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).
Cornell Chemical Ecology Core Facility
- Pesticide Testing Lab
North Dakota National Agricultural Genotyping Center
- Pesticide Testing Lab
USDA-AMS National Science Laboratory
- 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 from Honey Samples:
Texas A&M Palynology Laboratory
Dr. Heather Thakar recently reached out to our office to let us know that she has re-opened Texas A&M’s Palynology Laboratory!!! It took some time to regroup after Dr. Vaughn Bryant’s death. However, they are again up and running. The lab and equipment have been updated and we still enjoy the benefit of Dr. Bryant’s unparalleled comparative pollen collection and library resources.
They are accepting honey samples for pollen type confirmation, identification, and concentration values. All inquiries may be directed to Dr. Heather Thakar (firstname.lastname@example.org). She will stick to the same submission procedures that Vaughn used (see below) …at least for the time being.
She did have to raise prices, as he did not keep costs in proportion to expenses over the years. Anyone interested in submitting samples is welcome to reach out to her directly: Dr. Heather Thakar (email@example.com) since they do not have a webpage up and running yet.
SAMPLE requirements: 30-50 grams of fresh honey that comes directly from the hive and have not been strained or filtered. Include important information about the origin of the honey sample (location of origin, local vegetation, expected or unexpected plant types). Knowing the origin will speed our analysis.
SAMPLE processing time: Allow 1 month for standard sample processing, analysis, and report. Samples submitted close to holidays and University closures may take up to 2 months for completion. Expedited services are available for an additional fee.
SAMPLE shipping: Send honey in well-sealed plastic or glass containers. Seal each container in its own individual plastic Ziploc bag to prevent loss or contamination.
Palynology Laboratory, Anthropology Department
Texas A&M University (TAMU-4352)
College Station, TX, 77843-4352.
Per SAMPLE cost: $200 – $350 per sample, depending on specific analyses (pollen type confirmation or full pollen concentration values), sample origin, and whether expedited services are requested.
Local (Texas) Sample $200
Domestic (USA) Sample $25
Hawaii and Foreign Samples $300
Expedited Services $50 per sample
Paleo Research Institute
This lab conducts pollen analysis on honey from across North America. They report to have the same capabilities as the Texas A&M Palynology Laboratory provided previously.
- Primary Contact: Linda Scott Cummings (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Secondary Contact: Travis W. Jones (email@example.com)
- Phone: (303) 277-9848
- Fax: (303) 462-2700
- Website: http://www.paleoresearch.com/