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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Bee Disease Diagnosis Service
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The diagnosis of bee diseases has been a focus of this laboratory since its inception in 1891 and we operate a "Bee Disease Diagnosis Service" for beekeepers across the U.S.

There is no charge for this service.

Samples received of adult bees and beeswax comb (with and without bee brood) are examined for bacterial, fungal and microsporidian diseases as well as for two species of parasitic mites and other pests associated with honey bees (i.e., small hive beetle, Aethina tumida).

When requested, American foulbrood samples are cultured and isolates are screened for their sensitivity to Terramycin (oxytetracycline) and Tylan (tylosin).

We do not analyze samples (bees, wax comb, pollen, etc.) for the presence of viruses or pesticide residue.

We do not make determinations about which species of Nosema (N. apis or N. ceranae) are present, when nosema disease is detected.

Diagnostic reports are transmitted to both the beekeeper, submitter of the samples and to the appropriate apiary inspectors.

We are only able to accept samples originating from the U.S. and its territories.  We do not accept samples from other countries.

How to submit samples 

The USDA-ARS is extremely pleased to welcome Samuel Abban to the Bee Diagnostic Service.  Mr. Abban has ten years experience with honey bee disease diagnostics and research and he will ably run this program. Sam will aboard July 10 and with assistance from Bee Research laboratory staff will begin analyzing past and future samples submitted to the service.  We will focus on brood samples as a means of addressing concerns over foulbrood disease and antibiotic prescriptions.  Please be patient as we dig through a substantial backlog of samples, but our aim is to strengthen the USDA Disease Diagnostic Service for another 100 years. Finally, words can’t describe our thanks to the Bee Informed partnership for their support of Sam and bee diagnostics while we waited for an opportunity to bring Sam onboard with USDA.

Last Modified: 7/12/2017
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