First Honeybee Vaccine Approved
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) more than 100 U.S. crops depend on pollination by honeybees and other insects. Safeguarding commercial honeybee colonies is critical to food production as there has been an alarming population decline in wild species due to habitat loss, pesticide use and the climate crisis.
Recently, the USDA granted a two-year, conditional license for a vaccine that protects honeybees from American foulbrood disease (AFB), a widespread, destructive ailment. The non-GMO inoculation will initially be available to commercial beekeepers and can be used in organic agriculture.
Prior to this booster, the only treatment method for AFB required beekeepers to burn the infected hives and equipment. According to vaccine manufacturer Dalan Animal Health, their vaccination is incorporated into the royal jelly, which worker bees feed to the queen. Once ingested, fragments of the treatment are deposited in the queen’s ovaries, providing developing larvae AFB immunity as they hatch.