There are several items that need to be brought to the attention of Illinois local bee clubs before we can get a newsletter out. Since you are listed as a contact person for your local association, please share this info with your local beekeepers.
- Terramycin (Tylan) is the only antibiotic approved to treat European Foulbrood in Illinois. As of Jan 1, 2017, this antibiotic can only be purchased with a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD- a Rx from a licensed veterinarian) and must specify the species, how it is to be used, and is only valid for 6 months. The US Food and Drug Administration is working to develop bee disease training for interested veterinarians (I think it is www.beevet.org or .com). I would encourage all clubs to establish a working relationship with a local veterinarian(s) to work with. If you have a vet in your club, you are one of the lucky ones! Fumagellin is not required to have a VFD.
- The Illinois Department of Ag Apiary Inspectors have seen an somewhat alarming increase in European Foulbrood in the last 2-3 years, and are considering additional regulations to try to control this disease. The ISBA Board met with IL Apiary Inspectors in Dec to work out possible options from isolation and treatment to burning of hives (same as for American Foulbrood). We will continue to work with IL Dept of Ag to come up with solutions, possibly including additional regulations, to attempt to bring this under control.
- There are likely 2 major factors in European Foulbrood spread – the first is Varroa, so please have all members monitor hives closely for Varroa and treat when necessary (call an apiary inspector if you need help with this topic), and the second is the use of used equipment for nucs, and selling and trading of used equipment that may have European Foulbrood bacteria already in the frames and foundations. Please encourage all beekeepers , especially new beekeepers and nuc producers, to purchase new equipment rather than try to get by with used equipment – not a popular subject, but is rapidly becoming a necessity and will increase the cost of beekeeping (but so do dead bees)!!
- I’m hearing reports from many parts of the country about very high bee losses this winter (including my colonies), so bee packages may be in shorter supply this spring.
Dale Hill, PhD, PAS
Illinois State Beekeepers Association