The American Faulbrut removes offspring from colonies of whole bees. It is harmless to humans and adult bees. With medication, the disease can not be resolved.
Greifswald / Hohen Neuendorf (dpa) – The American Faulbrut regularly causes heavy damage in hives. "I view the disease as an unresolved problem for decades," said Elke Genersch, deputy director of the National Beekeeping Institute of Hohen Neuendorf.
In recent decades, the number of households in Germany has fluctuated between 140 in 2018 and 440 in 1998. These figures do not suggest a decline in the disease: since the 1950s, the notables have had ups and downs. but a harmless disease, explains the scientist.
Marc Schäfer notes at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute on the island of Riems, near Greifswald, a tendency to decrease the number of cases. He heads the National Reference Laboratory for Bee Diseases at the Federal Center for Animal Health Research. The reduction in the number of outbreaks brings Schäfer back to increased surveillance. "Surveillance has become better, including the education of beekeepers," says the scientist. For example, beekeepers have often selected – or randomly selected – samples for the early detection of brood disease.
The disease is caused by a bacterium with the pseudonym Paenibacillus larvae. If their spores enter a hive and are fed to the larvae during feeding, they die. If the workers do not remove the dead offspring, millions of new spores are created because the corresponding brood cell already has a wax cover. They are extremely resilient and can survive for 30 years or more.
According to Schäfer, a beekeeper can not immediately and immediately see what is happening. If suspected American Faulbrut, he must inform the veterinary authorities. Parts of the suspicion of the official veterinarian, it locks the apiary and takes samples. If suspicion is confirmed in the laboratory, a restricted area of at least one kilometer around the outbreak is established. Bee colonies can not enter or leave the restricted area.
The procedure varies from state to state: in some countries, such as Brandenburg, affected populations must be killed. The payment of the Tierseuchenkasse does not compensate the damage, admitted the shepherd. Elsewhere, restoration of the people is allowed, but not always possible. For this, the bees are shaken in a box cleaned on new frames. When they start building honeycomb structures, they are washed away several times until they are susceptible to being stimulated by construction and cleaning.
With drugs, the epidemic can not be fought – antibiotics are however not allowed in the EU. "Antibiotics do not kill spores," Schäfer says. "Where do the spurs come from, science does not fully respond to them." Bees, also from abroad, should only be sold with a health certificate Imported honey could contain spores. "But which beekeeper feeds honey?" Said Genersch. Most often, you have to survive the flight: healthy bees meet weakened people and steal their honey instead of collecting nectar. With that, they infect their offspring.
Friedrich Karl Tiesler, member of the Advisory Board for Crop Selection of the German Association of Beekeepers, considers that foreign honey infection is not so strange. Neglected apiaries could also be a source. Thanks to improved diagnostic methods in recent years, however, it is possible to control the brood.