Honey bee testing at the Animal Health Laboratory

The AHL offers quantitative detection of honey bee (Apis mellifera) pathogens as a routine testing service.  The test results can be used to identify the presence of pathogens, and to assist in the distinction between low-grade latent infection and high-level infection that can lead to disease and declines in honey bee health. The quantitative PCR test methods for honey bee pathogens listed below are accredited by Standards Council of Canada (SCC) under the AHL flexible scope for PCR assays as listed on Lab Services’ SCC scope of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 SCC scope of accreditation. These assays include:

  • Acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV)
  • Black queen cell virus (BQCV)
  • Chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV)
  • Deformed wing virus (DWV)
  • Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV)
  • Kashmir bee virus (KBV)
  • Sacbrood virus (SBV)
  • Crithidia mellificae
  • Spiroplasma apis, Spiroplasma melliferum
  • Tropilaelaps spp.
  • Varroa destructor (mite) haplotyping

The AHL also offers:

  • microscopy examination for tracheal mites (Acarapis woodi)
  • visual detection of Varroa mites (Varroa destructor)
  • PCR detection and DNA sequencing confirmation for small hive beetles
  • PCR detection of Lotmaria passim, Nosema apis and N. ceranae, Apocephalus borealis
  • culture detection of Paenibacillus larvae (American Foulbrood)
  • culture detection of Melissococcus plutonius (European Foulbrood)
  • antimicrobial susceptibility of Paenibacillus larvae
  • quantitative detection of vitellogenin (a biomarker for honey bee health)

The bacterial causes of American foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae) and European foulbrood (Melissococcus plutonius) can be cultured and antimicrobial susceptibility of P. larvae can be determined.  Please email the lab at for additional information. The AHL can also quantitatively test vitellogenin (a biomarker for honey bee health) mRNA levels for honey bee health monitoring.

For research project sample testing please contact the AHL:


Tel: 1 519 824-4120 ext 54530

For field samples submitted through the OMAFRA Apiarist or Apiary Inspectors, please contact:


Tel: 1 519 826-3595