Title: Overuse of antibiotics brings risks for bees, and for us
Summary: Researchers have found that overuse of antibiotics on bees and their hives to prevent bacterial infections that can affect larvae is actually killing the gut bacteria of the bees. With all the beneficial bacteria decimated, it was easier for harmful bacteria to settle in.
Researchers conducted an experiment by having two groups. One was the control group with bees feeding off from normal honey syrup and the second group was the bees feeding off from a honey syrup with antibiotics mixed in it. After three weeks, they have found that only 1/3 of the population of bees (that were eating honey syrup with antibiotics) survived while the control group had 2/3 population of bees still in the hive.
Connection: Bacteria in our guts and bees don’t form overnight. Clusters of bacteria and biofilms take long period to form in environment such as gut as some die out and the ones that survives will be the bacteria with ability to provide beneficial factors to the host. Disrupting such delicately formed clusters with their own system with a drug can be extremely harmful. Overuse of antibiotics is a serious issue and the beekeepers should consider how much and how often they are going to treat bees with antibiotics.
Questions: This article explained about harmful effects of antibiotics which might deter beekeepers from using them to prevent potential bacterial infection on larvae. What other solutions are out there that could replace antibiotics yet won’t disrupt bees’ gut microbes?