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Diseases and Pests

Early detection and proper identification of honey bee diseases and pests is critical to keeping healthy, productive bees. Below are resources to help avoid, identify and address common honey bee diseases and pests.

A Quick Reference Guide to Honey Bee Parasites, Pests, Predators, and Diseases by Penn State Extension

Disease Management and Guidelines for the Honey Bee by North Carolina State Extension

The BeeMD - A diagnostic application for honey bee health problem identification

Kentucky State Apiarist – Identifies and eradicates infectious diseases

Honey Bee Health Coalition Guide to Varroa Management - Videos, management guide and decision tool

North American Mite A-Thon by the Pollinator Partnership

Honey Bee Health Coalition – Agricultural stakeholders working together to improve bee health

Bee Disease Diagnosis Service – USDA Bee Research Lab - Diagnoses bee diseases at no charge

Bee Informed Partnership – Collaboration of leading research labs and universities to better understand honey bee declines

Frequently Asked Questions about Diseases and Pests

Is the spotted lanternfly coming to Kentucky?

Unfortunately, yes. In October 2022, the spotted lantern fly was sited 3 miles north of the Kentucky border near Gallatin County Kentucky. This siting has been verified by the Kentucky State Apiarist. The spotted lanternfly causes significant damage to trees and grapevines. In addition, bees feed on honey dew which in turn is stored in combs. The following articles describe this invasive species and how to recognize, eradicate them and address honeydew in honey.

Penn State Spotted Lanternfly and Beekeeping

Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture Spotted Lantern Fly

Is this a Northern Giant Hornet (formerly the Asian Giant Hornet)?

The Northern Giant Hornet (formerly called the Asian Giant Hornet) is not in Kentucky nor any bordering states. If you think you have seen or know of a Northern Giant Hornet in Kentucky please compare it with the following information before you contact KSBA or the Kentucky State Apiarist.

What should I do if I think pesticides killed my bees?

Go to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture State Apiarist website and follow the Standard Operating Procedures for Reporting a Pesticide Kill to Division of Environmental Services.

Where can I send samples to test for honey bee diseases?

Send a sample to the USDA Bee Research Laboratory Bee Disease Diagnosis Service. This service is free. Follow the Submission of Samples for Diagnosis instructions.

Are there any cautions for using used equipment?

Yes. Used equipment can transmit various pathogens to honey bees and their beekeepers. An example is American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae). The spores from this bacterial disease can survive for 40 years or more.

Spotted Lanternfly

Northern Giant Hornet

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