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What are your thoughts on using chemical treatment to prevent AFB with terramycin?

I have two hives I started with packages of Italians. My cousin is helping me get started and he uses terramycin in early spring to treat the bees. I've been doing a lot research and reading and the more I learn I don't want to treat my bees with chemicals.

I'd like to learn specifically about terramycin.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Terramycin is an antibiotic. It does not cure a hive of AFB but keeps the disease suppressed - this is why hives with active cases of AFB are usually destroyed by burning.

It is often said that governmental inspection and the use of drugs like Terramycin are the one-two punch that keeps AFB numbers in check, making it possible for beekeepers like myself to keep bees without resorting to Terramycin/Tylan. (Tylan use is called for in situations where there are strains of AFB resistant to Terramycin.)

I do not use Terramycin though I understand why it is used - beekeepers of older generations often think of its use as a no-brainer. They have had to deal with rampant AFB - I have not. I have seen enough AFB that I think I will recognize it when and if i see it in my hives and I have committed publicly to destroy any infected colonies.

I think what is important is for beekeepers to recognize AFB and have a plan in place for how they are going to deal with it.
 

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Keep in mind in almost the entire world it is not only NOT recommended by the experts, but it is illegal to use Terramycin and you will be arrested if you are caught using it in bee hives. The only acceptable "cure" for AFB everywhere else is to burn the hive.

Terramycin will only mask the symptoms and will not cure the disease.
 

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you will be arrested if you are caught using it in bee hives.
A bit much don't you think? I'm not defending the practice for one minute but beekeepers put lots of things into their hives, often without approval, and unless caught there are no consequences.

If your point is that Terramycin is not permitted to be used on bees outside the US you could have made the point without the drama.
 

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A bit much don't you think? I'm not defending the practice for one minute but beekeepers put lots of things into their hives, often without approval, and unless caught there are no consequences.

If your point is that Terramycin is not permitted to be used on bees outside the US you could have made the point without the drama.
I am not sure either where you get arrested, though I really don't know. While it's true that Terramycin doesn't cure afb it's also a true statement to say that afb spores probably exist in most bee hives and that Terramycin does keep it pretty well in remission.
Here are the facts as I know them through my own observations through the years.
A. AFB used to be much, much more widespread
B. Preventative tylosin or Terramycin treatments are a normal part of most commercial operations, if for no other reason than to keep efb in check
C. I am having trouble remembering the last case of afb I have seen, it was probably around the time that tylosin (which is far more effective on afb than efb) use was approved.

After decades and decades of battling afb, I think it is fair to ask why it has seemingly disappeared. Actually I'm not suggesting it's tylosin, though it may well have been a factor. Perhaps a combination of varroa, shb and wax moths? Perhaps these aren't such a scourge after all.
 

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>If your point is that Terramycin is not permitted to be used on bees outside the US you could have made the point without the drama.

It's simple facts. Where is the drama? I didn't say the world would come to an end... just that you would go to jail, which is what would happen if you get caught doing it in Australia or New Zealand or anywhere in the European Union...
 

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Jail? Really? Hmmm. Why not just say it's illegal and leave it at that? Or do you actually have evidence of beekeepers doing jail time?
 

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Jail? Really? Hmmm. Why not just say it's illegal and leave it at that? Or do you actually have evidence of beekeepers doing jail time?
Seriously! This is what you find relevant in this debate?! Not antibiotics in the honey, or purchasing bees treated with antibiotics, unaware that they may die without continued use because you have no idea they harbor AFB spores.

Suppression is not eradication. It promotes resistant bacteria just as it does in other livestock operations.
 

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Probably preventive treatments may be necessary in some areas of the U.S., but most beekeepers will never see a case of AFB. The last figures I saw for Arkansas was that the Apiary Section had inspected over 6000 colonies and found 11 cases of AFB. I have found AFB while helping friends work their bees, but only 2 times in over 37 years.
To most beekeepers AFB is very far down on the list of their problems.

Terramycin is used in the U.K. for treating EFB, and they have found it reduces reoccurrence of the disease the following year after doing shakedowns as treatments. Keith Deleplane did a study in 1995 on BPMS and found treating with Terramycin improved the chances of a colony surviving and the surviving bees were in better condition than those in colonies not treated with Terramycin.

Beekeepers have the right to manage their bees as they see fit, but to dismiss out of hand a tool that is beneficial just because they read on a forum that it damages bees is foolish.
 

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After decades and decades of battling afb, I think it is fair to ask why it has seemingly disappeared. Actually I'm not suggesting it's tylosin, though it may well have been a factor. Perhaps a combination of varroa, shb and wax moths? Perhaps these aren't such a scourge after all.
My theory goes something like this. Varroa/virus kills bees before AFB get a chance to get established. And, who is looking for it, consistently and effectively?

Here in NY the only colonies that get inspected by the State Apiary Inspectors are those owned by Commercial Migratory beekeepers and only 10% of those leaving the State get looked at. Similarly in SC, as far as how many hives are looked at for interstate transport. I don't know how many small scale beekeepers in SC get looked at. I don't know how much other States do, but that ain't much.
 

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Terramycin is an antibiotic. It does not cure a hive of AFB but keeps the disease suppressed
Is that actually correct? I had an infection in my nasal passage and after taking antibiotics I no longer have the problem I had before. Are you saying that the antibiotics didn't cure the infection?

If a colony is showing signs of AFB, active state AFB, not scale, and TM is applied as prescribed and then there is no disease to be seen, then that colony wasn't cured of the disease?
 

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My understanding of AFB is that Terramycin cannot touch the spores, so the honey, wax and hive are likely to be vectors of AFB unless you treat repeatedly.
 

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I have seen cases where TM is used, the disease seems to have disappeared, TM treatment was stopped and the disease didn't return. How do we interperate that?
 

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> If a colony is showing signs of AFB, active state AFB, not scale, and TM is applied as prescribed and then there is no disease to be seen, then that colony wasn't cured of the disease?


Mark, if that is a serious question (and not just a point of argument
:)), you may be interested in this page on that issue from Dr Eric Mussen of UC Davis:
http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/files/147615.pdf

Here is part of that page:
Using TM 25 to "cure" an infection in a colony is apt to lead to later problems. Although disease symptoms are no longer seen, AFB spores have contaminated the bees’ stored food. At some later date, the bees will get back into the spores and symptoms will develop, again. Then more antibiotic is used. Frequent or persistent exposure to Terramycin can select for resistant strains of bacteria.

http://entomology.ucdavis.edu/files/147615.pdf
 

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I have seen cases where TM is used, the disease seems to have disappeared, TM treatment was stopped and the disease didn't return. How do we interperate that?
Perhaps it is like a Staph infection, always nasty but not always antibiotic resistant. Not all staph become MRSA.
 
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