The US has recently approved the use of the world’s first vaccine for honey bees. The vaccine developed was made against American Foulbrood, a bacterium that could kill an entire bee colony.
Bees, one of the most important pollinators of the planet, have been going through a difficult process in recent years, when it comes to climate change, habitat destruction, pesticide use and wear caused by diseases. American Foulbrood puts bees in an even more difficult situation. At least this problem of bees, which is necessary for the ecosystem, may have been solved.
Vaccine Prevents American Foulbrood Disease
This vaccine, which will prevent American foulbrood, a bacterial condition known to weaken colonies by attacking bee larvae and ensure the survival of the colonies, was developed by the biotechnology company Dalan Animal Health. Approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this vaccine contains a dead version of the disease-causing Paenibacillus bacterium to prevent disease.
Beekeepers need to mix the vaccine with the feed that the hive and the queen bee are fed. In this way, the drug, which becomes the “royal jelly” that the drones feed their queens over time, enables the newly born bees to gain immunity against the disease.
On the other hand, this treatment also represents a breakthrough for several reasons. Because scientists previously thought that it was impossible for insects to become immune to diseases because they did not produce antibodies like humans and animals. However, after the researchers identified the protein that elicits an immune response in bees, they realized they could protect an entire hive through a single queen.
American Foulbrood is a highly contagious disease and powerful enough to wipe out an entire colony. Early detection of this disease in large and strong colonies can be quite difficult. In addition, beekeepers usually prefer to burn infected hives in order to save other bees when they notice the disease.