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NC State Extension

Queen & Disease Clinic

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A Beekeeper’s most important tool is knowledge.

    • Yearly, roughly 40% of all colonies in the US die and must be replaced
    • Nearly 30% of newly-installed queens die in the first 6 months
    • Sustainable apiculture requires detailed data not easily gathered in the apiary alone

The reproductive quality of queens, and the drones with which they mate, has been among the top management concerns of beekeepers for the last decade. Being able to verify cohorts of queens for their mating success, identifying failing queens, determining disease, or diagnosing laying problems are all helpful for successful beekeeper management.

Testing colonies for diseases and genetics is equally important. We can measure virus levels within colonies and compare them to baseline data to determine potential deviations that affect colony health. The importance of Africanized bees is also an ever-increasing threat, particularly on the Eastern seaboard, so a diagnostic genetic test is the standard means of determining Africanization. Finally, intracolony genetic diversity is important for many aspects of colony function, thus our high-throughput process of calculating effective paternity frequency of the queen (=mating number) can be useful for both the beekeeper and honey bee scientists.

Beekeepers are on the front-line in identifying and solving apicultural problems. The Honey Bee Queen and Disease Clinic, conducted by the North Carolina State University Apiculture Program, empowers the engaged beekeeper with the scientific and technical tools to implement truly transformative practices.

Strong Research Foundations

Established as a natural extension service leveraging basic and field honey bee research at NC State, the clinic has worked to improve colony health for over 10 years. We offer the following services.

Quality Assurance

Morphometric Analyses–multiple measures of queen or drone, body and reproductive tract to test rearing quality Queen

Semen Quality–total sperm count, and sperm viability in queens to determine mating success and longevity; in drones, for mating potential and rearing environment

Genotyping Analyses–full assessment of paternity for up to 48 workers and an estimate of queen mating frequency


Pathogen Screening–identification of the presence and relative levels of ABPV, BQCV, DWV(A&B), IAPV, LSV, Trypanosomes, and both Nosema species

 GenotypingMitotyping for Africanizationgenetic analyses of maternal ancestry as African or European using population genetic techniques and markers

Customized Experiments

Highly-tailored collaboration between science and industry that involves custom experimental design, analyses and interpretation. Examples of application:

  • Assessing the effects of banking on queen quality
  • Evaluating queen mating quality following novel management practices
  • Testing the impact of agricultural chemicals on any of the above measures
  • Observing the effects of shipping on queen health and sperm quality

More information at:

Queen & Disease Clinic Pricing

(five sample minimum, bulk pricing available)

Samples Tested  


Price per sample




Reproductive Quality $28.00 √  √  
Standard Pathogen Screen $64.00 √  √   √  
Apiary Pathogen Screen $250.00* *up to 10 colonies, pooled
Mitotyping (Africanization) $40.00 √  √  √ 
Genotyping (mating number) $370.00 √ 

Custom Disease Screening  – Additional and custom pathogen targets available upon request.

Shipping Samples and Receiving Your Report

To request a quote for any of the above services, or to request other testing, please email us directly. Following acceptance of our quote, you will receive an invoice by email. We accept payment by check made out to “NC State University” or you may pay by credit card using our online payment system.Nexcelom

Once a date is mutually arranged to send your samples, all bees must be mailed while alive unless otherwise indicated. Overnight delivery (early in the week) should be made to the shipping address outlined on the invoice. Samples will be processed once payment is received.

Processing time depends on the type and number of analyses, as well as the number of samples to be measured and the length of the queue in sample processing. However, our high-throughput processing procedure typically results in sending a report within 5-7 business days of receiving the samples.

Queen Clinic Quality Reports

A “grade” report of your queens’, or drones’, relative reproductive quality is produced following completion of testing. This places the findings into context and allows for fast and reliable interpretation. Here is a sample report.Grade report