This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

Search This Blog

Friday, June 2, 2017

European Foulbrood

There has been some European Foulbrood (EFB) being reported by several of my customers.
 European Foulbrood can come with a cool wet spring. This type of Foulbrood can clear up on its own. It does not leave scale that reinfects colonies. But treating with Terramycin clears up EFB very quickly.
 European Foulbrood responds well to Terramycin , an antibiotic.
Speaking of antibiotics, several beekeepers that have this problem tried to purchase some Terramycin to treat their bees. But there was a federal law change. and beekeepers can no longer purchase antibiotics without a veterinarian visiting the hive, looking at the hive, troubleshooting the disease, then writing a prescription.
The beekeepers with the sick bees called a few veterinarians to help them. Most were uninterested and did not know anything about what the brood diseases looked like anyway. So what traditionally was a problem that beekeepers fixed, now will cost them some major money to fix. A vet visit, a prescription, what is that going to cost. I can't imagine a vet doing a site visit for less then $100.00.
 I think the result of this law, while intended to keep antibiotics out of the food chain, will result in colonies going untreated and may cause widespread colony outbreaks on some infectious diseases such as American Foulbrood, because beekeepers will not pay that vet fee.
 I think a better solution is requiring beekeepers to get a comp card like a pesticide applicator would have to get. There is only a few diseases that beekeepers need antibiotics for.  So, a short course of disease identification is all that would be needed, a test to prove that a beekeeper is competent, and a card is issued. The card would give the beekeeper the license to purchase the antibiotic.
 By getting a vet involved in disease troubleshooting is bad business for beekeepers but good for vets. In my opinion, this sounds like a money grab by the Veterinarian political lobby. What is the next step, prescription for mite treatments and pollen patties? I think it is time to put some heat on our federal Congressmen and Senators .