American Foulbrood

Although American Foulbrood (AFB) is not as common as EFB, it is the most serious and destructive brood disease of honey bees. It is caused by the spore-forming, gram + bacterium, Paenibacillus larvae, specific to honey bees. It is highly contagious and will weaken and ultimately kill most infected colonies. This bacterium can produce over one billion spores in each infected larva! What makes this disease so dangerous is that the spores are resistant to heat and chemical agents and can exist for decades in nature, in old equipment and in hive products. There is no cure; antibiotics are not a cure or a treatment for AFB, they have no impact on spores. I do not recommend antibiotics for the

European Foulbrood

This is an important bacterial disease caused by Melissococcus plutonius, a non-spore forming, gram + cocci. M. plutonius (named after the Roman god, Pluto) attacks young larvae in open cells, before they are capped. The young larvae twist in their cells and when they die appear yellowish brown. The consistency of dead larvae can vary, even appear melted, but they are not "ropey". The organism is transmitted in the brood food fed to the young larvae by the nurse bees. M. plutonius then multiplies in the developing gut and causes death within 3-4 days of egg hatching. When the house bees clean out the dead larvae the bacteria can rapidly spread within the hive. Robbing and contaminated e

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