Emergency Response Kits / Diagnostic Test Kits

The Bee Informed Partnership offers several full scale services aimed at gaining a better understanding of the factors that contribute to colony loss.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our Emergency Response Kit Program or Diagnostic Test Kit please use our Contact Form or leave us a message at 443-296-2470 and we will get right back to you.


This ERK is designed to rule out causes of large scale, suspicious colony loss through small scale sampling. It does not provide a definitive answer as the cause of colony losses, but rather rules out certain causes. In total 16 hives are be sampled, 8 weak or crashing colonies and 8 healthy colonies, placing both groups in separate live bee boxes. Live bees will be tested for viral loads from 7 prevalent viruses (KBV, ABPV, IAPV, DWV, LSV-2, CBPV and BQCV). While live bees are collected as a combined sample, each of the 16 hives will be sampled at the individual level in a small salt water solution bottle for processing Nosema, and Varroa levels at the University of Maryland. All of these samples take top priority in our lab and all efforts possible will be made to get you results as quickly as possible. Additionally, if desired, the beekeeper can gather pollen/wax/bees from effected colonies and include this sample for pesticide analysis at cost.

Please Note: The Emergency Response Kits (ERKs) are for emergency use only.
If you wish to use the ERK sampling kits for a different type of sample or different project we offer the Diagnostic Test Kit, described below, as an alternative to provide diagnostic evaluation of your colonies.


These kits have proven popular for those beekeepers and operations who are trying a new feed, treatment or management practice on a subset of their colonies. The same samples and analyses are performed (viral, nosema and varroa) but they are processed in queue with other ongoing diagnostic work. Report results will be returned to you via email or phone, at your request. Sampling protocols and shipping information are the same for these kits as the ERK kits. Since these samples are not given priority, they are priced at a lower cost.


PRICE OF KITS AND SERVICES: The cost of the kits without pesticide analysis is $475 (plus shipping) for Diagnostic Testing, and $525 (plus shipping) for Emergency Response giving expedited results. When sending samples please enclose a check payable to the University of Maryland with the samples for the appropriate amount depending on the selection you have chosen. This price includes service cost and processing. If you would like to have pesticide analysis done an additional $780 is required (this includes two complete pesticide analyses, one from the group of healthy colonies and one from the group of weak colonies). Should you choose this option, pollen/wax from your sampled colonies will be sent to the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and analyzed for approximately 170 known pesticides.  The total cost of the kits with the pesticide sampling is $1255 (plus shipping) for DTK, and $1305 (plus shipping) for ERK.

The breakdown of the analyses that are included in the different kits are listed below:

Basic ERK / DTK Pesticide Analysis Kits
Sampling kits for 8 weak and 8 healthy colonies Sampling kits for 8 weak and 8 healthy colonies
16 samples tested for Nosema 16 samples tested for Nosema
16 samples tested for Varroa 16 samples tested for Varroa
2 samples tested for 7 Viruses each 2 samples tested for 7 Viruses each
—- Tests 1 healthy and 1 weak pollen sample for 170 known pesticides
Cost = ERK ( $525 ) – DTK ( $475 ), plus shipping Cost = ERK ( $1305 ) – DTK ( $1255 ), plus shipping

Please Reference the following document for the ERK and DTK Sampling Protocols:

ERK/DTK Live Bee and Salt Water Solution Sampling Protocol

ERK/DTK Pollen Sampling Protocol

Each kit includes:

  • 2 live bee shipping boxes
  • 3 pre-addressed mailing labels for live bee shipping boxes, pollen (if sampling) & concentrated salt water solution samples
  • 2 data sheets
  • 16 small (125 mL) bottles with concentrated salt water solution
  • queen candy in petri dish on bottom of the live bee shipping box (food supply)
  • 2 capped 15 mL tube filled with water and a sponge in live bee box (water supply)
  • zip lock bags (place sample bottles and data sheets in bags prior to shipping)
  • 1 funnel
  • ¼ cup measuring cup

ERKPlease contact us for more information regarding our Emergency Response Kit or Diagnostic Test Kit services by using our Contact Form or leaving a message by calling 443-296-2470.

Learn more about the ERK / DTK