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  1. #61
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    I believe that the Apairy Inspection Programs grew out of a need to gain some control on the epidemic numbers of AFB cases in colonies in the early 20th Century. At one time the Beekeeping Industry was a very important part of the Agricultural Industry of the United States.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  2. #62
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Like I said, the current standard practice is to burn.

    However, I wonder what the results of the study I've linked to (but haven't gotten a hold of) might say.

    Also, don't forget about the RNAi field trials that are occurring. So, things can change.

  3. #63
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    If one's first inclination is not to burn, then medication would probably be the next thing one might choose to do. Then would come the problem of knowing which colonies to treat and which to burn.

    In some cases, very mild cases respond well to being left alone. The one cell infections found in a strong colony. I have seen that happen a number of time.

    When I have inspected colonies and found a colony which had lots of bees and lots of brood and one cell of AFB. I sampled it for Lab Confirmation and Issued a Quarantine and Abatement Order. Weeks later, after Lab Confirmation returned I went to see about arranging a burn. I rechecked the colony and could not find any sign of AFB.

    Being as the colony was marked w/ a sticker and by crayon, and knowing the beekeeper, I got approval to leave the colony be and to recheck it later in the season, before it would be moved south. I did recheck and no AFB was present. So, it does happen.
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  4. #64
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    A simple method other than dig a hole-which is back breaking work in drought stricken soil-is to load the colony up after euthanizing it. Bring it back to the home area and place super by super in a lit burning barrell. The hot wax is an extreme fire, carmelizes, carbonizes all honey in the comb that melts and drips into the fire. The spot of the four way pallet where the colony was sitting is sprayed with a garden sprayer containing bleach. This is allowed to soak into the wood. Thus killing every microbe that was there. Colony has been burned, area it was sitting soaked--end of story, No worries. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  5. #65
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaBees View Post
    So, once you have hives that have been treated with antibiotics, how do you go back into not depending on antibiotics?
    Excellent question and one that I think most have been most curious about...

    A proper treatment of TM during spring and fall can indeed clean up an infection within a hive, but as we all know, that infection can return with the next great stress, such as a full chamber split or heavy mite load...

    So let's look at where the endospores were hiding so that they were unable to be destroyed by the antibiotics...

    The main hiding place is within the stores, honey being the greatest as a bee bread mainly appears to be effected positively by the treatment...

    So how could you get ALL of the spores with a treatment when you always have honey within the hive? That basically comes down to timing... of course you would not want to treat during any type of flow and you will want the treatment to go in during the early build up in spring so that it will be taken up immediately by the nurses that in turn will be feeding the brood, but you will always have the concern of that honey that's still capped and going to be fed to the next waves of brood... the fall treatment is not always enough either, and thus the reason that serious infections are better off being burned than treated... for mild infections a treatment may be sufficient, so long as the timing is consistent with the lowest amount of stores and a good nurse presence in order to take in as much of the antibiotics as possible before they lose their effectiveness due to the elements... for a single cell infection, as Mark said, the bees can usually clean it up and only about 1 in 60 cases will actually move from the single cell state to the mild infection state... however, catching a single cell infection is a wonderful opportunity to go ahead and treat in order to keep the infection from having the chance to advance...

    About the treatment options...

    Burning- the most positive and effective way to remove an infection... as P. Larvae endospores and vegetative cells are both destroyed by the high temperatures of fire, this method will allow you to wash your hands of the matter and sleep well at night... it appears to be costly, but in actuality, the monetary damage is about the same as having to treat 50 hives twice with a high power treatment... so larger operations simply attack the problem at the source and this limits their chances of having to repeat the process in the future... this is especially important when walk away splits are used to make increase... when a split fails to get started, it can be robbed out and thus any hive in the apiary can be taking in the spores if it were from a hive that had been treated, but still had safely hidden spores within its honey stores...

