It sounds as if a scientist had been stung by a bee and now wants to take revenge: The USA has approved a vaccination specifically for honey bees for the first time worldwide. In fact, the situation is of course different: the bees do not have to be vaccinated individually by syringe - and the drug has a serious background.
Honey bees have been under increasing threat from bacteria for some time. Above all, the American Foulbrood (also called Malicious Foulbrood) threaten entire peoples and can easily finish them off.
The insidious bacterial culture gets into the beehive through honey, among other things, and can spread there. Although the adult animals are not threatened by this, the larvae are attacked by the bacteria and decomposed internally. All that's left of them is a slimy mass. The American foulbrood is native to Europe, in America it was only discovered for the first time.
Common routes of transmission of American foulbrood include empty honey jars used by honey bees in search of food. For a long time, beekeepers have therefore been asking that the jars only be rinsed or sealed when they are put in the old jar.
Diseases such as American foulbrood also have consequences in the USA: Since 2006, the number of bee colonies there has decreased every year, as the BBC reports. The vaccination against American foulbrood should now ensure that as many bee colonies as possible become immune and the bacteria can survive.
The vaccination works like a kind of oral vaccination: the queen bee's food is mixed with inactive bacteria so that she comes into contact with the foulbrood for the first time. The larvae should then also become immune to the bacteria. Beekeepers should be able to buy the vaccine before the end of this year. California's chief beekeeper Trevor Tauzer is already enthusiastic: The vaccination means an "exciting step forward for beekeepers".
Sources: BBC, stern.de