Lab Test

Insect Larvae Identification

Tick, Mite, Louse, Lice, Fly, Flea, Bed Bug, No See Ums, Larval, Arthropod

Test Codes

Antrim #42310, EPIC: LAB5516, SOFT: IDPAR

Specimen Collection Criteria

Collect: All suspected medically important arthropods (lice, ticks, fleas, etc.) and larvae. May submit egg, larva, pupa, or adult stages. Place in a sterile collection container.

  • Sources: Surface of the body, stool, sputum, etc.
    • Insects are to be submitted dry in a tightly screw-capped container. Do NOT add preservatives.
    • Arthropods (lice, ticks, fleas, etc.) and larval forms (worms, maggots, etc.) are to be submitted in a tightly screw-capped container containing a few drops of saline to prevent desiccation.
  • Skin scrapings (scabies)
    • To test for scabies, collect the specimen by vigorously scraping affected area with a scalpel blade to remove the top of the papule.  Place scraped material between two glass slides.  Tape slides together and place in a cup large enough to hold the slides.  Add 5-10 drops of sterile saline to the cup to prevent scrapings from drying.  Label the cup with patient information. 

Physician Office/Draw Specimen Preparation

Maintain specimen at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F) prior to transport.

Preparation for Courier Transport

Transport: Insect/Larvae in a sterile collection container, at room temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F).

In-Lab Processing

After identification is complete, organism should be placed in alcohol (at least 70%) to kill the organism. Formalin is also acceptable but not preferred.


Specimen Stability for Testing:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): Indefinite (if specimen is placed in 70% alcohol or formalin)
Refrigerated (2-8°C or 36-46°F): Unacceptable
Frozen (-20°C/-4°F or below): Unacceptable

Specimen Storage in Department Prior to Disposal:

Room Temperature (20-26°C or 68-78.8°F): 7 days


Grosse Pointe sent to Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory for testing. 
Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory
Troy sent to Royal Oak Microbiology Laboratory for testing.


Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 3:30 pm.
Results available within 1 business day.

Reference Range

Not applicable.

Test Methodology

Macroscopic and microscopic examination.


Physician should determine if finding is coincidental or relevant to infection based on identification and origin of specimen.

Clinical Utility

To aid in the diagnosis of infection/parasitemia by medically important arthropods/larvae.

Clinical Disease

Varies with classification of arthropod/larva. Arthropods may invade tissue. Stings and bites by arthropods may cause systemic hypersensitivity reactions. Toxins may be introduced into the host through arthropod bites or stings. Arthropods may excrete chemical fluids which create skin irritation.


Arthropods are capable of transmitting disease causing agents. Mechanical transmission of bacteria or parasites can result in bacillary dysentary, cholera, typhoid, viral diarrhea, amoebic dysentary, giardiasis, and intestinal helminthiases. Arthropod vectors that are responsible for the biological transmission of infectious agents may serve as amplification vehicles or enable the agent to progress in life cycle stages.


  1. Teleford III, S.R. 2011. Arthropods of Medical Importance. Versalovic, J. et. al. (eds.) Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th ed., ASM Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 2255-2274.
  2. Garcia, L.S. 2007. Medically Important Arthropods. Diagnostic Medical Parasitology. 5th ed. ASM Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 670-717.

CPT Codes



Last Updated


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This directory currently reflects information only for specimens collected and/or processed at the
Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Royal Oak, and Troy campuses.