In order to diagnose problems found in hives it is often necessary to sample the hives and determine the source of the problem. TAIS can assist beekeepers in a limited capacity by checking nosema and varroa levels in hives. Beyond these tests it will be necessary to use outside labs to help diagnose problems.
TAIS Testing Procedures:
TAIS can run diagnostic tests to determine nosema and varroa levels in a hive. At this time we can only run 2 nosema and 2 varroa samples per year per beekeeper. In order to test a hive please follow this protocol:
- Fill out the submission form in pencil. Place in a separate plastic storage bag and put it in the mailing box. Submission Form
- For nosema testing: Collect a sample of approximately 100 bees in alcohol (isopropyl alcohol is acceptable) from the entrance or outer frames of a hive. Half pint mason jars work well for collection and transport. Jars must be leak proof to mail.
- Insert a label with your name, address, phone number and email address into the jar. The label MUST be written in pencil (pen or marker will wash off in alcohol).
- For varroa testing: Collect a sample of approximately 300 bees in alcohol from the brood area of the hive.
- Insert a label with name, address, phone number and email address into the jar. The label MUST be written in pencil (pen or marker will wash off in alcohol).
- Before shipping pour off excess alcohol and package jars in plastic storage bags to prevent leakage during shipment.
- Mail samples to:
- Once the tests are complete TAIS will e-mail the results to the e-mail you provide with the samples. Samples are run on a first come first serve basis. TAIS will make every attempt to quickly return results, but processing time may vary depending on workloads.
Other Testing Facilities and Services
The sites listed below are not associated with TAIS and may have fees for their services. Please consult the organizations directly with all questions.
Texas Department of Agriculture
- For information on Go Texan and other agricultural issues
- To report a suspected pesticide complaint
- Or call 1-800-TELLTDA (1-800-835-5832)
EPA National Pesticide Information Center
- To report suspected pesticide incidents directly to the Environmental Protection Agency
USDA Lab Beltsville, MD
- Test for: bacterial (American Foulbrood), 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).
USDA Lab Gastonia, NC
- Pesticide Testing Lab
National Agricultural Genotyping Center
- Test for foulbrood diseases, Nosema, and multiple honey bee viruses
National Honey Board
- Honey Testing Labs
Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) Emergency Response Kits
- Provides two levels of Emergency Response Kits:
- Basic: Sampling kit for testing 8 hives over 9 weeks for: nosema, varroa, and also includes 2 virus samples
- Pesticide Analysis kit: Same test as basic kit but also includes testing 2 pollen samples for 170 known pesticides
- BIP also has other programs for monitoring hive health.
Pollen Testing, Texas A&M Palynology Laboratory
Unfortunately the Texas A&M Palynology Lab is no longer accepting honey samples for pollen analysis.