    TM- brand: terramycin, active ingredient: Oxytetracycline - this antibiotic is the base for multiple products that are available on the market today and although the label indicates that it is "recommended fro the CONTROL of American Foulbrood caused by Paenbacillus Larvae and European Foulbrood caused by Streptococcus Pluton" (also a large issue with livestock especially chickens)... TM can be obtained in several forms... direct powdered form for very large operations or patty producers, pre-mixed powdered pollen substitutes, and patty form... the heavy use of this antibiotic alone as a prevention instead of treatment over the years has caused some regions to have the genotypes H-1 and H-2 of P. Larvae have developed a substantial resistance to the antibiotic... these resistances are not seen nationwide, but more so in particular sporadic cases... even still, it is a scary thought to consider that the cause of a disease is being made stronger when we are already facing so much stress these days... the many products with this antibiotic in them are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, so many continue to use them as regular preventative instead of inspecting and treating issues when they arise... that said, it is still an effective treatment for single cell to mild infections... so long as the infection is not of endospores from TM resistant P. Larvae...

    Tylosin- brand: tylan, active ingredient: Tylosin Tartrate - an antibiotic treatment that was produced in order to address the concerns of the industry after the finding of TM resistances... Tylosin is available currently in only one form, direct powdered form because of its very short shelf life... it is sold in containers of 100g amounts and requires immediate use after the container is opened... Tylosin must be mixed with a carrier agent before it can be administered to colonies as a treatment... the recommended mix is 22#s of powdered sugar to 100g of Tylosin... this is easily mixed in a five gallon bucket and stirred with a mixing bit on a drill... a few tablespoons of the mix is then applied on the top bars of the brood chamber (again not during or right before a flow)... this is repeated every 7 days for 3 treatments...

    Heavy treatment- a mix used by many large commercial operations on mild infections... Tetra-Bee mix 2X (produced by dadant) is a powdered pollen sub with an active ingredient of TM at a rate of 5g per pound of mix...22 pounds of this mix is used in place of the powdered sugar in the Tylosin mixture... so the created product is a low grade TM with standard grade Tylosin... a few table spoons of this is dusted along the top bars of the brood chamber and this is repeated every 5 days for 3 treatments...

    Again, by listing the methods used for treating I am not advocating the use of the treatments for any infection levels above a single cell infection... although the treatments can be effective in ridding the colony of an infection without having a return infection, the most important thing is that you learn to identify an infection, inspect thoroughly, and act accordingly when you do get an infection...

  6. #66
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Robert, let me answer the question for the man in simple terms---You do not....once AFB is found in your operation and you have use antibiotic therapy for cure or clean up. You had best stay on a twice a year antibiotic schedule for prevention. Every now and then we will take a yard or two off the treatment schedule to see what pops up. We destroyed 4 hives this year with the stuff over the entire operation. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  7. #67
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Is it wrong to think of TM or Tylosin as similar to a booster shot? Or like a Flu shot? Do they act in the same way? Perform similar functions?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  8. #68
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    I wouldn't say that antibiotics are like a vaccine. No.

    The way bacteria become resistant today is via the transfer of plasmids, small circles of DNA.

    So, when you treat with antibiotics regularly, you really are selecting for resistant target bacteria as well as resistant non-target bacteria. They're even discovered that a non target bacterium can transfer resistance to another species, like the target species.

    So, even if the target bacteria wasn't present, the non target ones are already resistant and ready to transfer resistance, via a plasmid, to the newly introduced target bacteria.

    That's just the way it is.

  9. #69
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    So, then, how do antibiotics work and when should they be used? Because, if one finds AFB, by law, one is suppoased to destroy, not treat the colony.

    and I have always wondered about "Resistance". Don't resistant strains of AFB exist regardless of TM use or not? Samples sent to Beltville will be tested for degrees of suceptibility or resistance to TM. Since I don't treat, shouldn't my samples all be suceptible and not resistant? Or does resistance occur naturally in Nature?
    Mark Berninghausen #youmatter

  10. #70
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Why don't you look up how the antibiotics involved work? They basically keep something essential from being made.

    Most of the antibiotic resistance plasmids are floating around in bacteria because of artificial selection. We just use antibiotics too often. I wouldn't call it natural.

