USDA Approves World’s First Honeybee Vaccine


In a move that could help one of the most important pollinators on the planet, the US Department of Agriculture approved the first vaccine developed in the United States to combat the global decline in honeybee populations. The vaccine may be available later this year. The vaccine targets the bacteria that are attributed to the worldwide decline in honeybee population.

The company Dalan Animal Health received approval for its preventative vaccine against American foulbrood disease, an aggressive bacterium that can quickly spread from hive to hive.

About one third of the fruit and vegetables Americans consume are made possible by honeybees. Climate change, habitat loss, pesticide use, and disease have all contributed to dramatic population declines in recent years. Dead Paenibacillus larvae, the disease-causing bacteria, are present in the vaccine.

According to Trevor Tauzer, a member of the board of the California State Beekeepers Association, the approval is an exciting step forward for beekeepers and paves the way for additional vaccines that are focused on controlling harmful viruses and pests globally.

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According to Trevor Tauzer, if they are able to decrease the infection rate, then they can steer  costly treatments and concentrate on other essential aspects of maintaining their bees’ health.

This vaccine does not inject bees with a small syringe. Dalan, on the other hand, incorporates the vaccine into royal jelly, a sugar feed that is given to queen bees. These queen bees then produce worker bees that inherit immunity to the pathogen.

According to Keith Delaplane, director of the Bee Program at the University of Georgia, there is evidence that immunized worker bees may transmit immunity to their sisters, similar to how lactating mothers transmit immunity to their infants through breastmilk.


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