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Author Topic: AFB -- can treatment prevent it?  (Read 3440 times)
twb
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« on: August 27, 2007, 06:01:34 PM »

The recent AFB postings have reminded me of a question.  My mentor/friend treats with terramycin as a preventative for AFB.  Another beek I respect says never use tm because it only masks the symptoms of AFB.  It seems I could be the cleanest beek in the world and still get AFB from the other guy who has hives one  mile away from me.  Is it a roll of the dice whether you treat or not? And why do people say once you treat with tm you must always do so?  Is it because without treatment I would noticea mild outbreak of AFB but if I treat and then stop treating I could by then have many spores and not know it so when I stop treatment I could have a major outbreak?  I have a few weeks to decide but I struggle a bit with this decision of treating with terramycin or not.  Thoughts?  Thankyou.
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annette
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« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 06:59:28 PM »

From my understanding, you would not take an antibiotic if you weren't sick. Same for the bees. Why give medicine if they are not sick. I think everything is a risk, but I would leave healthy bees alone as much as possible. I am trying to go as natural as possible with the bees.

See what others say as I am sure you will get many opinions. When it comes to beekeeping you have to make decisions for yourself and trust your intuition, after receiving the many different answers you will receive.

Good luck

Annette



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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 10:38:34 PM »

I say treat now so you dont have to burn equipment later.
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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 06:29:27 AM »

annette, i think or should i say, some say bees have all virouses on them all the time, it's just the matter of corcumstances if the disease will develope, that's why terramycin is used prior to serious infection.
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 07:24:28 AM »

For the record, an antibiotic does nothing for viral infections.  As for treating when there is no disease present, that flies in the face of all logic used when prescribing antibiotics for everything else, why are bees any different?  The over- or inappropriate use of antibiotics is what breeds resistance.  Don't use antibiotics unless they are necessary, that way they'll maintain their effectiveness.
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 07:26:58 AM »

As with mites however you must keep this in mind.  Terramycin is not the silver bullet of AFB.  Some of the commercial Beeks in this area have AFB that has become resistant to Terramycin.  IMHO It should be used with great care.  

Sometimes destroying an entire colony of bees is the only way to keep the really really resistant pests away from the rest of the local colonies.
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 05:46:00 PM »

Thanks for those of you who have responded so far.  Note there a couple of other related questions in my original post which still beg comment.  Keep talking if you don't mind.  I feel like I could go either way.
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2007, 07:01:50 PM »

i am pondering the same question.  here, they treat each fall.  i think the reasoning behind it is that if your bees are exposed to terramycin sensitive bacteria, you can kill it early by treating.  if you do not treat, you will have such a problem by the time it is visible, you will have no solution but to destroy your hive.

as for always needing to treat if you treat once, i have not heard that.  you would not have the same bees from year to year, so the only reason i can see this would hold, would be if you have bacteria in the hive.

i know i have a commercial beekeeper not far from me.  i also have a couple of hobby beekeepers in the immediate area.  i am leaning toward treating.  one outbreak around here and we all could be infected. 

that's as far as i have gotten in my thinking smiley
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« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2007, 07:20:31 PM »

It seems I could be the cleanest beek in the world and still get AFB from the other guy who has hives one mile away from me. 
This is true, and in theory terramycin would prevent your hive from becoming infected.

Is it a roll of the dice whether you treat or not?  
No, not a roll of the dice, a rational decision based on a good understanding of the issues.[/quote]

And why do people say once you treat with tm you must always do so?  Is it because without treatment I would noticea mild outbreak of AFB but if I treat and then stop treating I could by then have many spores and not know it so when I stop treatment I could have a major outbreak? 
I  don't it's so much noticing a mild outbreak, but rather if you start treating when you have an infection, some bacteria will already be in spore form and not be killed by the antibiotic. Then, when you stop treating, the infection reappears.

