How to submit Bees for Disease Analysis to USDA

Special thanks to Janet Peterson, Beekeeper extraordinaire, of for sharing this information with me:


Prodcedure for Submission of Samples for Diagnosis:

General Instructions

  • Beekeepers, bee businesses, and regulatory officials may submit samples.
  • Samples are accepted from the United States and its territories; samples are NOT accepted from other countries.
  • 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 Sam Abban by phone at (301) 504-8821 or e-mail:

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.
  • Do NOT send bees dry (without alcohol).

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

10300 Baltimore Ave. BARC-East
Bldg. 306 Room 316

Beltsville Agricultural Research Center – East
Beltsville, MD 20705


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

To the best of my knowledge these bees died in early January 2017. Several cups of bees were dead on the bottom of the hive and a few lethargic live bees were on the comb which are included in this sample. They had plenty of honey in the hive.

Thank-you for your lab analysis.