Deciding what to test

Sample types

A variety of types of samples can be tested in the laboratory for AFB spores.

The choice of sample will depend on the reason the hive, apiary or bee product needs to be tested. Contact the laboratory before sending a sample.

Sample types include:

  1. Confirmation of Diagnosis – required because there are one or more AFB-like symptoms in the hive, and a confirmed diagnosis is needed. The material tested should always be larvae or pupae actually showing the AFB symptoms. Adult bees or honey should not be tested for confirmation of diagnosis as the results will be less reliable.
  2. Surveying the Disease Status of Colonies – required because colonies may have been exposed to AFB, but are not currently exhibiting any disease symptoms. The best material to test is adult bees taken off brood frames. Honey or larvae/pupae should not be tested as the results from these tests will be less reliable.
  3. Surveying the Disease Status of an Apiary or Group of Apiaries – required to identify any potential disease problems in the future when no disease is currently being found. Composite bee samples can be used, consisting of 30 bees from each hive in an apiary, with all the bees put into the same container. Honey can also be tested from the extracting tank, although it may be harder to relate the results back to the correct apiary.

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