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Evaluation of TaqMan real-time PCR for detection of Aethina tumida (Small Hive Beetle) - HH3126SHB

The objective of this research is to develop and validate a rapid, sensitive TaqMan based method for the detection of Aethina tumida (the small hive beetle or SHB) in honeybee colonies. This would directly support the statutory bee health surveillance programme and contingency planning. The SHB is an extremely serious threat to UK apiculture, and will cause significant colony losses if it were to become established. There is currently a lack of rapid detection techniques available, as demonstrated by the time delay between interception of suspect SHB larvae/eggs recently imported in queen bee consignments into Portugal and positive confirmation by the Portuguese Veterinary Authorities. Early detection and confirmation is vital in order for eradication to be attempted. The aim of this project is to develop a rapid method for detection and identification of beetle outbreaks within bee colonies. If SHB beetle can be successfully detected within bee colonies using TaqMan PCR, UK beekeepers and the NBU inspectorate will benefit from having a rapid screening service for potential in-hive SHB outbreaks and to deal with potentially many thousands of samples submitted for laboratory diagnosis, which in addition will allow enforcement agencies to respond rapidly with appropriate control strategies. TaqMan technology for SHB detection could be directly transferable to other Member States and Third Countries screening and surveillance programmes, therefore improving the data on SHB distribution.

Objective one. Development and optimisation of TaqMan PCR assay for the identification of A. tumida
Objective two. TaqMan PCR detection of A. tumida from hive debris and other samples
Project Documents
• Final Report : Evaluation of TaqMan real-time PCR for detection of Aethina tumida (Small Hive Beetle)   (354k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2005

Cost: £14,348
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Central Science Laboratory
Bee Health              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Fields of Study