    If you treat, you'll likely select for resistance sooner or later.

    What you need to be concerned about are inapparent infections.

    For instance, the faster killing AFB types kill the larvae before they are capped, so they get removed. You won't get the tell-tale ropey mess.

    So, you might not even know that you need to treat.

  11. #71
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    WLC is correct, the antibiotic will destroy the bacteria that are target as well as those that are non-target... this creates a sudden drop in immune function for most creatures, hence the reason that antibiotics are always prescribed for a period if treatment (length if time)... this helps to ensure an effective kill rate... its important to point out that studies must produce substantial evidence that a certain dosage of medication is tested and proven to be effective with a very high kill rate, usually 95%+ and the industry standard for most pharmaceutical companies is 99.9%+, this is why so many labels at the super market say "kills 99.9% of germs" (ie..clorox spray, lysol spray, etc..)... the reason for the kill rate being such an issue is because anything that is not killed by the product will then have been innoculated by the product, thus resistances can be formed...

    So where as the TM is able to kill P. Larvae endospores and vegetative cells, if it is not used at a proper dosage level and proper length of time, it will in turn act as a "flu shot" of sorts for the bacteria to strengthen from, instead of the bees...

    Think about how often this occurs and you will get a better idea as to why TM resistant P. Larvae pop up here and there...

    With that in mind, just because a resistant bacteria may be in a hive, does not mean that it will be the resistant bacteria that starts the infection...

  12. #72
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Thus the preventive measure twice a year. TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  13. #73
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    I am reminded of this anecdote that everyone's grandparents from the time of Ben Franklin forward love to tell--an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure....TED
    ALABAMA BEE COMPANY-A member of the Sioux Honey association -*Sweetening a golden tommorrow*

  14. #74
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    So as I understand it so far.
    Treating is playing with fire as it will only in most cases delay the inevitable, except in rare and very mild almost undetectable cases that may have otherwise not become symptomatic?

    Treating is only for the very experienced that can identify these cases?

    Treat and you get on wagon of treatment and you will have a day of reckoning?

    I understand burning to destroy vegetative cells in wax, honey etc. Are there any reasonable ways to treat and sanitize equipment? Bleach on pallet was mentioned.. Would a saturation with a high % hydrogen peroxide work?? I regularly have 35% ( used straight the nails in the wood may cause a fire!!)

    Is it just not cost effective to try and save $15 worth of equipment.... Burn baby burn!

    With my limited knowledge I'm sure I would just burn and cut my losses... Seems like a pay now or pay later proposition.
    Am I following along or way off?

    Thanks for the great thread

  15. #75
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    So as I understand it so far.
    Treating is playing with fire as it will only in most cases delay the inevitable, except in rare and very mild almost undetectable cases that may have otherwise not become symptomatic?

    Treating is only for the very experienced that can identify these cases?

    Treat and you get on wagon of treatment and you will have a day of reckoning?
    Not quite, but just by concluding that you would simply burn is a step in the right direction! It all boils down to understanding what the threat is, how it works, how to identify it during inspections, and having a strict policy of how to handle it when you run across it...

    The rare cases are not actually the tiny ones like the single cell infections... these are actually more common than most would think, but never manifest as the spores produced from that one infected cell have still got to find their way into the gut of anoyher perfectly aged larvae...

    The rare cases are actually those that have spread into more cells and thus multiplied their likelihood of making it into more larvae and the stores...

    Oldtimer gave a wonderful pic of a Rope test identifying an infected cell... so let's use that pic for a scenario... let's say that during that inspection 1 infected cell was found and after thoroughly inspecting ever frame, no other infected cells were noted... keep in mind that more cells COULD be infected but not notable simply because the cell caps had not been pierced and are not sunken in enough to notice... so...

