4.3.8. Dead colonies

Many virus experiments involve bee death as a parameter. Dead bee samples from such experiments should be treated like freshly killed material and frozen as soon as possible to minimize the effects of decay on RNA integrity.

Passive surveys also involve dead bee samples, in this case those sent in by beekeepers for post-mortem analysis of the cause of colony death. The RNA from such bees will most likely be degraded, which will affect the reliability of the data, especially negative results (virus absence). How to manage such samples and data is covered in detail in the BEEBOOK paper on molecular methods (Evans et al., 2013). Collect the more desiccated dead bees and transport in a ventilated cardboard box at ambient temperature.