Researchers in Sweden said Friday they had developed a new medicine to protect bees from diseases that kill entire populations of the insect in the US and Europe.
“The bacteria in this product is active against both American and European foulbrood disease,” Dr Alejandra Vasquez, who co-developed the product, told
AFP. Foulbrood is the fatal bacterial disease which threatens bees.
“We hope that beekeepers will see this as a good preventative medicine so that they can avoid using antibiotics.”
The researchers, who worked on the medicine for nearly ten years, planned
to launch it at an annual conference of beekeepers in Russia on Saturday.
In a statement from the university, co-researcher Dr Tobias Olofsson said it was “the only existing product that boosts bees’ natural immune system”, as resistance to antibiotics grows.
Pesticides, parasites, stress and poor nutrition are believed to be some of the factors causing a deterioration of the immune systems of bees around the world, making them more susceptible to disease.