For the record, if my hive came down with AFB, I'm pretty sure it's required that I burn it. My question is more about terramycin prophylaxis.
I am not a huge fan of using antibiotics widely in any livestock operation, largely because this is how resistance evolves and transmits resistant, incurable infections to humans. Prophylaxis simply speeds up the rate at which bacteria become resistant, it's really a non-ideal situation.
Has anyone ever looked into bacteriophage treatment for the Paenibacillus larvae bacteria? Bacteriophage was used for decades as a treatment for human bacterial infections in Soviet Russia, especially in areas where the supply chain was disrupted enough that antibiotics couldn't be shipped there. A smallish lab can easily cook up quite a lot of phage, and it is highly specific--completely harmless to humans or even to any human symbiotic bacteria. The yogurt bacteria living in your guts would be perfectly safe, even if you drank a quart of the stuff. Phage can be shipped freeze-dried and reconstituted like any vaccine that is currently sold OTC for veterinary use. Phage can be mixed to treat several common bacterial diseases at once, and inaccurate dosing isn't a huge issue; the phage will multiply to kill any of the Paenibacillus it contacts, and any excess will dry up and die. The old USSR hospitals used to mix several phages for the most common local diseases with saline and use that to spray down operating room equipment before surgery, it is very effective.
The only reason phage therapies haven't been commercialized very much is mostly for patent protection reasons. Although I think there are a few startup companies currently working on applications for biofilm-type infections, the problem is that it was in use for so long, and is so easy to make, that it's hard to get any intellectual property or licensing deals. But when it comes to prophylactic dosing and using substances that don't affect humans at all, it seems like phage would be a much better choice than terramycin, from a standpoint of pharmaceutical residues in food.
Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Criticisms?