Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey Program (CAPS)
How You Can Help!
There are limited resources to conduct all the surveys needed to protect our state. Your assistance in helping us watch out for unusual pests (plant diseases, weeds, insects, nematodes, and other invertebrate organisms) is needed and appreciated. Please report any findings of suspected exotic pests to the CAPS representative in your area.
Steps You Can Take:
What can I do?
The first thing to do if you suspect you have any of the above listed exotic and/or invasive pests is to contact us. An initial phone call can often determine whether or not further action is required. For all other plants or insects, call your local County Extension Agent for assistance with routine identification. When contacting a CAPS representative, you may also include a digital photo and description of the pest. If you send digital images by email, please take care to observe the following:
- Sending digital pictures
- Make sure each image is less than 500 kb, and make sure your email does not have more than two images of this size attached. Our server will not accept anything larger.
- If you need to send more than two images, please send them in separate emails.
- Please do not send more than six images total, and please be precise about the total number of images you want to send so the recipient will know what to expect.
- Always check with the recipient later to make sure all the images were received.
- Sending digital pictures
Making an appointment
Sometimes a photograph or phone call is inconclusive and it will be desirable for a CAPS pest survey specialist (PSS) to visit the property in order to make further identification. Your local PSS will contact you for directions to your property and arrange a convenient time to meet with you.
Submitting a sample (if needed)
In some situations it may be difficult to contact a pest survey specialist by email, by sending digital pictures, or scheduling appointments. It may be desirable in these cases for property owners to collect a sample of the suspected exotic species and send it in for identification. Proper collection and packaging to preserve the sample is of utmost importance, as well as providing an accurate written description of where, when, and under what circumstances and on what host the sample was collected. The PSS can help you with questions and direct you where to send the sample. Please read our Instructions For Mailing A Sample and include a completed Specimen Report Form [ ] with your sample.
Results - What Was It?
Your local CAPS pest survey specialist will let you know approximately how long results will take. A report will usually take a week or two to come back from the scientists, and when it does, the PSS will contact you. However, please feel free to call him/her to check for results if it seems to be taking longer than expected.
Above photo from FDACS-Division of Plant Industry archives