What is American Foulbrood?

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Recently, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine for honeybees to curb American foulbrood (AFB).

What is American Foulbrood?

  • It is a fatal bacterial disease which affects insects and it is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae. 
  • Infected honeybee broods usually die at the pre-pupal or pupal stage.
  • The disease cannot be cured, meaning that the destruction of infected colonies and hives or irradiation of infected material is the only way to manage AFB. 


What are the key facts about honeybees?

  • There are almost 20,000 different species of bees in the world.
  • In each bee colony, there are three types of bees, the queen bee, the worker bee, and the drone. 
  • The worker and the queen bee both are females, but only the queen bee can reproduce and all drones are male. 
  • India is home to four of the seven known bee species.
    • Domesticated: Apis cerana (oriental honey bee) and Apis mellifera (European honey bee). 
    • Wild: Apis dorsata (giant/rock honey bee) and Apis florea (dwarf honey bee). 
    • Recently, a new species of endemic honeybee named Apis karinjodian has been discovered in the Western Ghats after a gap of more than 200 years. 
    • Common Name: Indian black honeybee. 
    • IUCN Red List: Near Threatened (NT) 
    • It is distributed from the central Western Ghats and Nilgiris to the southern Western Ghats, covering the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


Q1) What is Project RE-HAB?

Project RE-HAB stands for Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees. It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC). It intends to create “bee fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.

Source: World’s first vaccine for honeybees gets conditional nod in US