The Caribbean Pest Information Network

Guidelines for Contributors

CariPestNet welcomes members from anywhere in the world, but it should be remembered that the primary aim of the network is to assist people in the Caribbean region. CariPestNet accepts messages that request or provide advice on plant protection, including quarantine. Messages that contain advertisements will not be accepted, unless they are of particular relevance to plant health in the region. We are also ready to work on projects with students and scientists. Therefore, if you have research in the field of biotechnology, ecology, health care, send it to our manager from custom essays service


How do I send a message with a digital photo?

Digital images of insects, diseases and weeds can be sent to the CariPestNet network as email attachments, either from your normal email program or from this website using the Pest Identification Form. This Form allows you to attach 1 or 2 images that are no larger than 75KB each. The restriction on the file size of attached photographs is necessary to ensure that the images can be readily downloaded when connection speeds and/or modems are slow.

To ensure that your images are small enough to send and be downloaded by members, we suggest that you:

  1. Save them in JPEG (.jpg) format.
  2. Make sure that the image quality is set at BASIC (or the lowest quality), and the image size is VGA (640 x 480 pixels). At these settings the file size should be under 75KB and will take approximately 25 seconds to transfer with a 28.8 Kbps connection.

If you have followed these instructions but are still having problems saving your images in the correct format, please email one of the CariPestNet moderators for advice.

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What data should I provide to assist identification?

To assist CariPestNet members provide advice on the identification of a pest from digital photographs, please try to:

  1. Include photos of the pest from more than one aspect
  2. Get the focus as sharp as possible
  3. Use a scale measurement
  4. Provide accompanying information on the host, symptoms, growing conditions etc. as outlined in the Pest Identification Form.

Remember that only tentative identifications of pests can be made from digital photographs. It is important to deposit a voucher specimen in a recognised collection for validation of the identification and later study if needed.

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How do I access the CariPestNet archives?

CariPestNet has hundreds of archived email messages containing valuable information from members. These messages are stored on the Yahoo! Groups website and can be searched using keywords.

To access these messages, you need to join Yahoo! Groups:

  1. Go to the Yahoo! Groups website
  2. Click on Join This Group! and then follow the instructions for new or existing members.

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How do I temporarily unsubscribe?

If you do not want to receive emails, but would like to be able to read CariPestNet messages on the Yahoo! Groups website:

  1. Go to the Yahoo! Groups website
  2. Click on Join This Group! and then register, or if you are already a member, sign in
  3. Click on Edit My Membership
  4. Change Message Delivery to No Email.

This feature is particularly useful when you are on holiday or not using your computer for some time. We request that people who set "Out of Office" automatic responses use this feature, as it avoids these messages being sent to CariPestNet.

If you want to leave CariPestNet, send a blank email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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Sampling and handling of specimens

The accurate identification of plant pests depends upon correct sampling, packaging and timely delivery of samples to an appropriate specialist. Different pest types require different sampling and handling techniques. Some general guidelines are provided here, however, if you are unsure about the correct sampling procedures for a particular pest you should contact a specialist for advice.

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  1. Collect about ten specimens that include different developmental stages of the insect if possible, particularly mature male and female specimens.
  2. Collect specimens that are clean and in good condition, i.e. complete with appendages such as antennae, wings and legs.
  3. Use a small leak-proof alcohol resistant receptacle, such as a film canister, glass bottle with air- and liquid-tight stopper, or plastic container with screw-top lid.
  4. If sending small and/or soft bodied insects (e.g. thrips, aphids, mites and larvae): Place specimen in 70% ethanol and completely fill the container. Tape the lid securely to avoid accidental spillage. Note: do not remove mealy bugs or scale insects from the leaves or stems on which they are feeding as this will damage their mouth parts and make identification difficult. Instead, cut out leaf tissue around the insects and place this in alcohol.
  5. If sending hard bodied insects (e.g. beetles, moths, grasshoppers and fruit flies): carefully fold specimen in tissue paper and place in a small crush-proof plastic tube or container with several holes in the lid for ventilation.
  6. Clearly label the container (refer to Labelling Samples section below).
  7. Place the container in a self-sealing bag with some absorbent material (eg. paper towel) and pack this into a small sturdy box filled with padding (such as foam chips, scrunched paper, bubble wrap, etc) for protection during transit. Clearly address the package with the recipient's name, address and telephone number. DO NOT SEND LIVE INSECTS.
  8. Retain and store a spare sample using the methods described above.

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Collection and Preparation
Wear disposable neoprene gloves when collecting live or dead mollusks. Live specimens should be placed in a sealed phial or specimen bottle of water. The bottle should be completely filled with water and sealed so that no air bubbles remain. The container should be placed in a cool place for 12 hours to allow the specimen to die in a fully extended condition. The specimen should then be transferred to 75-80% ethanol.

Collection information is vital and should be completed immediately after a collection is made. The following information should be written on the container:

  • Date and location of collection
  • Collector's name
  • Host plant or substrate
  • Temperature
  • Microhabitat.

Using a pencil transfer this information onto a small label, then place the label in with the mollusk with alcohol into a specimen bottle and forward to CariPestNet for determination.