Many people are in the dark about antibiotics. For years after its discovery, doctors gave you penicillin to treat every sniffle, the flu, stomach ache etc. Patients demanded it and no one knew that each does gave the bacteria a chance to develop resistance. Some farmers still give it in feed and in shots to their livestock. No antibiotic is 100% effective, so some bacteria always survive. The more times bacteria are hit with it, the more you kill off the susceptible ones and encourage the growth of the resistant ones.

So now, nearly every bad bacteria out there is resistant to penicillin. (Well, some have actually lost resistance because we don't use penicillin much, but that's another story). The cumulative effect of overusing antibiotics is this: Hospitals all over the world are struggling against some nasty bacteria that are resistant to almost every antibiotic known to man. There are still a couple of high-power antibiotics that will kill some. But the recent scare about the guy with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis that made national news is pretty scary to me. Some TB is almost unstoppable.

In my opinion, as beekeepers we are foolish to dose bees with antibiotics when they are healthy because all we do is give the AFB bacterium (P. larvae) the opportunity to become resistant. To me, it makes the most sense to approach managing AFB this way.

Don't treat as a preventive. If you get an infection, move bees to brand new frames and foundation in a clean, disinfected hivebody. Give them an empty frame of drawn comb to deposit honey from their gut. Remove this frame after a day or two. Treat these bees with terramycin to clear out any live bacteria they may carry. Burn or otherwise heat disinfect the contaminated equipment. (See my post yesterday on heat disinfection. I think frame parts could be done effectively in a home oven.)

The medical community is slowly learning that to combat things like surgical infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia (things folks thought we can't prevent) requires more than one approach for the best outcome. Dealing with AFB is no different.

That, however, is a lot more work than feeding bees a steady diet of antibiotics, which is why we'll probably get multi-drug resistant AFB sooner or later.

I wish there was more funding for research into effective methods for disinfecting hives or hive bodies. I'm especially interested in the notion that polystyrene hives have a smoother surface and thus fewer place to hide, which might make them easier to clean with lye solution. I would love to see real scientific studies on this.

Kev



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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2007, 08:16:54 PM »

>The recent AFB postings have reminded me of a question.  My mentor/friend treats with terramycin as a preventative for AFB.  Another beek I respect says never use tm because it only masks the symptoms of AFB.

All the experts I know are now recommending not to treat with terramycin as it has only created TM resistant AFB.

>  It seems I could be the cleanest beek in the world and still get AFB from the other guy who has hives one  mile away from me.

Strong hygienic bees don't usually get AFB.

>  Is it a roll of the dice whether you treat or not? And why do people say once you treat with tm you must always do so?

I did the first two years and then quit.  But the problem is that you could be masking it's presence and so you'd never know until you quite.

> Is it because without treatment I would noticea mild outbreak of AFB but if I treat and then stop treating I could by then have many spores and not know it so when I stop treatment I could have a major outbreak?

Exactly.

> I have a few weeks to decide but I struggle a bit with this decision of treating with terramycin or not.  Thoughts?  Thankyou.

I quit treating 31 years ago and have never done it since.  I've also never had AFB in any of my hives.  I have seen it a few times in other peoples hives.
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Michael Bush
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carol ann
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2007, 08:53:44 PM »

Just me,
I am on tail end of loosing what I have to AFB, BUT, I really do not want to have to treat in the future.
 I would like to actually have some honey I can enjoy too! And Kick Butt bees!
I agree both with Kev and Mr. Bush's comments.
Deal with the AFB IF it appears. It is not going anywhere.
I will continue next season with hygienic bees.
Carol Ann
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2007, 12:56:05 AM »


Strong hygienic bees don't usually get AFB.


I have never heard this before, AFB is spores and a disease if hygienic bee's dont get it then someone could sale AFB resistant bee's, I dont think these exist, but I have been wrong before....


AFB can be treated for good, If one of my hive ever got it this is how I would treat them

seal up hive, pore gas and light it up then want have to ever treat it again, if you get a hive that has AFB and treat it with antibiotics then every hive you have will have to be treated, 1 hive can effect all, best to do is destroy the bee's and the hive.. just my 2 cents worth......
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2007, 07:49:29 AM »

>  It seems I could be the cleanest beek in the world and still get AFB from the other guy who has hives one  mile away from me.

