The Schutter Diagnostic Laboratory at MSU in Bozeman has a new expert to identify spiders and bugs from around the state.

Diagnostician and assistant Integrated Pest Management (IPM) specialist Laurie Kerzicnik has begun work at the lab. She comes to Montana from Fort Collins, CO., where she specialized in using spiders as part of pest control. According to an MSU news release, she collected more than 11,000 spiders over six years, with 4,000 of them now part of a collection of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She also keeps spiders as pets. I guess that's like taking your work home with you.

Montanans who want to submit insects to the lab for identification should take them to their local MSU Extension agent. Kerzicnik said the insect can be alive or dead. Information about how and where the insect was captured is valuable.

After the agent sends the sample to the lab in Bozeman, identification should take less than 24 hours. The Montana Entomology Collection at MSU is one of the sources for identification.

Kerzicnik will also recommend insect management ideas, if needed.

The larva that Laurie is holding in the photo is from the beetle family Cerambycidae or the long-horned beetle. This one was found on a Montana poplar tree.

By the way, the Schutter Diagnostic Laboratory offers free identification of plant disease, insects, plants and mushrooms. However, there is a fee for out-of-state samples, special tests and multiple samples. For more information about submissions, check out the lab website.