A Branch of the British Columbia Honey Producers Association

Sampling and Shipping Methods

Honey Bee Laboratory Diagnoses in British Columbia

Honey Bee Laboratory Diagnoses

​Test results are only as good as the quality of the samples. Please be sure to include your beekeeper identification, contact details and a description of the colony from which the sample was taken. To use this free and confidential service, please follow these standard methods for collecting and shipping samples:

Brood Cell Samples

  • Brood cell samples are used to detect bacterial American foulbrood AFB and European foulbrood EFB (Sacbrood virus can be confused with these.)
  • The contents of suspect brood cells can be collected using a toothpick.
  • Place the contents of one or more brood cells and the toothpick in a small plastic bag or piece of Saran wrap.
  • Place the sample in a clearly marked envelope with your name and contact details.
  • Please do NOT mail pieces of comb or brood frame, these must be personally delivered to the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford.

Whole Bees

  • Whole bee samples are used to diagnose Nosema and viruses.
  • Collect 50 – 60 adult bees (ideally foragers) dead or alive from the hive entrance area.
  • Place specimens in a paper bag and freeze for 3 days.
  • After 3 days, remove the sample bag from freezer and allow to thaw.
  • Place sample bag into a cardboard shipment container.
  • Fill empty space with paper towel or absorbent materials.
  • Alternatively, after the 3 days of freezing, place 50 bees onto a sheet of paper towel and fold down and close with tape. Place in a bubble envelope for shipment.
  • Include your name and contact details inside the envelope along with a brief description of the colony that was sampled.

Fecal Samples

Scrapings of dry bee feces can be collected in a paper envelope for Nosema detection. Fecal sampling can only determine presence/absence of Nosema. It doesn’t allow estimation of the LEVEL of infection per bee that is needed to determine treatment thresholds.

Shipping address Attn:

  • Paul van Westendorp
  • Provincial Apiculturist
  • Animal & Plant
  • Health Centre
  • BC Ministry of Agriculture
  • 1767 Angus Campbell Road
  • Abbotsford, BC V3G 2M3

Please mark the envelope/container: “BEES”