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USDA Approves Use of World’s 1st Vaccine for Honey Bees

The United States has approved the use of the world's first honey bee vaccine. It was designed to protect bee colonies from American foulbrood disease, a bacterial infection that attacks bee larvae and weakens colonies.

Shivam Dwivedi
Bees are an important part of the biodiversity on which we all rely for survival.
Bees are an important part of the biodiversity on which we all rely for survival.

"Bees play an important role in many aspects of the ecosystem as pollinators. The vaccine could be a breakthrough in honey bee protection," according to Dalan Animal Health CEO Annette Kleiser. It works by introducing an inactive version of the bacteria into the royal jelly fed to the queen, resulting in immunity for the queen's larvae.


According to the biotech firm behind its development, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a conditional licence for the vaccine this week. According to the United Nations FAO, pollinators such as bees, birds, and bats account for roughly one-third of global crop production.

According to the USDA, annual reductions in honey bee colonies have occurred in the United States since 2006. Many factors, some of which overlap, threaten honey bee health, including parasites, pests, and disease, as well as a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder, which occurs when worker bees abandon a hive and leave the queen behind.​


According to the biotech firm that specializes in insect health and immunology, the bacteria are incorporated into royal jelly feed given by worker bees to the queen bee, who then ingests the feed and retains some of the vaccine in her ovaries. It is claimed that this gives bee larvae immunity to the disease as they hatch, reducing illness-related death.

The new vaccine could be a 'exciting step forward for beekeepers,' according to California State Beekeepers Association board member Trevor Tauzer.

"If we can avoid costly treatments and focus our energy on other important aspects of keeping our bees healthy," he said.


Dalan plans to distribute the vaccine to commercial beekeepers 'on a limited basis,' and the product will most likely be available for purchase in the United States this year.


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