Submitting samples to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory

Samples may be submitted by:

  • private or industry veterinarians
  • Biosecurity Queensland staff (veterinarians, biosecurity inspectors, researchers)
  • some farmer groups (such as fish or prawn farmers).

Complete and suitable samples support a thorough diagnostic work-up and improves the likelihood of reliable and meaningful results.

Guidelines for submitting samples

The Veterinary laboratory users guide (6th edition) (VLUG) provides a comprehensive guide for sampling in an easy-to-navigate format.

Download the laboratory users guide or email to request a hard copy.

Sample retention times and typical test turnaround times are as listed. Follow these general guidelines when submitting samples.

  • Send samples chilled, not frozen, except for the following, which should be kept at ambient temperature:
    • smears
    • ticks
    • culture media for Campylobacter and Tritrichomonas.
  • Fix tissues in formalin-fixed samples in at least 10x their volume of 10% neutral buffered formalin and pour off all but 50mL for transport (see page 31–33 of VLUG).
  • Complete the Specimen advice sheet: Form A, listing all specimens.
  • Use a separate specimen advice sheet for each animal species, property or reason.
  • Complete all sections and sign and date the form. Enter details electronically where possible; where electronic entry is not possible, print clearly.
  • Number animals and corresponding samples sequentially from 1.
  • Attach a separate Necropsy findings: Form B (PDF, 65KB), if required.
  • Provide an after-hours phone number for urgent cases.

Aquaculture samples

You can read more about managing disease in aquaculture farms and submitting samples for laboratory examination, including pearl oysters, fin fish, crayfish and prawns.

When preparing aquatic disease investigation cases, phone the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory (BSL) on (07) 3708 8762 for advice. An officer will advise you on how to prepare samples to send to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory for testing.

Apiary samples

When submitting apiary samples to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory, fill out a specimen advice sheet, place it in the box with the samples and label the container with:

  • your name
  • the date collected
  • the location of the hive.

American foulbrood disease

To submit a sample for American foulbrood disease either:

  • place a matchstick into the cell of a suspect infected brood comb and obtain larval material on one end of the stick. Place the matchstick in a small vial and seal securely
  • wrap a 10cm by 10cm piece of broodcomb without honey, in a paper towel.

Place the sample in a padded postal bag or small sturdy cardboard box.

Chalkbrood samples

  • Cut a piece of brood comb approximately 10cm by 10cm square containing suspect mummified larvae.
  • Wrap the comb sample in paper (not plastic) and place in a padded postal bag or small sturdy cardboard box.

European foulbrood samples

Freshly dead larvae are best for diagnosis of European foulbrood.

To submit a sample for European foulbrood, wrap a 10cm x 10cm piece of brood comb without honey and containing larvae, in a paper towel.

You can also use the matchstick test, but it is less sensitive:

  • place a matchstick in the cell of a suspect infected brood comb and obtain larval material on 1 end of the stick
  • place the matchstick in a small vial and seal securely.

Place sample in a padded postal bag or small sturdy cardboard box.

Nosema disease samples

  • Collect at least 60 adult suspect bees (sick or only recently dead) or bees collected from the top bars of the frame.
  • Place them in a clean jar.
  • If available, preserve with methylated spirits or 70% ethanol at room temperature.

Asian honey bees

When submitting suspected Asian honey bee samples:

  • place them in a sealable, non-crushable container
  • label them correctly, including the chemical used to destroy the bees.

If you have access to a vial and 70% ethanol, you can also use these to preserve the sample.

Laboratory fee exemption criteria

We accept specimens from any animal species in Queensland if a disease incident presents an unacceptable risk to the health of either the community or commercial livestock. Subject to the conditions outlined in BSL's specimen receipt policy (PDF, 45KB), these specimens will be processed free of charge.

