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  1. #1
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    Default European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    It appears that the general consensus on Beesource is "Tylan doesn't work on European Foulbrood." Some beekeepers still recommend Tylan, though, and say that some strains of EFB are resistant to Terramycin. The only way to observe what's actually true is to listen to beekeepers who have seen for themselves which treatment cures EFB.

    I'd like to keep this particular conversation about "treating with antibiotics", and not talk about "the shake-down method" or, "natural selection - letting them die". I'm a bee inspector (yeah, I know you love bee inspectors), and I see plenty of European Foulbrood. I want to stay up-to-date on my suggestions for treatments, so I'm trying to figure out which treatments are the most effective for saving hobby/sideliner hives and eventually eliminating EFB from the infected apiary.

    Its sad to see someone lose a whole apiary of bees to EFB. It can be really serious. The more I read, and the more presentations I go to, the more questions I have. Lately, I'll read from a source that I thought was the gospel, and find myself thinking "well, that can't actually be true anymore..."

  2. #2
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Streptomycin is much more effective on EFB than Terramycin or Tylan, but it's not approved.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    I did see that you've said that before...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    I lost my only hive last spring to EFB and wax moths in spite of treating with Terramycin. Can't tell you if the Terramycin was not effective or the hive was too far gone to save, my rookie mistake of not feeding it up in the fall probably doomed it anyway.

    I suspect the EFB was present in the fall, too and I didn't notice it in time as well -- steep learning curve.

    Peter

  5. #5
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Kind of off topic and just throwing this out the for all who read this thread. The symptoms of EFB and Parasitic mite syndrome are for all practical purposes identical. I've had a few novices and even seasoned beekeepers call me in a panic asking me what to do with what they have diagnosed as EFB, when in reality it is actually PMS.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Quote Originally Posted by rbees View Post
    Kind of off topic and just throwing this out the for all who read this thread. The symptoms of EFB and Parasitic mite syndrome are for all practical purposes identical. I've had a few novices and even seasoned beekeepers call me in a panic asking me what to do with what they have diagnosed as EFB, when in reality it is actually PMS.
    This is true to a degree. That's why it can help to send a sample to Beltsville. It can also hurt to send a sample to Beltsville, because sometimes you get a "No Disease Found" report, and one year later, the EFB has spread.

    I'm an "organic" enthusiast. But "organic" isn't practical for beekeepers with 30 or more hives - and these are the people who seem to suffer from EFB. They started out beekeeping as a hobby, got a hold of some old equipment, or did a cut-out, brought the EFB home, and a few years later, its taking down half of the hives. At that stage, its time to clean the disease out for good - or take the blame for contaminating the environment.

    After looking around, I've decided that THIS is what I'm going to prescribe as the EFB treatment. It's a lot of work, but it looks to be the most effective. Here's the link:

    http://www.extension.org/pages/23697...lbrood-control

  7. #7
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Here's the text:

    The Shook Swarm and Oxytetracycline (Terramycin) Method

    Research Summary

    Citation: Waite, R. J., Brown, M. A., Thompson, H. M., Bew, M. H. (2003). Controlling European foulbrood with the shook swarm method and oxytetracycline in the UK. Apidologie 34: 569-575.

    Web Link:Controlling European foulbrood with the shook swarm method and oxytetracycline in the UK.

    Brief Description: In the United Kingdom, where this study occurred, European foulbrood (EFB) is a regulated disease. Typically, infected colonies can be treated with the antibiotic oxytetracycline (OTC), if the colony is determined to be able to respond to treatment. When the infection is severe, the colony is destroyed. The objective of this study was to determine if the shook swarm method combined with the antibiotic, OTC could be as effective at controlling the disease as OTC treatment alone.

    The tested method involves shaking all the bees off the combs in EFB infected hives. The queen is caged separately and released with the workers later. The shaken bees are put on new or contaminate free equipment and foundation. The contaminated combs were destroyed. Once on new equipment, the bees were fed sugar syrup containing the antibiotic, OTC. The method to do this was to fill a 250 ml jar with 1kg table sugar and 568 ml of water. 1g of OTC (active ingredient) was added to the syrup. This was then sprinkled into cells on empty frames next to the brood nest, avoiding open brood. The concentrated solution will kill open brood, but should not cause problems once diluted by worker bees. Eight weeks later, the colonies were inspected for clinical signs of disease. Control colonies were fed OTC the same way, but the shook swarm method was not used.

    During the season after treatment, most colonies responded well to both the control and shook swarm methods. Some colonies died that season, or became reinfected, but both methods seemed overall effective. The following season however showed different results. Control colonies treated with OTC alone became reinfected at the level of 21.1%. Colonies treated with OTC and the shook swarm method became reinfected only about at 4.8%. However, 4 of the shook swarm colonies died while only 2 of the control colonies died. The total number of colonies in the trial was 50.

