SBV or Sacbrood Virus

In 2005 I started keeping bees. I never saw any disease or virus in my hives until the 2008/2009 season. The first disease I noted in the summer of 2008 was DWV, which is an acronym for Deformed Wing Virus. In the spring of 2009, I found another virus…Sac Brood Virus or SBV. During an inspecting of one hive in early May, I recognized a problem when I saw capped cells that were perforated and had jagged edges. Inside the cells were strange uncapped larvae, which looked like they had shrunken heads. Once the larvae is infected with the virus, it will die and eventually turn black. There is an image of this stage of the virus above along with some other photos of it.

When I found this virus, the only remedy I knew was to re-queen. In my case, re-queening did work and the symptoms went away within a few brood cycles. If the cure was from breaking the brood cycle or the new queen I am unsure, but I was glad to see the symptoms disappear.

Written By: Rob Snyder

Rob Snyder has written 62 post in this blog.

I currently work out of the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, CA as a Crop Protection Agent. I received my B.S. in biology from Delaware Valley College, PA. There I attained a majority of my entomological knowledge from Dr. Chris Tipping and Dr. Robert Berthold. After graduation, I was an apiary inspector for 2 years at the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania. In my third year there, I still inspected some colonies but I mainly focused on The Pennsylvania Native Bee Survey (PANBS) where I pinned, labeled, entered data and identified native bees to genus species. Leo Donavall assisted me in learning the basics on positive Identifications of the native bees. Around the same time I began working on coordinating kit construction and distribution for the APHIS National Honey Bee Survey. I was also fortunate to conduct many of these surveys with fellow co-worker Mike Andree and Nathan Rice of USDA/ARS throughout California. All of these experiences have led me to where I am today, working to assist beekeepers in maintaining genetic diverse colonies resistant to parasites while reducing the use of chemical treatments in colonies. The BIP Diagnostic Lab at the University of MD is in an integral part of this process by generating reports in which we can track change and report to beekeepers vital information in a timely manner which may influence their treatment decisions.

  • Hi Rob,

    I work for an Australian national private company that was formed by the Australian department of agriculture, and represents all Australian plant industries, including the honey bee industry. We work on biosecurity, education and training and awareness material.

    We are currently creating a honey bee biosecurity manual (about 70 pages) which we will be providing to every beekeeper in Australia which will outline beekeeping principles, checking for exotic pests, fact sheets on established pests etc. One of the fact sheets is for Sacbrood virus, and i was hoping we could use the first two photos that you have in this article in our manual. You would of course be acknowledged, as well as the Bee Informed website.

    Hopefully hear from you soon. My email is


    Sam (Plant Health Australia)

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