World’s First Vaccine for Honeybees Approved

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made a significant advancement in the mission to save honeybees and will be using the world’s first vaccine produced to protect the insects from American foulbrood disease. Caused by the bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, it’s a fatal disease for bees that’s easily spread between hives and has been devastating for honeybee colonies. Developed by the US-based biotech company Dalan Animal Health, the vaccine works by “incorporating some of the bacteria into the royal jelly fed by worker bees to the queen, which then ingests it and gains some of the vaccine in the ovaries. The developing bee larvae then have immunity to foulbrood as they hatch.” (Previously, the only solution has been to incinerate affected hives.) The vaccine will be made available to commercial beekeepers first. This is a huge step in saving bees, insects that are essential to “ecosystems and human food security and [the] health” of plants, animals and humans. Read more at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of Unsplash/Brad Weaver