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USDA approves new honeybee vaccine


Honeybees are a hot topic when it comes to pollinators. And, while they’re not known for being the best pollinators, they’re still a critical component of agriculture, and they’re being affected by the bacterial disease known as American foulbrood.

In the past, there hasn’t been an effective prevention to protect bees against American foulbrood. The aggressive bacterium, Paenibacillus, is known for spreading quickly from hive to hive, with the only current treatment method being the incineration of the affected hive, bees, and equipment. 

Image by Beekeepx, Shutterstock

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However, a new vaccine created by a Georgia biotech company aims to control American foulbrood through their new prophylactic vaccine. Dalan Animal Health Inc. received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a conditional license from the Center for Veterinary Biologics earlier this month.

According to news reports, Trevor Tauzer, owner of Tauzer Apiaries and a California State Beekepers Association member, said, “This is an exciting step forward for beekeepers, as we rely on antibiotic treatment that has limited effectiveness and requires lots of time and energy to apply to our hives.”

Tauzer continued, “If we can prevent an infection in our hives, we can avoid costly treatments and focus our energy on other important elements of keeping our bees healthy.”

The new vaccine will be manufactured by Diamond Animal Health, distributed on a limited basis to commercial beekeepers, and available for purchase in the United States in 2023. 

The vaccine’s administration method is particularly interesting. According to Dalan, the vaccine is administered in the form of food to the bees. Incorporated into royal jelly, the sugary substance is ingested by bees, depositing in the queen’s ovaries giving the hive’s newly developign larvae immunity once they hatch. 

“We are committed to providing innovative solutions to protect our pollinators and promote sustainable agriculture. Global population growth and changing climates will increase the importance of honeybee pollination to secure our food supply. Our vaccine is a breakthrough in protecting honeybees. We are ready to change how we care for insects, impacting food production on a global scale,” said Dr. Annette Kleiser, CEO of Dalan Animal Health.

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