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Research article2014Peer reviewedOpen access

Prognostic value of using bee and hive debris samples for the detection of American foulbrood disease in honey bee colonies

Forsgren, Eva; Laugen, Ane; Laugen, Ane Timenes


The objective of this study was to compare how well the detection of Paenibacillus larvae in samples of live bees or in accumulated winter debris collected from the bottom of beehives relates to symptoms of American foulbrood in honey bee colonies. Fifty-eight colonies in one commercial beekeeping operation were inspected for disease symptoms and assayed for P. larvae using culture-based techniques and PCR. The results show that culture-based techniques are more accurate than recently published PCR methods for detecting the bacterium in clinically diseased colonies, and that the prognostic value of bacterial colony counts from bee samples is superior to colony counts from debris. However, if the objective is to monitor the prevalence of the bacterium irrespective of disease symptoms, the preferable method is PCR analysis of accumulated winter hive debris.


American foulbrood; Paenibacillus larvae; culture; PCR; logistic regression

Published in

2014, Volume: 45, number: 1, pages: 10-20

      SLU Authors

      • Laugen, Ane

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      Agricultural Science

      Publication identifier


      Permanent link to this page (URI)