If there is an algae bloom in a pond you own or manage, it’s crucial to know what type of algae is growing to determine an effective response. General types of algae can often be identified by submitting pictures to either your local County Agent or the Clemson University Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic. In some cases, including a suspected cyanobacteria bloom, you may need confirmation of the algae species from the Clinic. For confirmed identification, follow the directions below.
- Gloves are recommended.
- Use a clean, plastic bottle that holds more than one cup. (Example: a rinsed, disposable drink container)
- Fill the bottle 90% full with the algae and pond water. The empty space is important!
- Place the plastic container with a sample inside a sealed, zip-top plastic bag.
- Fresher samples are better for testing.
Keep the sample from overheating and limit exposure to direct sunlight. It doesn’t have to be on ice but avoid leaving it in your car for very long on a hot day.
Sample packages should include:
- a completed Plant/Weed Identification Sampling Form,
- the sample, and
- payment ($20 if in-state)
Sample packages can be:
- Shipped using USPS, FedEx, or UPS. Shipped samples can be received by the lab Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, except holidays.
- Coordinate with lab staff (864.646.2133) to leave the sample in the drop-box located at the rear loading dock in Pendleton, SC. This option is typically available Mondays through Fridays, except holidays – but you must coordinate ahead of time so the sample can be retrieved by the staff and refrigerated!
- Dropped off at your local County office, if it is open to the public. Call ahead to confirm.
Sample results are generally available within five business days after the Clinic receives the sample and will be emailed to you.
Related Fact Sheets
HGIC 2368, Tips for Taking Good Photos to Send to Your Extension Agent
- HGIC 1858: Cyanobacteria: Understanding Blue-Green Algae’s Impact On Our Shared Waterways
Originally published 10/20