4.1. Introduction

The aim of a survey or experiment is that the final data should as closely as possible represent the (virus) status of the bee or colony when the sample was taken, since ultimately the data interpretation, conclusions and recommendations will again refer to live bees. Sample  management (from collection and field preservation, to transportation, short- and long-term storage, processing and finally analysis) is therefore crucial to the accurate interpretation of survey and experimental data. Honey bee sample management is covered in detail in the BEEBOOK paper on molecular methods (Evans et al., 2013) with a reduced version given below. Most viruses have an RNA genome and much of the host’s molecular response to virus infection is also at the RNA level. However, RNA is highly sensitive to degradation by nucleases and a major criterion for bee sample management is therefore to minimize this degradation (Chen et al., 2007; Dainat et al., 2011). The primary concern is not so much the virus particle (which is usually relatively robust), but rather the viral replicative RNA intermediates and host mRNAs.