Welcome, Guest

Author Topic: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us  (Read 271 times)

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 6603
  • Gender: Male
Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« on: March 14, 2017, 11:12:23 PM »
Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found that honeybees treated with a common antibiotic were half as likely to survive the week after treatment compared with a group of untreated bees, a finding that may have health implications for bees and people alike.

The scientists found the antibiotics cleared out beneficial gut bacteria in the bees, making way for a harmful pathogen, which also occurs in humans, to get a foothold. The research is the latest discovery to indicate overuse of antibiotics can sometimes make living things, including people, sicker.

The UT Austin team, led by professor Nancy Moran and postdoctoral researcher Kasie Raymann, found that after treatment with the common antibiotic tetracycline, the bees had dramatically fewer naturally occurring gut microbes -- meaning healthy bacteria that can help to block pathogens, break down toxins, promote absorption of nutrients from food and more. They also found elevated levels of Serratia, a pathogenic bacterium that afflicts humans and other animals, in the bees treated with antibiotics, suggesting that the increased mortality might have been a result of losing the gut microbes that provide a natural defense against the dangerous bacteria.

The discovery has relevance for beekeepers and the agriculture industry. A decade ago, U.S. beekeepers began finding their hives decimated by what became known as colony collapse disorder. Millions of bees mysteriously disappeared, leaving farms with fewer pollinators for crops. Explanations for the phenomenon have included exposure to pesticides, habitat loss and bacterial infections, but the scientists now say antibiotics given to bees could also play a role.

"Our study suggests that perturbing the gut microbiome of honeybees is a factor, perhaps one of many, that could make them more susceptible to declining and to the colony collapsing," Moran said. "Antibiotics may have been an underappreciated factor in colony collapse."

The results are reported today in the online journal PLOS Biology.

Bees are a useful model for the human gut microbiome for several reasons. First, bees and humans both have a natural community of microbes in their guts, called a gut microbiome, which aids a number of functions including modulating behavior, development and immunity. Second, both have specialized gut bacteria -- ones that live only in the host gut -- that are passed from individual to individual during social interactions.

According to this study, overuse of antibiotics might increase the likelihood of infections from pathogens.

"We aren't suggesting people stop using antibiotics," Moran said. "Antibiotics save lives. We definitely need them. We just need to be careful how we use them."

In large-scale U.S. agriculture, beekeepers typically apply antibiotics to their hives several times a year. The strategy aims to prevent bacterial infections that can lead to a widespread and destructive disease that afflicts bee larvae.

"It's useful for beekeepers to use antibiotics to protect their hives from foulbrood," said Raymann, referring to the disease. "But this work suggests that they should also consider how much and how often they're treating hives."

To conduct the study, researchers removed hundreds of bees from long-established hives on the rooftop of a university building and brought them into a lab where some were fed a sweet syrup with antibiotics and some were fed syrup only. The researchers painted small colored dots on the bees' backs to indicate which had received antibiotics and which had not. After five days of daily treatment, the bees were returned to their hives. In subsequent days, the researchers collected the treated and untreated bees to count how many were still living and to sample their gut microbes.

About two-thirds of the untreated bees were still present three days after reintroduction to the hive, while only about a third of the antibiotic-treated bees were still present.

Adding further weight to the hypothesis that antibiotic-treated bees suffered a higher mortality due to a lower resistance to the pathogenic bacteria Serratia, the researchers conducted a follow-on experiment in which they exposed antibiotic-treated bees to Serratia and observed a much higher mortality than untreated bees.

"This was just in bees, but possibly it's doing the same thing to you when you take antibiotics," Raymann said. "I think we need to be more careful about how we use antibiotics."