    Implications: The authors suggest that this is a promising method to control EFB and was well received by the beekeepers in the study. (Reviewer's note: Other studies describe the problem of recurrence of EFB in subsequent years. Methods to reduce recurrence are likely to be important in problematic EFB areas.) The authors point out that American foulbrood control has not been as successful with this method. This study only suggests this method is successful for the control of EFB.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Isn't requeening a recommended method of addressing EFB?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  9. #9
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Errr.... Read the label...for AFB only. Using Tylan for efb is offlabel and illegal in the u.s.

    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    Errr.... Read the label...for AFB only. Using Tylan for efb is offlabel and illegal in the u.s.

    Deknow
    What d'ya know, Deknow, I never noticed that (never have used Tylan myself). I've just looked at it in the Dadant catalog, it says "use for foulbrood" and doesn't differentiate between one or the other. But not so on the label. "American Foulbrood" is says, and that's all.

    Yes, Mark B, re-queening is said to be part of the treatment usually, but not in this study that I found and like. They cage her and re-introduce her. To me, it would make more sense to re-queen, because obviously she is not laying EFB resistant bees, and also, she must have the disease as well, being fed the same EFB tainted food. So that's a good point.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Do you have a copy of "Pests, Predators, and Diseases of Honeybees"? You should get a copy and familiarize yourself w/ the disease. I'm not at home, so I can't grab it off of the shelf and tell you what it says about EFB.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    I don't think anyone who actually looked at brood frames would mistake EFB for PMS. EFB is characterized by "melted" larvae before capping, which makes for cells filled with milky white slime that can pour out when the frame is tilted far enough. The dead brood will eventually solidify into a brown, rubbery scale that the bees will remove form the cells and discard -- this is what twigged me to the problem I had, rubbery scales on the sticky board since they fit through the screen on my SBB.

    There is also a fishy smell (dead fish).

    None of this is present in PMS, the brood looks normal until it's capped. In PMS, you get short lived bees that vanish over the winter, or bees with deformed wings or Israeli paralysis, etc, not melted brood.

    Be that as it may, EFB appears to be gone from my hives, no problems this year at all.

    Not an expert or researcher here, just my observations.

    Peter

  13. #13
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Peter, I've found that PMS can look like EFB. Sometimes EFB only shows minor symptoms, just a few random dying larva. Or sometimes PMS can makes several frames look pretty raggedy and shotgun with plenty of dead unsealed larva. These can look similar - larva losing shape, turning spotty and brown. I sample it and send it to Beltsville.

    I was looking at some EFB yesterday. Its really popping up around here - and I think its because the queens are laying more productively than the workers are able to forage nectar. Our spring has been very slow, cool, and wet. I was looking at a hive, and I wondered if it was a hive that was resisting EFB: the larva looked skinny. I wonder about these yards with EFB - if the beekeepers were really pouring the feed to them (sugar water) to make up for the sluggish nectar flow, would I be seeing so much EFB? I don't think I would.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    If someone with your experience thinks they can be confused, I suspect that they can.

    From what I've read and absorbed from the local beekeepers, EFB is very rare around here -- in fact, the guy down the road a couple miles has never seen it bad enough to have it diagnosed, had to explain to him what it was. I suspect it's like wax moths -- always present but unseen unless there is some other stress. Under those conditions, it becomes obvious enough to see and cause trouble in the hive. Sugar with no protein might also cause some trouble, I'd think.

    The hive I lost to EFB suffered through a beginning beekeeper in a very long dearth (no rain from June to November and not enough feed in the fall, kept them alive with a candy board for the winter) followed by a weird spring -- summer in March, winter returning in April. Goofy all round.

    So far I don't appear to have mite problems, but we shall see. Losses to mites are still a problem in this part of the woods.

    Peter

  15. #15
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post
    If someone with your experience thinks they can be confused, I suspect that they can.
    Chuckle, chuckle. The more I learn, the less I know. There are a lot of ways to interpret the bees and their ailments, that's for sure.

    We share the same climate - I'm not far from you. If you had EFB in your area, your local beekeepers would be seeing it, because, in my theory, the lateness of blooms and the sluggish spring are making it hard for workers to keep up with queens. This is why I can't completely agree that "EFB is always present in hives to some degree." Because it should just pop up all over the place in this kind of cold, wet spring - but it pops up in specific places: in yards where beekeepers eagerly increased (swapping in frames of drawn comb from inconclusive deadouts, or buying used equipment and putting bees right in it without boiling it out, etc.) or it drifts and gets picked up in swarms and cutouts, or robberies.

