I recently took an inspection class which was taught by our state apiary inspector. The instructor made the comment that if you have bees this year that you probably have European foul brood, and while looking at the material I realized that it has been fairly common in my bee yard since I started about 5 years ago - probably from my very first hive.
The thing is it doesn't seem to make that much impact on hive performance even though I have never done anything to treat it or prevent spreading it. I've made good honey crops and had good success doing splits and even rearing some queens - although I think it may explain my disappointing 50 percent failure rates in getting queens mated and laying. Until this past winter I rarely lost a hive other than mating nucs which are by design small weak and queenless anyway. I have found hives recently which I am sure had efb infected open brood, but also had excellent patterns of both capped and open brood. Is that usual?
When I read about efb on the web it is described as being a real plague type disease in Europe. Is it the same thing or what? Here it seems to be characterized as a stress induced condition that often just goes away when a good flow starts - which is what I seem to have experienced.
It the future I will at least take more care to prevent spreading it between hives, but I would like to eradicate it and learn to control it - without antibiotics.
I would like to hear from some experienced people - what is your opinion on how serious efb is?