Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Officials Monitoring Health Of Local Beehives

Hives of honeybees in the Cookeville area are said to be suffering from something called American Foulbrood, a contagious bacterial disease that can kill the entire hive. Symptoms include a distinctive odor in the hive, a sunken brood comb and evidence that the normally white larvae of the bees turning brown. The Cookeville Herald-Citizen said 44 colonies have been affected in Putnam, Overton and Cumberland counties. Typically, just eight cases are found each year in the entire state of Tennessee. In the past, beekeepers have been able to use antibiotics to control the disease. However, officials say this recent outbreak seems to be a new strain resistant to the current antibiotics. American Foulbrood cannot be transferred to humans, but it does kill bees that are ultimately responsible for the reproduction of countless species of plants.