In addition to Raymann and Moran, the study's other co-author is Zack Shaffer, an undergraduate biochemistry student.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
 
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline fatshark

  • New Bee
  • *
  • Posts: 13
    • The Apiarist
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 02:04:54 PM »
Interesting stuff.
It's long been known that antibiotic use in humans messes up the microbiome (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4709861/ for example which reviews this). There are a number of studies on microbiome "re-population" in humans ... perhaps we'll need to do this with bees as well if continued large scale antibiotic usage continues.
---
The Apiarist : Beekeeping in Fife, Scotland
Rational Varroa control, science and DIY for beekeepers

Offline Acebird

  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 2316
  • Gender: Male
  • Practicing non intervention beekeeping
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 08:24:42 AM »
Nothing new Jim.  Every treatment has side effects.  Ha, ha, even feeding sugar.
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline Jim 134

  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 2688
  • Gender: Male
    • Franklin County Beekeepers Association
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 09:26:13 AM »
      As of January 1st 2017. A little tougher for Farmers to use antibiotics on any kind of livestock in the USA. Now at least you have to have a veterinarian prescription to do it.

      Since I moved to organic farm about five years ago.Bee have done better than ever. At least since varroa mites mites arrived in 1985. The farm has about 600 acres under its control.

       BEE HAPPY Jim 134  :smile:
"Tell me and I'll forget,show me and I may  remember,involve me and I'll understand"
        Chinese Proverb

"The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways."
 John F. Kennedy
Franklin County Beekeepers Association MA. http://www.franklinmabeekeepers.org/

Offline capt44

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 713
  • Gender: Male
    • RV BEES
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 01:01:51 PM »
I am in Central Arkansas and this spring like last spring European Foul Brood was being found.
I had one hive in one bee yard have European Foul Brood.
I had to get a prescription sent off so I could buy Terramycin to treat the hives.
Here in Arkansas if one hive is found to have EFB your bee yard is Quarantined for 30 days or until it is cured.
You have to treat every hive in that said yard regardless of whether they are infected or not.
You have to Isolate the Queen for 10 days to break up the brood cycle.
I had the Queen in the hive with a frame I made to keep the queen from laying in the cells but the workers could feed her.
I will say the infected hive is now one of my strongest hives.
But I lost 10 Queens when I released them back into the hive.
I don't know whether the antibiotic treatment did it or whether the bees balled her and killed her.
I had to re-queen 10 hives after treatments.
Since that bee yard is off Quarantine and everything is fine.
I think the mild winters we've had the past couple of years is what is causing the foul brood outbreak.
A lot of beekeepers had the same problem here.

Richard Vardaman (capt44)

Offline sawdstmakr

  • Galactic Bee
  • ******
  • Posts: 6603
  • Gender: Male
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2017, 01:08:39 PM »
You might want to bring this article to your supervisor of bee inspectors attention.
It might help change the regulation.
Jim
"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed.  If you do read the newspaper you are misinformed."--Mark Twain

Offline Acebird

  • Super Bee
  • *****
  • Posts: 2316
  • Gender: Male
  • Practicing non intervention beekeeping
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2017, 08:16:46 AM »

But I lost 10 Queens when I released them back into the hive.


You had to remove all the queens from your other hives for the treatment?
Brian Cardinal
Just do it

Offline Michael Bush

  • Universal Bee
  • *******
  • Posts: 16091
  • Gender: Male
    • bushfarms.com
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2017, 08:30:16 AM »
Martha Gilliam'research showed this back in the 1980s... but no one was paying attention then.  http://www.beeuntoothers.com/index.php
/beekeeping/gilliam-archives

The latest is that those bacteria (which protect the bees from EFB and AFB and Nosema) form a biofilm.  The gut of the bee is actually porus and it's the bacteria that form the lining of their gut.  Also inoculation by those beneficial bacteria is what triggers the immune system of the larvae giving them the resistance to AFB and EFB and Chalkbrood.  Basically if you treat with terramycin you prevent your bee larvae from getting their immunizations...
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm en espanol: bushfarms.com/es_bees.htm  auf deutsche: bushfarms.com/de_bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
-------------------
"Everything works if you let it."--James "Big Boy" Medlin

Offline capt44

  • Field Bee
  • ***
  • Posts: 713
  • Gender: Male
    • RV BEES
Re: Overuse of Antibiotics Brings Risks for Bees -- and For Us
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 10:52:02 PM »

But I lost 10 Queens when I released them back into the hive.


You had to remove all the queens from your other hives for the treatment?
Yes when you start treatment you isolate the queen for 10 days to break the brood pattern.
After the 10 days she is released back into the hive.
Richard Vardaman (capt44)

 

anything