    Options...
    A. Burn the hive... infection gone and now we just have to clean our tools and everything that had come in contact with the hive...
    B. Treat the hive... this may be enough to clean up the infection and have it not return, but it will require the two years (1 to treat and 1 to inspect to make sure no infection returns) before this hive should be put back into production (much like a hospital yard, but leaving the hive in place and just ensuring it stays alive and is not robbed out)...
    C. Burn the frame and leave the hive be returning to inspect for the rest of that year and the next to ensure that the hive has truly been able to beat the infection...
    D. Burn the frame and the surrounding two frames... again inspecting for two years...
    E. Burn the frame and all honey stores found in the hive... again inspecting for two years...
    F. Burn the frame and treat...
    G. Burn the frame and the surrounding frames and treat...
    H. Burn the frame and the stores and treat...

    Most of these options will work to control and possibly eliminate the threat without fear of it returning, but they all require a level of effort that most would deem counter productive to option A.

    As Michael Palmer mentioned earlier, honey bees cannot be resistant to something unless they are exposed to it... by burning an infected hive, you are reducing the work load and risk, and by treating, you are increasing the work load and risk and lowering you production while raising your labour/time expense....

    P. Larvae is in every hive... many seed are intentionally coated with it to benefit the plants growth, so agricultural areas are common spots for high concentrations of it, and guess where most bees are raised...

    So if the bacteria that causes the infection is so common, what is the fear factor? Lack of understanding what the infection is, how it works, how to identify it, and how to address it... these are the reasons that afb is a concern and hopefully this thread will help with that.

  16. #76
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Quote Originally Posted by rrussell6870 View Post
    ... the reason for the kill rate being such an issue is because anything that is not killed by the product will then have been innoculated by the product, thus resistances can be formed...
    Ok, I'm going to disagree with you here.

    Populations (bacteria are no exception) exist with a certain amount (more or less) of diversity of traits. Some traits don't matter that much (eye color might impact your choices for a mate, but in this day and age of UV blocking sunglasses and windows, there is little functional advantage of one color over another).

    Antibiotic resistance exists within populations of bacteria. Other bacteria, and especially fungi, produce antibiotic substances (penicillin is of course a toxin produced by common bread mold...to inhibit bacterial growth in order to reserve the whole loaf for the fungi)...hence the environmental exposure that selects for resistance to such substances.

    But not all traits are equal....antibiotic resistance does actually carry a metabolic cost...the bacteria within the population that has the resistance trait has to work just a little bit harder. It's as if you bought bear insurance for your hives...and assume the insurance is really expensive. If there are no bears in your area, you are going to have trouble competing the other beekeepers in the area that don't have expensive bear insurance to pay for. ...but if the environment changes, if boatloads of bears move in...even if everyone loses all their bees, _you_ had insurance, you can rebuild. Not bears in your area regularly????? Would you pay $1 for bear insurance that would replace your hives? Sure you would! $1000...maybe, if bears were spotted here and there...definitely if you really expected to lose more than a few hives to bears. Antibiotic Resistance is like this...it costs...it has some benefit...more or less depending on the environment.

    In complex microbial cultures (like in a beehive...in the beebread, in the honey stomach, in the gut...throughout the digestive tract, in the curing of honey, etc), traits that are being selected for are things like "enough resistance to the toxins my neighbors produce in order to persist" and "not resistant to things that I don't encounter in my environment"...an important one that we sometimes observe not being selected for (when a hive dies of disease/parasite) is "not so successful at competing with my neighbors that I take control...and destroy my own environment...the living hive" (this could be considered a strategy for AFB "persisting" if the colony density is really high and the chance of the collapsing and oozing with AFB hive of being robbed is very high).

    To this complex microbial culture, the reality of something appearing on the scene that _can_ kill 99.9% of individuals in a population is outside the normal reality...none of the microbes that are producing antibiotics are growing them in a lab and concentrating the most effective of the diverse toxins and applying them such that they affect the whole of the colony all at once. An unnatural event...with a natural result....it's the 0.1% of the population that harbors traits that render it resistant to one degree or another.

