Presenter: James E. Tew, PhD, Auburn University

American Foulbrood—Not Gone and Not Forgotten

While no longer the primary cause of honey bee death in the United States, American Foulbrood (AFB) remains a major threat to Apis mellifera worldwide. This disease is highly contagious, lethal in nature, and is caused by a spore-forming bacterium. Contaminated equipment and combs are commonly destroyed. Unlike more-recent parasite infestations, AFB is well adapted to bee colonies. In decades past, this was the disease that caused beekeepers the most concern. This discussion will address the pathogen’s epidemiology and offer practical considerations.

 

Making Hard Decisions about Queens

Honey bee queens get most of the credit and much of the blame for all things within the colony. As beekeeper numbers have dramatically increased, so has the demand for queens. Indeed, there has been an approximate 5233% increase in the price of queens from 1971 to 2018. Even with that increase, queen replacements are not always readily available. Queen management and replacement has become more challenging and is requiring management programs to evolve to meet these changes. This discussion will review management schemes used decades ago and how these schemes are changing to meet the needs of modern beekeepers.

 

James E. Tew, PhD, is the Beekeeping Specialist for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University and Emeritus Professor, The Ohio State University. Jim has taught classes, provided extension services, and conducted applied research on honey bees and honey bee behavior – specifically pollination behavior. He contributes monthly articles for national beekeeping publications and has written: Beekeeping Principles, Wisdom for Beekeepers, The Beekeeper’s Problem Solver, and Backyard Beekeeping. He is a frequent speaker at state and national meetings and has traveled extensively to observe beekeeping techniques.