    That's why this wanna-bee organic lady is going to make strong suggestions in favor of this terramycin/shook swarm/re-queening method for every hive with EFB. The hives that don't clear up after that, I think should be burnt. Why goof around with sick bees?

    BTW - I would think you could feed sugar water this time of year without pollen supplement. Don't you have more pollen than you need? We sure do. Its been a great spring for the purple deadnettle. Nectar can be harder to come by in a wet spring - some flowers get washed out and it can take a day to replenish.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Given that my bees are coming in so full of nectar even I can tell, I don't think feeding except for splits is either necessary or desirable.

    Lots of pollen, certainly. Enough I can smell the "bee bread" so strong I though something was wrong until I did my first inspection of the year, been too cold on the days I can get to them (working full time is a pain).

    It is difficult, especially for beginners and people with only a few hives, to correctly diagnose what's wrong, or even tell if something is wrong. I have a friend who burns the frames and comb if he can't tell what caused a hive to die on the assumption that it's safer, but I'd prefer to know why the hive died out for several reasons. First, if it's preventable, I'd rather keep my bees, it's hard to get honey with empty hives. Second, it's a great waste of resources to burn all the frames in a hive because the bees had mites. Neither the mites nor the viral diseases they vector will survive without bees, so there is no reason to discard all that comb if PMS was the real problem.

    I suppose the shook swarm/requeen would help, but the bees carry the bacteria for EFB from what I've read, they will carry it right along, requiring antibiotic treatment. AFB is transmitted by spores, and they are not carried by the bees -- that's why shook swarm/clean equipment works for AFB, you can eliminate the spores. Not much point in doing a shook swarm with EFB since antibiotic treatment should eliminate the bacteria anyway, unless they are very persistent on the comb.

    I'll be watching to see what others have to say on the subject. I like my nice healthy bees!

    Peter

  17. #17
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Have you confirmed that the symptoms you are seeing are in fact, EFB infections (tested at Beltsville)?
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eleanor Schumacher View Post
    Chuckle, chuckle. The more I learn, the less I know. There are a lot of ways to interpret the bees and their ailments, that's for sure.

    We share the same climate - I'm not far from you. If you had EFB in your area, your local beekeepers would be seeing it, because, in my theory, the lateness of blooms and the sluggish spring are making it hard for workers to keep up with queens. This is why I can't completely agree that "EFB is always present in hives to some degree." Because it should just pop up all over the place in this kind of cold, wet spring - but it pops up in specific places: in yards where beekeepers eagerly increased (swapping in frames of drawn comb from inconclusive deadouts, or buying used equipment and putting bees right in it without boiling it out, etc.) or it drifts and gets picked up in swarms and cutouts, or robberies.

    That's why this wanna-bee organic lady is going to make strong suggestions in favor of this terramycin/shook swarm/re-queening method for every hive with EFB. The hives that don't clear up after that, I think should be burnt. Why goof around with sick bees?

    BTW - I would think you could feed sugar water this time of year without pollen supplement. Don't you have more pollen than you need? We sure do. Its been a great spring for the purple deadnettle. Nectar can be harder to come by in a wet spring - some flowers get washed out and it can take a day to replenish.
    Don't take this the wrong way Eleanor. What kind of training does IL provide their Inspectors? Does IL have a list of standard recommendations to address diseases and pests?
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  19. #19
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    Quote Originally Posted by psfred View Post

    I suppose the shook swarm/requeen would help, but the bees carry the bacteria for EFB from what I've read, they will carry it right along, requiring antibiotic treatment. AFB is transmitted by spores, and they are not carried by the bees -- that's why shook swarm/clean equipment works for AFB, you can eliminate the spores. Not much point in doing a shook swarm with EFB since antibiotic treatment should eliminate the bacteria anyway, unless they are very persistent on the comb.

    Peter
    The bees carry the bacteria for EFB in their digestive system, so shook swarm tech. should be effective. I agree it isn't necassary, since antibiotics should take care of the EFB infection. A new queen and a strong nectar flow will take care of things too. The bees can get ahead of the infection.

    I don't know what you mean by AFB being "not carried by the bees".

    As far as I know, burning combs is not recommended or necassary w/ an EFB infection.
    Mark Berninghausen "That which works, persists."

  20. #20
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    Default Re: European Foulbrood: Your experience with Tylan?

    More to the point (I think), this is a 10 year old study you are looking at for guidance. Have you talked to anyone that has tried or used this protocall?
    If you think this might be an effective and worthwhile treatment option based only on a study you read, you should not be recommending that others follow it....especially in the capacity of bee inspector.
    At he very least, contacting the study authors would let you know if they still think it's a good protocol.
    Deknow
    The irony is free. It's the sarcasm you are paying for....ironically.
    -Felicity Jones in "Chalet Girl"

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