    A wide spectrum antibiotic like TM (and I assume Tylosin is also a broad spectrum) when applied properly (effectively), devastates much of the bacterial components of the culture...leaving open niches (read:food and suitable environment) for whatever is left to suck up...nature abhors a vacuum.

    Some of what is left is things that are not susceptible to the treatment....for instance, yeast levels rise when antibiotics are used in bees...and in humans. When Ramona (my wife) covers this in a presentation, she talks about how every time she has had to take an antibiotic for something or other, she predictably gets a yeast infection....this is the cue for all the women in the audience to nod their heads...and they almost all do! {hint for the ladies from Ramona....use a clove of garlic as a tampon for 24 hours...another 24 hours if necessary}

    The other thing that is left is the 0.1%....and if the treatment is at all residual in the hive, its offspring is also being selected for resistance for many generations

    Between these two "survivor" groups is a race to fill all the available niches...the ones selected for are the ones that are most virulent....the ones that reproduce the fastest and compete the most (like gangs taking over a nearly empty city after a disaster). What climbs back to the top the fastest in a complex culture is not necessarily what you want for a long term stability and strength...the application of antibiotics in the hive disrupts everything, and it isn't clear it returns the way (or "as good as") it was _before_ the application (E.O. Wilson did an experiment where he assayed and depopulated mangrove islands...they returned to their apparent original state fairly quickly....with equal biomass. But, the makeup of that biomass...the insects, the birds, were all different species and in different balances than what had been there previous).

    My (rather long winded) point is that no, the bacteria are not "inoculated" by the antibiotic...the resistant individuals in the population are selected for (while the non-resistant ones are "unselected"). I know of some interesting research going on in this area...there is more to learn about the long term impacts of using antibiotics. Much of the immune system of the hive _is_ the microbial culture...the idea that we can successfully micromanage it (with antibiotics are probiotics) seems absurd to me.

    deknow

  17. #77
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Kretschmann View Post
    Thus the preventive measure twice a year. TED
    To make it more clear, large operations are usually unable to go through every hive frame by frame... although the may take samples from a percentage of the hives in each yard in order to obtain a sufficient statistic of things such as mite counts, detecting a single cell infection of afb in a yard with 100 hives while you have 60 more yards to check is just not feasible...

    So for large operations, a rotation of preventative treatments has proven to be effective such as
    TM on years ending with 1,2, 5, and 7,
    then no treatments on years ending in 4, and 8,
    then Tylosin treatments on years ending with 3, 6, and 9...

    Rotations such as this keep from allowing the levels of infections to get a foot hold, all the while, the operation is also rotating which hives it checks in each yard during its percentage inspections, thus able to locate and destroy any hives with infections that are actually noted, and thus continuing to eliminate trouble points within the operation... the course of which can take many years as the scheduled treating hides troubles that may return if the treatment was halted... that is where the break in years ending on 4 and 8 comes into play... during these years more emphasis is put on inspecting specifically for afb and burning any colonies that are infected... small operations and hobbiest should not limit themselves to this type if routine though, if you have the luxury of being able to inspect all of your hives thoroughly, please do so...

  18. #78
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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    I've posted about this before, but I think it belongs here as well.

    We've been through Dee Lusby's operation several times over the past few years. I've seen a couple of AFB deadouts in yards with 10-15 other healthy hives (they must have robbed out the deadout).

    Dee's method of dealing with AFB is, if there are less than 6 cells of scale on both sides of a frame combined, the frame is left in the hive. Any frame with more than 6 cells is removed (and burned). I will say there is no special handling of the frame...it's tossed in the truck with anything else that will eventually be rendered...not sealed, no separated.

    Ramona and I have been through 700 or so hives more than once over a 4 year period (5 visits). 2 AFB deadouts in that time. Some visits we weren't doing proper inspections (just aggressive splits by the box), so we wouldn't see a small or moderate infection...we would look at a not-thriving hive to see what the problem was.

    So, she isn't so isolated that there is no exposure to AFB...the bees in the yards with the deadouts are most certainly exposed...and we all know that all hives are exposed.

    But

    Her infection rate is somewhere around 1% with no antibiotic treatments and no burned hives.

