Recently, The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine for honeybees to curb American foulbrood (AFB).


What is ‘American Foulbrood’?

  • It is a fatal bacterial disease which affects insects and it is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae.
  • Infected honeybee broods usually die at the pre-pupal or pupal stage.
  • The disease cannot be cured, meaning that the destruction of infected colonies and hives or irradiation of infected material is the only way to manage AFB.


Key facts about honeybees

  • There are almost 20,000 different species of bees in the world.
  • In each bee colony, there are three types of bees, the queen bee, the worker bee, and the drone.
  • The worker and the queen bee both are females, but only the queen bee can reproduce and all drones are male.
  • India is home to four of the seven known bee species.
  • Domesticated — Apis cerana (oriental honey bee) and Apis mellifera (European honey bee).
  • Wild — Apis dorsata (giant/rock honey bee) and Apis florea (dwarf honey bee).
  • Recently, a new species of endemic honeybee named Apis karinjodian has been discovered in the Western Ghats after a gap of more than 200 years.
  • Common Name — Indian black honeybee.
  • IUCN Red List — Near Threatened (NT)
  • It is distributed from the central Western Ghats and Nilgiris to the southern Western Ghats, covering the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.