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It’s a beekeeper’s nightmare: She lifts the lid on her carefully tended hive and is greeted with a whiff of rotting flesh. Further inspection finds that the young bees of the colony, who should be plump, pearly-white larvae, have melted into a puddle of brownish goo at the bottom of their cells. This colony is infected with American foulbrood disease—most likely a death sentence.

Meredith Swett Walker

If she’s very lucky, she may be able to save the colony with a course of antibiotics, but the drugs don’t always work, and the disease is highly contagious. To save nearby colonies from infection, the beekeeper may be required burn the entire hive, bees and all.

American foulbrood disease, or AFB, is caused by the Paenibacillus larvae bacterium, a difficult-to-control and highly destructive pathogen found worldwide. In a study published last week in the open-access Journal of Insect Science, Israel Alvarado, Ph.D., and colleagues at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), explore whether blocking the germination of P. larvae spores is an effective way to treat this infection.

Read full article at: A Potential New Tool in the Battle Against a Bee-Killing Bacteria — Entomology Today