Do you suspect Nosema or Acarine? – Bee Disease Testing Service


Do you suspect Nosema or Acarine?

Organise with Surrey Bees Training to have your bees tested:

Every Spring and Autumn we organise a Nosema and/or Acarine Testing day which you can bring your bees to and have tested at a very small charge per hive. Usually Defra charge £40 for this service; however to SBT it will be £1 per hive. Tea and Coffee will be on offer. Email us now to be sure of being invited to the event in Woking.

We also provide a local testing service throughout the year. This again can be arranged at a small charge by emailing us to have your bees collected / delivered.

How to take a sample of bees:

For some diseases, such as nosema, it is best to collect older foragers. This is because older bees have higher spore counts, as this is an adult bee disease and nosema in the gut multiplies and increases during an infected bee’s life. As young bees under 8 days of age won’t have any spores, sampling them could lead to “false negatives.”

Foragers returning to the hive can display up to 10-fold higher infection levels than interior bees, and both interior and exterior bees had almost double the spore count when sampled at 12:30 pm rather than 8:30 am. If bees are crawling in front of the hive entrance because they are too weak to fly, these are easy to collect and just as likely to contain nosema spores or viruses as foragers.

At least 24 hours before testing, collect approximately 30 bees from the entrance of the hive you want tested. This can be done either by sweeping with a brush into an open jar or sealable plastic bag or in a match box, holding it over the front entrance, and drawing it back with a sweeping movement.

If there are not enough bees, block the entrance with some sponge foam for a minute or two, then remove and allow the rush of returning foragers to land. Blow into the entrance to get guard bees to rush out (wear a veil!).

Bees can be killed by placing and keeping them in the freezer for 24 hours before the day. If you wish to test more than one hive then make sure that samples are kept separately and well labelled. Keep them in the freezer until the testing day/delivery day to prevent decomposition.

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