USDA Beltsville Bee Lab

General Instructions

·         Beekeepers, bee businesses, and regulatory officials may submit samples.

·         Samples are accepted from U.S.   states and territories, and from  Canadasamples are NOT accepted from other countries.  For samples originating from Canada   click here.;

·         Include a short description of the problem along with your name, address, phone number or e-mail address.

·         There is no charge for this service.

·         For additional information, contact Bart Smith by phone at (301) 504-8821   or e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


How to Send Adult Honey Bees

·         Send at least 100 bees and if possible, select bees that are dying or that died recently. Decayed bees are not satisfactory for examination.

·         Bees should be placed in and soaked with 70% ethyl, methyl, or isopropyl alcohol as soon as possible after collection and packed in leak-proof containers.

·         USPS, UPS  , and FedEx do no accept shipments containing alcohol.  Just prior to mailing samples, pour off all excess alcohol to meet shipping requirements. 


How to send brood samples

·         A comb sample should be at least 2 x 2 inches and contain as much of the dead or discolored brood as possible. NO HONEY SHOULD BE PRESENT IN THE SAMPLE.

·         The comb can be sent in a paper bag or loosely wrapped in a paper towel, newspaper, etc. and sent in a heavy cardboard box. AVOID wrappings such as plastic, aluminum foil, waxed paper, tin, glass, etc. because they promote decomposition and the growth of mold.

·         If a comb cannot be sent, the probe used to examine a diseased larva in the cell may contain enough material for tests. The probe can be wrapped in paper and sent to the laboratory in an envelope.


Send samples to:

    Bee Disease Diagnosis
Bee Research Laboratory
Bldg. 476 Room 204
Beltsville Agricultural
, MD 20705 -

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MSBA is selling Tee Shirts.  Additional information on purchasing, please go to the MSBA (website)


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The purpose of this website is to promote honey beekeeping by providing a forum in which current honey beekeepers may become more knowledgeable of best practices and the public can become more, and accurately, informed on the benefits of honey bees. For more info or comments, contact Jeff Crooks at