Centre of excellence for bee health research in Africa

The Bee Health Programme's central research and training centre is located in Nairobi, Kenya and represents a centre of excellence for bee health research in Africa. The centre is hosted by icipe and serves as a reference laboratory for the training of scientists from various parts of the continent and as a hub for novel research and biotechnology in honeybee and other pollinators’ diseases.

The centre's management is overseen by a Project Steering Committee (PSC) chaired by AU-IBAR, with members from participating countries, farmers’ federations and selected European scientific organisations.



The African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health, established at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) Duduville headquarters, Nairobi, in partnership with AU-IBAR Kenya, is the first African innovation centre for research, development, advocacy, capacity building and strategic networking for honeybee diseases and pests for food security on the continent. The new laboratory will generate knowledge regarding bee diseases and pests, and their control measures for Farmers’ Federations (FF) and beekeepers in general and also help improve honey production and enhanced markets access.

The Entry and Hallway:

The Entry and Hallway of the African Reference Laboratory for Bee Health houses a reception area, visitors’ area, and a proposed African Bee Museum.

Right Wing on the Ground Floor:
BH4 Sample reception room for receiving bee and honey samples collected in the field

BH5 Reagent preparation room for handling molecular reagents

BH6 Sample preparation room for nucleic acid (DNA/RNA) extraction and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) setup

BH7 Bee pests’ laboratory for rearing and maintenance of pest colonies (Varroa mite, small hive beetle, wax moth, large hive beetle)
BH8 Bee diseases (Nosema and foulbrood) laboratory for diagnostics of bacterial and fungal pathogens

BH11 Sterilisation room for decontamination of lab ware and waste/glassware drying/water distillation

BH12 PCR room for amplification of nucleic acids and observation of the PCR products on gel

BH13 Viruses of Varroa laboratory for culture and diagnosis of bee viruses


Left Wing on the Ground Floor:
BH17  Neurobiology and Biochemistry laboratory for investigating the neurophysiological basis of  honeybees/environment interactions and, in particular, the intraspecific and interspecific communication in bees and  proteomics (structure and functions of proteins), immunology and histopathology procedures

BH18 Instrumentation laboratory for LC-MS MS  (Ultra Fast Mass Spectrometry/Mss Spectrometry) and analytical chemistry procedures to  separates chemicals/pesticides by conventional chromatography on a column.

BH21 Chemical hazards laboratory for preparation of hazardous/pesticide samples and standards

BH22 Wet chemistry laboratory where non-hazardous chemicals, drugs, or other material or biological matter are handled in liquid solutions or volatile phases

Right Wing on the First Floor:
BH27 Server room where all network connections are configured

BH30 Quality control laboratory for quality analysis of honey and beehive products (wax, propolis and royal jelly)

BH31 Honey processing and packaging room for processing of honey, wax and candle art, and training of farmers

BH32 Pollination laboratory for rearing of nondomesticated social and solitary bees, evaluation of pollination efficiency of the bee species on cultivated crops and bee diversity in regard to habitat changes, and identification of bee pollen, nectar and propolis sources

BH33 Behavioural Laboratory 1 for conducting behavioural experiments on stingless and carpenter bees affected by diseases and pests, studying their life cycle, foraging, oviposition and nest protection behaviours, nesting site and substrata choice, nest architecture and chemical communication and endocrinology

BH34 Behavioral Laboratory 2 for conducting behavioural experiments involving pathogens, parasites and pesticides, and behavioural experiments on honeybees and their pests (insect–insect interactions) Beehive products room for displaying the valueadded products from beekeeping, i.e. honey, wax, candles, royal jelly, propolis and honey soap and polishes.

BH35 Behaviour and pest and diseases in the bee species of Indian Island Nations  and Yemen.  

Left Wing on the First Floor:
BH39 Honeybee genetics laboratory for pedigree record keeping, cryopreservation of drone semen and monitoring of honeybee colony behavioural traits

BH40 Stingless and carpenter bees genetics room for characterisation using molecular tools (barcoding, mitochondrial DNA, population genetics), RNA sequencing (transcriptome analysis), analyses of nuclear genes (single nucleotide polymorphisms), phenotype plasticity, social and solitary bee collections and queen rearing in social species

BH41 Green pesticides wet chemistry lab for plant samples processing and extraction, formulation of biopesticides and HPLC analysis of crude plant extracts, fractions and formulated biopesticides

BH43 Biopesticide store for storing raw materials for biopesticide formulation and finished products

BH44 Green pesticides products and laboratorybased bioassay of the extracts and formulated plant-based biopesticides for efficacy against various bee pests and diseases, and safety of the effective samples on bees

BH45 Plant–pollinator interface and GIS laboratory for geo-spatial analysis of flowering plants and bee habitat availability to ascertain pollination effects and landscape contribution to bee health

BH46 Queen breeding laboratory for queen rearing, artificial insemination of queen bee and hive card record keeping.