Honey Bee Health Coalition releases information to help beekeepers, veterinarians manage foulbrood

The Honey Bee Health Coalition unveiled a new resource for beekeepers today — an information sheet for hive management decisions related to American Foulbrood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB).

An expert team of beekeepers, entomologists, apiary inspectors and federal regulators produced and reviewed Identifying and Mitigating Foulbrood in Honey Bee Colonies and Reducing the Use of Antibiotics: Information for Beekeepers and Veterinarians. The guide articulates what AFB and EFB are, how to test for them and what to do if a colony has either disease.

“As an inspector in Texas, I found there was a lot of confusion about how to tell if you had foulbrood and what to do if you thought you had it,” said Mary Reed with Apiary Inspectors of America. “In the past, beekeepers have treated prophylactically with antibiotics for foulbrood, but with the new Veterinary Feed Directive the availability of these treatments has changed, and thus beekeepers have needed to adjust their management practices.”

Antibiotics can be used as a last resort for European Foulbrood, but they are an ineffective treatment for American Foulbrood because they simply mask symptoms. Using antibiotics before foulbrood signs are shown can lead to widespread resistance to the class of drugs and the potential for these important tools to be less effective for humans in the future.

The new information is aimed at beekeepers and veterinarians. It provides practical, easy-to-follow information for these fairly complicated diseases and is being released at a time when hives are often susceptible to foulbrood.

To view or download the guide, visit https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/foulbrood.