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Institute of Infectology (IMED)

OIE and German National Reference Laboratories for Bee diseases


OIE and NRL for American foulbrood, Small hive beetle infestation (Aethina tumida); OIE RL for Varroosis (Infestation with Varroa spp.) and NRL for infestation with Tropilaelaps-mites

Since 2011 the German National Reference Laboratory for Bee Diseases is located at the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut. Since June 2017 the NRL undertakes the tasks of the OIE Reference Laboratories for American foulbrood of honey bees (infection of honey bees with Paenibacillus larvae), Small hive beetle infestation (Aethina tumida) and Varroosis of honey bees (infestation of honey bees with Varroa spp.). It works in close collaboration with the European Reference Laboratory for Honey Bee Health and the regional research institutions of the German states (usually Federal State Health Agencies). The NRL is nationally responsible for coordinating diagnostic standards and methods for notifiable diseases of bees on the basis of the German “Bienenseuchen-Verordnung” (= bee diseases act).

In Germany, American foulbrood, infestation with the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) and infestation with Tropilaelaps-mites are notifiable.

Since September 2014 small hive beetles are present in Italy. Updated information on the epidemiological situation of small hive beetle in Italy are provided on the website of the competent Italian authority IZSVe. In preparation for the risk of an introduction to Germany, the FLI has published a concept for eradication or control of the small hive beetle (for Download on the German version of this webpage).

  • Diagnosis of notifiable and OIE listed bee diseases
  • Direct contact for federal and state authorities on the diagnosis of bee diseases
  • If necessary, confirmation of positive findings of the regional laboratories
  • Further development of test methods for detection of notifiable diseases of bees
  • Coordination of the laboratories in diagnostic standards and diagnostic procedures
  • Initiation and coordination of research
  • Implementation of national inter-laboratory-tests
  • Release of suspensions of the causative agent of American foulbrood, Paenibacillus larvae

According to the OIE - Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals, the methods recommended by the European Reference Laboratory and the Official FLI collection of methods the following laboratory tests were established:

  • Identification of Paenibacillus larvae in honey and bees
  • Phase contrast microscopy of giant whips of Paenibacillus larvae flagellates
  • Identification of Paenibacillus larvae by PCR
  • Identification of Aethina tumida by macro-and microscopic examinations
  • Identification of Aethina tumida by real-time PCR
  • Identification of Tropilaelaps-mites by macro-and microscopic examinations
  • Identification of Tropilaelaps-mites by PCR
  • Assessment of the Varroa infestation level by washing of 100-300 bees
  • Macroscopic examination of bees for Varroa infestation
  • Bee Disease Act in the version published on the 3 of November 2004 (BGBl. I S. 2738), which was amended by Article 10 of the Act from 20 of December 2005 (BGBl. I S. 3499).
  • Animal Health Act (TierGesG) of 27 of May 2013 (BGBl. I S. 1324ff.).
  • Ordinance on notifiable animal diseases in the version dated 11 of March 2004, as last amended by Second Ordinance amending animal health regulations of 18 of December 2009.

in the amended version