Honey Bee Health

The USDA Bee Disease Diagnosis Service

Located at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)  Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, the lab offers a free service for diagnosing diseases in bees.

The diagnosis of bee diseases has been a focus of this laboratory since its inception in 1891 and they 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).

Visit the website for more information and how to submit samples, Click here: Diagnostic Lab

Useful references:

Varroa – Tools for Varroa Management, A Guide to Effective Sampling & Control (2015) from the Honey Bee Health Coalition The guide lays out an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategy for managing Varroa mite infestations; including how to monitor mite levels, chemical and non-chemical methods to control the mites, and methods to determine which treatment is appropriate for a beekeeper to use at different phases in a colony’s life cycle. Click to download at no cost. 


Honey Bee Diseases and Pests (2016) – A companion to “Beekeeping in Northern Climates”, Marla Spivak and Gary S. Reuter, University of Minnesota & Minnesota Extension Service, Department of Entomology, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA To order, check online at: Minnesota Bee Lab http://BeeLab.umn.edu