Join the Fight to Protect Honeybees from Devastating Disease and Parasites
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Together, we can create a brighter future for these essential insects and the many plants and crops that rely on them. Take action for our pollinators!
Honeybees are an integral part of our natural world, serving as pollinators for a wide range of plants and crops. Without honeybees, our food supply would be severely impacted, as approximately one-third of the food we consume relies on pollination from bees1.
However, honeybees in the United States are facing a number of challenges that threaten their survival.
One major threat to honeybees is the use of pesticides, which can poison bees and disrupt their ability to pollinate. In addition, honeybees are also facing challenges from parasites and diseases, such as the varroa mite and American foulbrood2.
These pests and diseases can decimate entire colonies, leading to a decline in the overall population of honeybees.
However, there is new hope for our pollinators in the form of the first-ever vaccine for honeybees, developed by U.S. biotech firm Dalan Animal Health3. This vaccine, called "Apistan," has been shown to be effective in protecting honeybees against the varroa mite, a major cause of hive loss, as well as stop the spread of American foulbrood disease, caused by Paenibacillus larvae bacterium, which can weaken and destroy hives4.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for Apistan, which is incorporated into the royal jelly by the worker bees, who then feed it to the queen, Dalan maintains5.
"She ingests it, and fragments of the vaccine are deposited in her ovaries. Having been exposed to the vaccine, the developing larvae have immunity as they hatch," the company reports5.
Studies showed vaccinated queens were more resistant to infection and it provided immune protection for their offspring6. However, while the development of the Apistan vaccine is a significant step forward, it is important to note that it is not a silver bullet solution7.
Honeybees still face a number of challenges, and it will take a multifaceted approach to ensure their long-term survival. This may include efforts to reduce the use of pesticides, promote sustainable beekeeping practices, and protect habitat for bees.
Overall, the plight of honeybees in the United States is a complex issue, but with the development of the Apistan vaccine and other efforts to support these important insects, there is hope for a brighter future.
It is important to remember that honeybees are just one part of the larger ecosystem, and the health of other pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds, is also essential. These important insects are facing a number of challenges that threaten their survival, including the use of pesticides, habitat loss, and parasites and diseases8.
If we don't take action, we risk losing these vital pollinators forever.
Take the pledge to save honeybees and other pollinators from extinction!
- University of California - Berkeley (26 October 2006), "Pollinators Help One-third Of The World's Food Crop Production."
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (30 July 2018), "Understanding How Pesticide Exposure Affects Honey Bee Colonies."
- Megan Hernbroth, Axios (26 September 2022), "Dalan Animal Health raises $3.6M for honeybee vaccine."
- Oliver Milman, The Guardian (4 January 2023), "US government approves use of world’s first vaccine for honeybees."
- Ian Murphy, Business Wire (4 January 2023), "First-in-Class Honeybee Vaccine Receives Conditional License from the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics."
- Franziska Dickel, Nick Maria Peter Bos, Huw Hughes, Raquel Martín-Hernández, Mariano Higes, Annette Kleiser and Dalial Freitak, Frontiers in Veterinary Science, Veterinary Infectious Diseases (17 October 2022), "The oral vaccination with Paenibacillus larvae bacterin can decrease susceptibility to American Foulbrood infection in honey bees—A safety and efficacy study."
- Ayana Archie, NPR (6 January 2023), "A biotech firm says the U.S. has approved its vaccine for honeybees."
- Kathleen Wong, Natural Reserve System (16 January 2018), "Role of honey bees in ecosystem pollination."
I understand that honeybees are an integral part of our natural world, serving as pollinators for a wide range of plants and crops, and they are currently facing massive threats to their survival from parasites and disease.
I acknowledge that if we don't take action, we risk losing these vital pollinators forever.
As such, I pledge to:
- Reduce my use of pesticides: Pesticides can be harmful to honeybees and other pollinators. I will consider using alternative methods for pest control in my garden or on my property.
- Plant a pollinator-friendly garden: By choosing plants that provide nectar and pollen for pollinators, I can create a haven for bees and other insects. Native plants are often the best choice, as they are adapted to the local climate and provide resources for a wide range of pollinators.
- Support sustainable beekeeping practices: I will consider supporting beekeepers who use sustainable practices, such as natural hive management and treatment of bees with non-toxic methods.
- Educate yourself and others: The more we understand about the challenges facing honeybees and other pollinators, the better equipped we will be to take action to help them. I will consider learning more about these issues and sharing what I learn with others.
- Get involved in advocacy efforts: There are many organizations that are working to protect honeybees and other pollinators, including Greater Good Charities and Project Peril and I can support their efforts by advocating for change at the local, state, and national level. Project Peril, a signature program of Greater Good Charities, is helping beekeepers on the ground provide supplemental feed of sugar and pollen where honeybees live. Project Peril is committed to saving ALL bee populations working with the best non-profits to help plant bee-friendly forage and raise awareness on the importance of bees.
By taking these simple steps, we can all make a difference in the fight to save honeybees and other critical pollinators from disappearing forever.