Between editing videos for this website, I’ve been checking out my University colonies to see how they are doing. Not good. We (Dr. John Skinner, Philip Moore, and I) found American Foulbrood in all UTK apiaries and are currently attempting to eradicate it, or our bees, whichever comes first. This bacterial disease is rare in Tennessee with only a few cases reported each year.
Figure 1 and 2 are some pictures from the clean up effort. Click here for the large version of Figure 1.
One reason this is rare in Tennessee may be explained by a well organized state inspection program conducted by Michael Studer. He inspects every single colony owned by anyone producing bees in our state to ensure bees being sold or moved are free of this regulated disease. This is the first AFB occurrence in Tennessee this year. The control method is pictured in Figure 2.
Some beekeepers treat their colonies with prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics twice per year to prevent American Foulbrood symptoms from occurring. If the use of antibiotics improved these beekeeper’s overall success we might predict beekeepers using antibiotics might loose fewer bees than beekeepers whom did not use antibiotics. Results from the 2011 National Management Survey suggest otherwise. In the vlog below, Dennis vanEnglesdorp explains how beekeepers that used antibotics did not loose fewer colonies in winter than those who did not use antibiotics.
BUT, what about summer time losses? Its now spring and this disease is challenging our bees now, not in the fall. This year’s National Management Survey also includes questions about summer losses. So take this survey and we may be able to ask, “Do beekeepers that use antibiotics loose fewer colonies in the summer than beekeepers that do not use antibiotics?” Click the Participate Now button upper right to help.