Microscopy
Morphometry
 
  David A. Cushman logo  

Standardisation Of Honey Bee Samples
To Be Used For Morphometric Assessment

Samples of adult bees

Samples of honey bees may be submitted to various public bodies in different countries for diagnosis of Acarine mite (tracheal mites) and viruses. You usually have to specify which test you require when making your submission of the bee sample.

The samples intended for mite diagnosis... Collect a total of 100 - 150 bees from combs. Collect an approximately equal number of bees from each sampled colony, making sure that you do not include any dead bees.

Place the bees in a screw topped, leak proof, plastic container of about 500 ml capacity. Add enough 70% alcohol to completely immerse the bees. Screw on the cap tightly and wrap adhesive tape around the neck and the cap so that the cap cannot unscrew accidentally. The alcohol can be ethanol, methanol, surgical spirit, rubbing alcohol or isopropanol. When the bottle is sealed and any alcohol wiped from it's outer surface an adhesive label should be applied that has your name and address, sample reference and grid reference of the apiary concerned.

Place the bottle in a plastic bag with a Ziplok type of seal and pack in a further outer container made from a strong cardboard box and surrounded by enough absorbent material to soak up all of the alcohol in the event of a leak. The overall package should then be completed by placing the single sample in a padded mailing bag. Also include your name, address, apiary ref, grid reference and a brief description of the perceived problem in a letter placed inside the padded bag.

There are rules for sending such liquids through the post, such rules vary from country to country, for instance in USA...

You must write one of the following on the outside of the package, depending on which alcohol you used as a preservative...

FLAMMABLE LIQUID - 70% ISOPROPANOL - FLASH POINT 70.5 °F / 21.1 °C
DOMESTIC SURFACE MAIL ONLY

FLAMMABLE LIQUID - 70% ETHANOL - FLASH POINT 55.6 °F / 13.1 °C
DOMESTIC SURFACE MAIL ONLY

FLAMMABLE LIQUID - POISON - 70% METHANOL - FLASH POINT 50.0 °F / 10.0 °C
DOMESTIC SURFACE MAIL ONLY

Apparently commercial enterprises in USA that are submitting samples in alcohol must follow somewhat stricter U.S. DOT regulations. Contact your local U.S. DOT office for complete instructions. Generally, the easiest way for a commercial enterprise to ship specimens stored in alcohol is to use a U.S. DOT authorized packing/shipping agent.

Samples for Morphometry

The method described above is also ideal for preparation of honey bee samples to be used for morphometric assessment. It is quite off-putting to receive a sample of bees that have been packed inappropriately, the smell is disgusting and there is no guarantee that the partly decomposed components have not been distorted due to the de-composition.

Sample size can vary according to the need of the measuring project...

Samples of 30, 50, 70, 90, and 150 all have their part to play, depending on what is being measured and how far the project has progressed from it's inception. Any new project should start it's work on samples as large as 90 or 150 bees, but as a project starts to refine the measurements by selection of good candidates from the earlier work, then a degree of consistency creeps in and the need for large numbers decreases. The number in a sample also depends a little on the property being measured and the strength of it's relevance in the overall scheme of the project.

For instance, BIBBA usually specify a sample size of thirty bees, but they are usually referring to samples from stocks that already have had a lot of selection and are expected to lie fairly close to the target values. In a thirty bee sample it is common to harvest and mount all left wings and all right wings giving four slides of the form shown here. Then of the remaining corpses, perhaps ten tongues may be dissected out and mounted using Karo syrup on halves of GEPE mounts, finished with a conventional coverslip. (This method is currently being researched and will be mentioned here when published.) For work that is freshly started it would be wise to use 90 bees initially, it will soon become obvious when sample size can be reduced as the work progresses, so that no unnecessary labour is expended.

 Written... 30 November 2006,
This page has actually been validated by W3C Javascript Navigational elements removed as per W3C Link Checker version 4.1 (c) 1999-2004 Requirements
favicon