Strong hygienic bees don't usually get AFB.


Michael you mention an execellent point of using hygenic bees.

Would you please explain to everyone what hygenic bees means?
Possibly include how to test for hygenic bees?

From my understanding the trait of hygenic bees is a recessive trait rather than a dominant trait.  So if we beeks start breeding for recessive traits could we actually cause another problem down the road?
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2007, 10:45:06 AM »

while i agree with the general thought about over treating, i do not think that the idea of treating when you see it, is logical with AFB.  by then, it is probably to late.

it seems to me that the decision to treat, (or not) must be taken before the disease is apparent.  also, the fear of honey contamination is unwarranted.  you would not be treating at the time of honey production.  the antibiotic does not remain in residence after treatment, nor will it be in the gut of the bees by spring.  even if some were in the honey overwintered, that honey would be used to feed new brood in the spring and be out of the hive by the time market honey was stored.

then you have to take into consideration the other factors.  local outbreaks.  other beekeepers and their practices.  the possibility of creating antibiotic resistant disease, although i think this is not likely with once yearly treatment.  your own past outbreaks.......
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2007, 09:59:15 PM »

>If hygienic bee's dont get it then someone could sale AFB resistant bee's

Which they do.  Try Minnesota Hygienic bees.

>I dont think these exist, but I have been wrong before....

The original work on hygienic behavior and it's affect on AFB was done by by O.W. Park starting in about 1934.  He and his team bred AFB resistant queens for 15 years.  They would inoculate hives with AFB scale and during the course of the breeding program, the percentage of AFB inoculated colonies that became diseased dropped from 70% when they started to 10% at the end of 5 years and to 0% t the end of 15 years.

This work was followed up by Rothenbuhler with his AFB resistant breeding program in 1954.  Then everyone just started using Terramycin instead and the program was dropped

This work was the inspiration for Marla Spivak and the Minnesota Hygienic bees.

Hygienic behavior is when bees sense that a larva is not well and chew it out and remove it before the disease reproduces.  In the case of chalkbrood and AFB that is before it forms spores.

Testing for Hygienic behavior involves killing a patch of brood (usually with liquid nitrogen) and timing how long it takes the bees to uncap and remove the dead brood.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2007, 10:04:58 PM »

I just found this:
http://www.tnbeekeepers.org/pubs/Hygienic%2520behavior%2520November%25202000.pdf

Look for the section by Marla Spivak and Gary Rueter.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2007, 08:09:04 AM »

That is great.  During one of our exciting beekeeping meetings here in the KC area they had a demonstration from a professor in Nebraska or maybe it was Iowa.  I cant remember now.  Regardless. 

He used a 2inch diameter PVC pipe cut about 4 inches long.  Jammed it into the sealed brood area of one frame.  Then filled the tube with the liquid Nitrogen.  He stated that if the colony removes all the brood from the circle in a 24 hr period then they are considered to be hygenic bees. 

In which case the demo hive was a hygenic colony as he showed the previous days demo frame.  He also stated that sometimes if you pour to much liquid nitrogen in the tube it can kill the brood on the other side.  Now the question is, how do the average beekeepers obtain and safely transport the liquid nitrogen.

My guess is a good SS thermos would do the trick once you find a place to sell it to you.
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« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2007, 08:30:25 AM »

I think you can go to welding supply shops and purchase the stuff. Just probably not in small quantities.
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« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2007, 10:49:44 AM »

I just found this:
http://www.tnbeekeepers.org/pubs/Hygienic%2520behavior%2520November%25202000.pdf

Look for the section by Marla Spivak and Gary Rueter.



Thats some good reading. learn something every day
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2007, 07:19:06 PM »


My guess is a good SS thermos would do the trick once you find a place to sell it to you.

Most drugstores have it now as part of a wart treating kit. It comes in a can with a spray nozzle like a computer keyboard duster.

kev
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