World’s First Vaccine Approved for Honeybees

Honey bee (Apis mellifera), Cumnor Hill, Oxford. Source: Wikimedia.

What’s the Buzz all About?

In case you missed this fascinating news, the world’s first vaccine for honeybees has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)! Developed by the Georgia-based biotech company Dalan Animal Health, the vaccine targets the destructive American foulbrood bacteria and is administered to the queen as a food (royal jelly). The immunity in the queen is then passed on to all the offspring she produces.

So What?

There is global decline in pollinators. Since 2006, scientists have noticed collapse of honeybee colonies, a problem that still persists now. The USDA estimates that over 100 U.S. grown crops rely on pollinators, such as honeybees . This innovative new technology is a powerful new tool to help protect bee colonies and other pollinators. The technology has implications for fighting other pathogens in bees, or might even be adaptable to other insect species.