Chalkbrood disease (bee)


Chalkbrood is a fungal disease of honey bee brood that infects the gut of the larvae. It is caused by a spore-forming fungus Ascosphaera apis that is consumed along with larval food. Although it can affect workers, drones, or queens it most often occurs in workers and drones. It does not infect humans and has no effect on the quality of the honey or other apiary products.

Diagnosis and tests available


Diagnosis is strongly supported by hive inspection and is confirmed by physical examination of the affected comb. Culture is only performed when physical examination is inconclusive. PCR confirmation is available if requested.

Tests available


Sample(s) required

Days of the week test is conducted

Turnaround time1

Ascosphaera apis PCR3

PCR performed from culture

Monday – Friday

3 days

Fungal culture

Frass or fresh honeycomb

Monday – Saturday2

7 days

Hive examinationFrass, fresh honeycomb, larvae or bees

Monday – Friday

2 days

1 Turnaround times are provided as a guide only. For specific information about your submission please contact Customer Service.
2 Prior approval of delivery and testing on Saturday is required. Please contact Customer Service on 1800 675 623 to seek approval.
3 This test is not NATA accredited.

Specimen requirements


  • Fresh frass collected in a sterile container

Fresh comb

  • Fresh honeycomb collected in a sterile container

Larvae or bees

  • Submit in a sterile yellow container