Canadian beekeepers have new treatment to counter recent high winter colony losses
Last winter, Canadian honey bee colony losses in many areas often exceeded 50%, affecting honey production and honeybee supply for crop pollination across the country. Several factors have been implicated in the honeybee colony losses, the most serious reported being a failure to control the parasitic varroa mite, Varroa destructor. Nosema, other bee diseases and severe winter conditions are also in the mix.
Following huge Canadian honeybee losses last winter and spring, a product to combat two major honeybee diseases has been revitalized and reintroduced to market by honeybee health specialists Vita Bee Health. By helping to stem the losses of honeybee colonies, the treatment, OxyTet-62.5, will also be of huge benefit to Canadian agriculture which is so dependent upon healthy and plentiful pollinators.
According to the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA), American foulbrood (AFB) and European foulbrood (EFB) continue to be serious diseases of honey bees in Canada. These diseases are so infectious and so lethal to honeybees that beekeepers are required by government regulations to report any colonies they suspect of having either disease.
The OxyTet-62.5 foulbrood treatment is one of Vita Bee Health’s growing portfolio of products to help honeybees in Canada. The portfolio is being designed in close consultation with the Canadian Honey Council and in partnership with renowned bee researcher Dr Medhat Nasr and Dr Dave Harris, Vita Bee Health Consultant. The first product in the portfolio, Fumagilin-B, was reintroduced in 2019 and is proving to be very successful in countering nosema and keeping healthy bees through winter.
OxyTet-62.5 is currently available to veterinarians for prescription to beekeepers to control AFB and EFB in honeybee colonies across Canada. It is registered with Health Canada and its efficacy is well-proven when used according to the label.
Sebastian Owen, commercial director at Vita Bee Health, said: “The product has been available in the past, but the company manufacturing it has ceased to exist. However, working with Canadian pharmaceutical experts, Vita Bee Health came forward with plans to reintroduce the product and ensure its sustained availability for keeping healthy honeybees in Canada. OxyTet-62.5 has already been warmly welcomed by Canadian beekeepers, who have been very enthusiastic about the first product in the portfolio – Fumagillin-B – distribution of which equates to treatments for about one third of all colonies in Canada in both spring and fall.”
OxyTet-62.5 has been registered and approved by the Canadian authorities. It is available for any Canadian veterinarian working with beekeepers across Canada. Beekeepers in Canada should consult with their Provincial Apiculturist, Provincial Veterinary Association or local veterinary clinic to find a nearby veterinarian with honeybee expertise.