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A vaccine to the rescue of bees

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jan7,2024

A vaccine to the rescue of bees

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Hives infected with American foulbrood often need to be burned. (Archive photo)

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Next spring, Canadian beekeepers will be able to count on a new vaccine to fight against American foulbrood, a disease which wreaks havoc in hives.

Produced by the American biotechnology company Dalan Animal Health, this vaccine was approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the fall of 2023. This must be administered under veterinary supervision.

American foulbrood is a nightmare for many Canadian beekeepers.

This disease, caused by the bacteria Pænibacillus larvæ, attacks bee larvae and spreads quickly. Robert McBain, beekeeper and owner of Worker & Hive Bee Supply in Calgary says it can be transmitted from colony to colony even if they are miles apart.

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American foulbrood spores are found in beekeepers' equipment and in beeswax, where they can survive for decades, underlines Robert McBain.

It's like it never ends.

A quote from Reece Chandler, beekeeper and owner of Scandia Honey

To get rid of it , beekeepers must burn the hives. It also involves killing the bees inside, so it's terrible, says Reece Chandler, beekeeper and owner of Scandia Honey in Alberta.

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Tests to detect American foulbrood.

Antibiotics also exist to fight American foulbrood. However, Robert McBain notes that growers are seeing resistance to antibiotics. Reece Chandler adds that their use can alter consumers' perceptions of bee products.

The financial consequences of American foulbrood can be considerable for beekeepers. According to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, the consequences of this disease could result in financial losses of up to $18.4 million in the province if left untreated.

The vaccine is incorporated into the food of the bees, who then pass it on to the queen by feeding her. The queen then passes on her immunity to the eggs she lays, which protects the larvae in the hive.

It's very exciting, says Reece Chandler, who will use this vaccine without hesitation.

We'd be crazy not to use all the tools we have in our trunk. It's already difficult to keep bees alive in Canada.

A quote from Reece Chandler, beekeeper and owner of Scandia Honey

According to him , this vaccine could also allow advances in the treatment of other diseases that affect bees, such as European foulbrood, which is increasingly widespread in Canada.

Distribution of this vaccine in Canada will begin in spring 2024.

With information from Dan McGarvey< /p>

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Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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