Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic Update – May 23, 2018

The following are highlights and updates about sample submissions for our different services (identification or Plant problem diagnosis from fruit, vegetables, and ornamentals), and questions recently received in the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic. Visit the PIDC's Facebook page for updates and more pictures. For more information on a particular disease or insect problem listed, follow the article cited.

This table lists our most common diagnosis from  May 14 to May 23, 2018

Plant Problem diagnosis  (link to encyclopedia article)

Flag smut of grasses caused by the fungi Urocystis agropyri
Flag smut of grasses caused by the fungi Urocystis agropyri

Lawn, turfgrass: flag smut

Blue Spruce, Colorado Blue Spruce: Stigmina needle cast

Pear: Suspected abiotic condition leading to Decline

We accept digital images in order to assist in determining what type of sample is most appropriate to submit, check out our new video "Taking Good Photos For Plant Diagnosis"

Insect identification

Sitophilus sp. weevil

Odorous house ant

Lone star tick nymph

Bat tick

Bat bug

Evidence (signs) of Stigmina on needles
Evidence (signs) of Stigmina on spruce needles

Brown marmorated stink bug

Dermestid beetles

Indianmeal moth

Plant Identification

Field Bindweed

Mushroom Identification

See our Facebook post on morels:


Transcript or Alternate URL: 

Hi, my name is Lina Rodriguez-Salamanca, and I am with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, and today I’m going to be talking about digital photography.   

At the clinic, we do love to see a lot of photos, and the photos can help us to try and determine what type of sample to submit.  We, unfortunately, cannot do a diagnosis only based on photos but with a sample, we can try and find the evidence of the pathogen and give you recommendations.  

We receive photos in the clinic the challenges are poor photos because they may be out of focus or the light is not right might be too dark or the size is too small, and it won’t allow us to zoom into the details of the plant. 

So here are some of our best tips.  The first one is get different perspectives.  Make sure you get the whole plant and then you walk closer to look for some specific details, close-ups try different locations different angles.  And try and take pictures of your plant and tree from different angles. 

Focus, focus, focus.  Make sure the specimen either the plant or a mushroom is seen clearly in your photos.  Include a size reference.  Depending on the size place a coin pencil, ruler or yard stick next to the specimen in the photograph.  If you are nervous about your ability as a photographer…do not be.  Photography is an art that is hard to master.  Together we will help you take the best photo possible to get you the best result possible.  


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Horticulture and Home Pest News, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on May 23, 2018. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.