    To throw more variables in...

    Dee uses all deeps, and does not differentiate between honey comb and brood comb (no treatments, no feeds)...what she extracts from one yard, she replaces (wet) to another yard...sometimes through 3 or more extractions in a season.

    deknow

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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Gotta agree with deknow when you obtain microbial resistance. Resistance to antibiotics occur when you subject microbes to antibiotics that results in a very high kill ratio. You won't.. well I won't say never...get, resistance when subjecting microbes to a one time sub 99.97% LD, cuz the remaining microbes that simply didn't get a lethal dose will out compete the few that are. Only by killing off those that aren't resistant, the pressures of competition are released to those that are, and the resistant strain fills the vacuum.

    However, you will likely obtain resistance to antibiotics by exposing microbes to repeated sub lethal dose simply cuz you're selecting FOR those that are. This is how MRSA came to be and why nosacomal infection are so dangerous.

    Truth be told it's quite remarkable it took so long for p. bacillus to develop actual resistance to TM.
    Last edited by megank; 10-14-2011 at 12:29 AM.

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    Default Re: American Foulbrood (afb)

    Gee thanks Dean, that first post is too long for me to quote and break up from my cell. Lol.

    Ok, we are saying the sane thing, I think I may have just worded it a bit off in the manner of making the comparison of selection and inoculation...

    You are exactly right about the effects of the antibiotics wiping the slate clean of all that is exposed to the treatment, Except for what has resistances... which in turn promotes the resistant strains as they no longer have to compete within the colony for hosts... the event that creates a situation which is I am comparing to inoculation occurs during the months following the effects of the treatment... when the colony has once again become home to the bacteria that is not resistant... these bacteria are now within an environment that is comprised of heavy densities of TM resistant bacteria, and thus the higher risk of the once non-resistant bacteria building resistances by the transfer of plasmids due primarily to the environment that was created by the initial treatment removing all of the non-resistant bacteria and thus promoting a large population of resistant bacteria... tough to explain in further detail while typing on a cell phone, but I think you have the idea...

    The resistant bacteria is promoted (filling all of the voids left by the removal of the non-resistant bacteria)... then not only do we have a high social colony of resistant bacteria, but we also have the chance that these resistance traits can be passed on to what was once non-resistant bacteria through plasmids... then we are also unlocking possible resistance traits that were already present but not in use anymore due to a long term friendly environment... so yes, the new population can be worse than the first and I love the analogy of the gangs taking up a city after a disaster...

    Yes, there are many, many things that are thrown off balance by the use of antibiotics and yeast is certainly one of them...(ps, I have always recommended that yogurt be eaten on a scheduled basis while on antibiotics, with a higher number of servings per day for higher doses/stronger forms... some may not like yogurt, but its got to be more comfortable that a garlic clove... ;-) its also helpful for men and children to help restore the balance of digestional cultures during and following a treatment of antibiotics...

    You also brought up an point that needs to be made about nutrition and balance of enzymes... keeping in account that there are many different types of operations out there, and not all are concerned about the internal health of hives, so long as they are alive and productive, and that's not being negative toward them because that is what their bees are used for and they serve that purpose... but there are others (myself included) that focus primarily on what makes a colony the healthiest and most productive that it can possibly be and how can I harness that and reproduce the effects... so for those that are in operations that are focussed on identifying and selecting for traits such as a breeder should, take note that the single most important thing you can do is to eliminate the human variable... to produce queens is simple, anyone can graft and mate queens with time and patience, but to be able to select from your colonies which will be the best to provide larvae and which will be the best to provide drones, and which will be the best to provide traits for this type of operation or in that climate, you must first get your colonies to a true state of health in which they would be expected to perform in once the customer receives them... virulent issues plague our industry not only because we keep bees in "cities" as opposed to their natural environment, but also because we select for bees that do well on syrup and substitutes instead of the ones that do well on the diet that they will be working on when they are put to the real test, which is not only the customers hive, but also the customers future generations...

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