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If you suspect your hive may be affected by the Nosema Disease,

follow these instructions for how to collect a sample of bees and submit them for inspection

Sample Preparation

Bee Selection Guidelines

Different bees are known to have difference infection rates so taking the right bees from the right location is very important to get an accurate count

  • House bees from inside the hive near brood frames are ideal for collection

    • Field bees are known to have elevated infection levels; sampling the incoming foragers will result in higher spore counts

    • Newly emerged or young nurse bees are known to have lower infection rates; these bees will have lower spore counts

  • Late fall/winter, bees can be collected from inner cover under insulation

  • Avoid crushing the bees’ abdomens as their gut is the focus of examination

  • Obtain live bees, avoid dead bees with hollow abdomens


Sample Collection

  1. Collect around 50-60 live bees from inside the hive

    • Locate house bees on frames of uncapped honey near brood frames

    • Use a plastic container or paper bag to capture them

  2. Preserve collected bees

    • Immerse collected bees in 70% isopropyl alcohol or windshield washer fluid, OR you may place bees in the freezer until you are ready to submit them.

  3. Package bees to be mailed

    • IMPORTANT: If preserved in alcohol, drain excess alcohol and place bees on paper towel for a minute or two before mailing

    • Package so the bees will not be crushed during transport. Shipping in a box is preferred over an envelope.

  4. Complete 'Sample Submission' form below to notify a diagnostician

    • You’ll be contacted by email with a mailing address

  5. Check with your local bee club, as they may provide this service at regular, monthly meetings. If youd like to connect with a local contact, use the submission area below, otherwise mail to UNH for testing.

  6. Mail sample to the UNH Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Please ensure samples are not crushed in shipment by placing them in a box or container. Please include your contact info along with the sample.

                Mail to:  Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory ATTN: Colleen Monahan 21 Botanical Lane Durham, NH 03824

Sample Submission

Once you have prepared your sample, complete THIS FORM when mailing your sample.

To notify a diagnostician that your sample is ready, fill out the form below.

You'll be contacted by a diagnostician in your area with a mailing address to send your sample.

What to Expect After Submission

  • After submission, your bees will be examined using a microscope by a trained volunteer from the club in your county, or the UNH Vet Diagnostic lab, depending on where you sent it.

  • Receive a diagnosis describing the presence of Nosema spores (none detected, high, medium, or low infection level, we cannot differentiate between N. apis and N. ceranae)

  • If Nosema is detected, visit our resources page for information on possible management and treatment strategies

  • The information will also be compiled by UNH Cooperative Extension to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Nosema levels in NH, and will help inform future management strategies statewide

Diagnosis results are reported as 'number of spores per bee'; it's understood that most northern colonies can tolerate up to 1 million spores per bee, though beekeepers should be aware and employ additional management strategies to control infection level.  Diagnosis of your bees will provide you information on the level of Nosema infection your colony may have.  Results will be reported in the following categories:

High = Greater than 5 million spores per bee

Medium = 2 million - 4.9 million

Low = 100,001 - 1.9 million

Detectable limit = 100,000


For Nosema Testing

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