The following criteria determines if specimens will be accepted and exempted from a service fee:

  • the public benefit
  • if a clinical history, owner information, and epidemiological and other relevant information has been provided
  • whether the specimens are appropriate for the clinical history and suspected disease(s)
  • the association of the specimens with a disease incident.

Read the specimen receipt policy (PDF, 45KB) for a complete outline of conditions.

Fees will apply to specimens:

  • for health and export testing
  • for certain accreditation schemes
  • referred for testing from other laboratories.

The person submitting the sample will be invoiced if laboratory charges apply—see our schedule of fees.

Fees and policy on testing

Veterinary laboratory users guide

Submission forms

We will not accept samples accompanied by incomplete forms. Where possible, complete all forms electronically and print to send with your submission.


Cattle submissions

Goat submissions

Sample transport

Requests for transport media and sampling kits

Contact details

Phone: (07) 3708 8762 (submission enquiries)

Postal address

Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory
Health and Food Science Precinct
PO Box 156

Delivery address

Specimen Receipt (Loading Dock 12)
Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory
Health and Food Science Precinct
39 Kessels Road

Normal laboratory hours

Monday to Friday: 8am–5pm
Weekends and public holidays: Closed

Urgent testing

Contact the laboratory during normal laboratory hours to arrange for urgent testing.

After hours, phone the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Phone 13 25 23 for more information.

External animal and plant health authorities and laboratories

We collect information to perform diagnostic testing for animal and plant disease management and control. If required, some of the information from the advice sheets may be given to:

For brood or adult bee or honey submission forms, 1 to 4 applies. For the (general) specimen advice sheet (GEN-008) and other related forms (GEN-009, GEN-113), 1 to 7 applies.

  1. Animal Health Australia
  2. Plant Health Australia
  3. Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  4. Safe Food Queensland
  5. Wildlife Health Australia
  6. Queensland Health
  7. Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation
  • Animal Consulting Enterprises Pty Ltd, ACE Laboratory Services, Bendigo East
  • Australian Genome Research Facility
  • Australian Registry of Wildlife Health
  • Bee Pathology Research Group, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
  • Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, University of Sydney
  • Berrimah Veterinary Laboratories
  • Birling Laboratories Pty Limited
  • ChemCentre, Resources and Chemistry Precinct, Western Australia
  • Chemical Residues Laboratory, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • CSIRO Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP)
  • CSIRO Australian National Insect Collection
  • CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
  • CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Australian Government
  • Department of Environment, Science and Innovation Chemistry Centre
  • Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania Animal Health Laboratory
  • DPIRD Diagnostic and Laboratory Services Animal Pathology – South Perth
  • Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute
  • Gribbles Veterinary Pathology
  • Griffith University Wildlife Disease Ecology Group
  • IDEXX Laboratories, Brisbane Laboratory
  • Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research Westmead Hospital NSW Health Pathology
  • James Cook University
  • Microbiological Research Group (QAAFI)
  • Murdoch University Division of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
  • Parasitology Research Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
  • Pathology North, Royal North Shore Laboratory (Australian National Reference Laboratory in Medical Mycology)
  • Pathology Queensland Central Laboratory (Queensland Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory)
  • Pathology Queensland Prince Charles Hospital Laboratory
  • Plant Biosecurity Laboratory, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland)
  • Queensland Health Forensic and Scientific Services
  • Queensland Herbarium Environment Protection Agency
  • Queensland Museum
  • Regional Laboratory Services Benalla Laboratory
  • SA Pathology Frome Road Laboratory
  • SA Pathology, Royal Adelaide Hospital Site, National Mycology Reference Centre, Adelaide
  • The University of Melbourne Asia Pacific Centre for Animal Health
  • Tick Fever Centre, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • University of Melbourne Microbiological Diagnostic Unit
  • Veterinary Biosciences University of Melbourne
  • Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, School of Animal and Veterinary Science, Charles Sturt University
  • Vetpath Laboratory Services, Belmont
  • Vet Diagnostics Laboratory Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
  • Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory (VIDRL)

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