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Pathogens (Diseased material)

  1. Select samples representing the full range of symptoms.
  2. If sending dried samples: it is useful to incubate samples at high humidity before despatch to promote sporulation. Place samples overnight in a plastic bag with a little water. Afterwards, blot samples to remove surface water and dry between newspaper, changing the paper daily over a period of a week until the samples are completely dry. Alternatively, place the samples, separated by corrugated cardboard, vertically above a 60 watt electric light bulb. In this case, the samples will dry within 24 hours and there is no need to change the paper.
  3. If sending fresh samples: collect samples close to the time that you intend to mail them and store in a refrigerator. They need to arrive within 1-2 days. Place samples in self-sealing plastic bags with some dry tissues or paper towel added to absorb excess moisture. Do not add any water or pack wet samples. If submitting a fruit or vegetable sample, wrap in dry towelling and pack firmly into a crush-proof container.
  4. Clearly label all samples (refer to Labelling Samples section below).
  5. Place the bag containing your sample in a padded envelope or sturdy box and seal securely. Clearly address the package with the recipient's name, address and telephone number.
  6. Retain and store a spare sample using the methods described above.

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Nematodes (Plant parasites)

The following steps should be undertaken to prepare plant parasitic nematodes for identification:

  1. Sampling of soil and plant parts:
    • Take composite samples of soil from the rhizosphere of host plants.
    • Take composite samples of feeder and other roots or pieces of corm (e.g banana), or pieces of infected tubers or leaves.
  2. Extracting nematodes from soil and staining roots:
    • Extract nematodes from soil samples by techniques such as: Direct extraction and Modified Baermaun funnel; Cobb's Gravity and Sieving and Modified Baermaun funnel.
    • Extract nematodes from root and above ground plant parts by use of techniques such as - Blender and Modified Baermaun funnel; Incubation; Mist extraction.
    • Stain roots in order to detect sedentary nematodes using various staining techniques e.g Lactophenol Acid Fuchsin stain or Lactophenol cotton blue stain
  3. Sampling nematodes:
    • Vermiform Nematodes: Select sufficient quantities of adult and juvenile nemas both Male and female and transfer to phials by use of a pick.
    • Sedentary Nematodes: Select pieces of root with sufficient quantities of adult sedentary nemas and transfer to phials containing lactophenol.
  4. Killing and Fixing vermiform nematodes
    • Nemas are best killed by immersion in gentle heat 55 - 60° F for a few minutes. Do not boil or overheat.
    • Fix in TAF (Triehtanolamine Formalin) or 2% Formaldehyde solution
    • Place the suspension of fixed nemsas in glass or plastic phials with lactophenol.
  5. Labeling
    • Label phials with the date and place of collection, host plant and the name of the collector.
  6. Preparation of slides
    • Temporary or permanent slides of nemas can be prepared for identification purposes.
    • Temporary slides: Pick nemas and place in mounting fluid ( water; TAFF; 3% Formaldehyde) on glass slide. Place pieces of appropriate size glass wool in mounting fluid. Place coverslip carefully on the mounting fluid and make about four (4) tacks using sealing material e.g nail polish. Thereafter, seal edges of coverslip with sealant.
    • Permanent slides: Prepare permanent slides using FAA and glycerin and seal slides with sealant e.g zoot. Label slides as indicated for glass phials above.

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  1. Collect at least two weed samples.
  2. If sending fresh samples: submit fresh whole plants if possible, i.e. leave any flowers, seed heads, leaves or fruit attached to the stem and part of the root system, or submit representative sample portions of the plant if it is large.
  3. If sending dried samples: press weed samples between dry sheets of newspaper (change paper daily if necessary) using moderate pressure. Alternatively, dry using a 60 watt electric light bulb (see Pathogens). Enclose dried weed specimens with newspaper between two rigid sheets of cardboard. Note: do not tape sample to the newspaper; do not send specimens in plastic bags or with wet newspaper.
  4. Attach a label to the sample (refer to Labelling Samples section below).
  5. Place the sample in a padded envelope or box and seal securely. Clearly address the package with the recipient's name, address and telephone number.
  6. Retain and store a spare sample using the methods described above.
  7. Note: useful guidelines for the collection of botanical specimens can be obtained here.

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Labelling samples

  1. Label each sample clearly using a pencil or alcohol-proof marker.
  2. Secure labels to the inside and outside of the sample bag or container for insect pest and pathogen samples. For weeds, use a tag such as those used by nurseries and secure it to the plant.
  3. Include the following information on the label:
    • Site collection details
    • Host plant
    • Sample number for reference (e.g. your initials followed by the sample number)
    • Date of collection
    • Name and contact details of collector.
  4. Include additional information to assist the identifier, as outlined in the Pest Identification Form.

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Mailing samples

Before mailing a sample for identification:

  1. Check if there are any quarantine regulations that need to be complied with. REMEMBER: IF YOU ARE SENDING SPECIMENS OVERSEAS, ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE THE CORRECT IMPORT PERMITS AND CONTACTS.
  2. Check that the intended recipient will accept the sample(s).
  3. Check if there are any sample submission forms that need to be completed and sent with the package.
  4. Check if you will be charged a fee for the identification.

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