, MS   39762-9775


The Extension Insect ID Lab also provides identification and control recommendations for other types of insect pests.

There is no charge for insect identifications.

Find more information about insect identification on the MSU Extension Insect Identification section.

Note: We cannot identify termite workers to species by physical examination. If you want to know what species of termite you have, do not send samples that contain only workers. Be sure to collect some soldiers and/or swarmers. Soldiers or swarmers that are preserved in good condition can readily be identified to species. See the section on termite biology to learn how to distinguish workers, soldiers, and swarmers. Be sure to preserve samples in alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is best, but isopropyl alcohol will also work.

Dr. Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist
Department of Entomology, Mississippi State University             
Phone: 662-325-2960

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Publication Number: P2568


A man stands outside a structure.
Filed Under: Termites September 29, 2022

The word “termite” strikes fear in the hearts of homeowners because this insect is the most economically damaging pest in Mississippi, is very common and requires constant vigilance. Blake Layton, entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the cost of termites is so large that it is hard to pin down.

Filed Under: Insects, Termites January 20, 2022

Can you tell the difference between a termite and an ant? Termites and ants share a number of similar physical characteristics, and it can be hard to distinguish between the two at first glance. Since termites can be active long before they are properly identified, mistaking them for ants could be a costly error!

Several worker eastern subterranean termites eat a piece of dead wood.
Filed Under: Termites, Insects-Home Lawns April 2, 2019

Termites are probably not something you consider when you are gardening. But many landscaping tasks, including digging and mulching, can put your home at risk for termite damage. (Photo by Blake Layton)

A paper wasp on a multi-cell nest.
Filed Under: Insects-Crop Pests, Insects-Forage Pests, Fire Ants, Household Insects, Insect Identification, Termites, Insects-Home Lawns, Insects-Pests July 31, 2018

Mississippi has an abundance of bugs, especially in the warmer months. We are all familiar with mosquitoes, bumblebees, and house flies. But I bet there are bugs around your house and yard that you can’t identify. (Photo by Blake Layton)

A group of more than a dozen people in hard hats break ground with shovels.
Filed Under: Pesticide Applicator Certification, Termites April 10, 2018

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Officials with the Mississippi State University Extension Service broke ground on a termite application training facility alongside pest control industry sponsors during a ceremony April 6.

The Termite Technician Training Facility, or T3F, will be located near the Mississippi Horse Park in Starkville and is scheduled to be completed in early 2019.

Success Stories

Nine men and women stand in front of a metal building.
Insects, Termites, Lawn and Garden, Insects-Pests
Volume 5 Number 2

A dream of the Mississippi Pest Control Association and the Mississippi State University Extension Service is coming true after more than 20 years, thanks to a generous donation by one of Mississippi’s oldest pest-control companies.


Mulch and Termites - MSU Extension Service
Extension Stories

Mulch and Termites

Monday, April 24, 2017 - 11:45am


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Portrait of Dr. Blake Layton, Jr.
Extension Professor
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Assistant Professor