2.2.1. Bead-mill homogenizers

These are the best option for uniform and reproducible homogenization of small (individual) bee samples. The samples are mixed with glass, ceramic or steel 1-3 mm beads and extraction buffer in sturdy disposable plastic tubes and shaken at high velocity in a machine. They also provide consistent cell wall disruption of bacteria and other microbes for parasite/pathogen or microbiome surveys.

  • Pros: Low-medium volume; rapid; uniform; no cross-contamination.
  • Cons: Generally only suitable for small bee samples (1-10 bees).

  1. Place single bee in a 2 ml screw-cap microcentrifuge tube.
  2. Add four 2mm glass beads.
  3. Add 500 μl ice-cold buffer.
    For medium-large volume beadmills, increase the number of bees, beads and buffer in proportion to the maximum allowable volume of the disposable container.
  4. Make sure that the bead mill is balanced, if this is a requirement.
  5. Shake for 5-10 minutes at the highest setting.