Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

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Countryboy
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Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Countryboy » October 2nd, 2016, 9:01 pm

Starting January 1, 2017, beekeepers will need a prescription or Veterinarian Feed Directive (VFD) to obtain Terramycin or Tylan.

Many beekeepers use TM as an AFB preventative. From what I understand, TM is only labeled for the control, and not for prevention. This means that you will have to have a veterinarian diagnose AFB before the vet can order TM for you. (Who knows how hard it will be to find a veterinarian qualified to diagnose AFB, or how soon you can obtain TM after you find AFB.) Or maybe they will change the label to allow preventative use, but you will still have to have a vet come inspect a (still undetermined) percentage of your hives before you can obtain antibiotics.

So, will beekeepers start burning AFB hives, or trying other techniques like shook swarms to control AFB? Or will US beekeepers order TM from Mexico or Canada, and just use it illegally? (Does Canada sell oxytetracycline over the counter, or do you need a vet prescription to buy it?)

The way the regulations are, you need to have a vet prescription for any antibiotic for any food producing animal. I don't know if you will still be able to buy oxytetracycline at the farm store to be used on your pet dog or horse. If so, beekeepers could just mix sugar with the OTC and use that to treat their bees.

If veterinarians are now required to inspect honeybee hives for disease before they can write a prescription, this will make the bee inspectors job even more redundant.

Last year, AFB was found in 1/10th of 1% of inspected hives in Ohio. Has varroa and wax moths done away with AFB? (The double whammy of AFB and varroa kill hives quickly, and wax moths eat up the combs before the AFB gets spread?) Or are beekeepers treating as a preventative?

The Beltsville lab will do disease diagnosis for any beekeeper or inspector free of charge. Are they now going to start offering their diagnosis services free to veterinarians also?

What all implications does everyone see with these new regulations? If compliance is cost-prohibitive, or if you can't find a vet who will deal with honeybees, how will beekeepers work around the regulations? Will they find ways of obtaining antibiotics illegally, or will they start burning AFB hives instead of trying to treat? Will we see a resurgence in bee diseases? Will beekeepers stock up on antibiotics before the new regulations take effect? How many years can you store TM?
B. Farmer Honey
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Allen Dick
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Allen Dick » October 2nd, 2016, 10:06 pm

People will stock up ahead of the ban. The drugs keep under proper storage. I still have some sufathyazole around somewhere and it was banned decades ago. I have no intention of using it, though.
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Countryboy
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Countryboy » October 9th, 2016, 6:02 pm

Yesterday I sold honey at a local antique and garden show on a local farm. The owner is a veterinarian. (The show is actually his wife's baby. I think Greg is just along for the ride.) Greg and his wife have had a hive of bees in years past, but they never took the time to do much with it, and it died out a few years ago. They find it easier just to get honey from me.

I got a chance to talk to Greg about the new rules. I asked him if he was going to be the veterinarian for honeybees with the new federal regulations requiring anyone with food producing animals to get antibiotics through a vet and he has had bees before. He just sighed. He said he has never found any government program that works as good as common sense.

He said he has been on the phone with the Ohio Department of Agriculture trying to figure out what all he has to do just for animals. No one can tell him anything so far. He said he is supposed to go to Columbus on November 11 for some kind of class/conference with the Dept. of Ag.

He said he didn't know honeybees were going to be under the new rules, but he would ask the government people specifically about honeybees too, and what all is required. I told him from what I had heard, a veterinarian was required to inspect a portion of a beekeeper's hives for disease, but no one knew what percentage needed inspected. I pointed out that since veterinarians are required to diagnose diseases, it pretty much does away with local inspectors. Local inspectors can't help you get antibiotics. I did point out that the Beltsville lab does testing free of charge for beekeepers or inspectors...I figured they are going to do free testing for veterinarians too since they are sort of inspecting. He said he figured no one had ever thought about the implications of having honeybees in the new rules. He said he would do what he could to help out any beekeepers who wanted antibiotics. So if a beekeeper does need antibiotics, it sounds like there is a local veterinarian who is willing to be a vet for honeybees.
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BadBeeKeeper
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » October 9th, 2016, 7:42 pm

I'd be willing to wager that the majority of vets know little or nothing about honey bees and their diseases, or how to identify them. How are vets with no beekeeping experience and no knowledge of honey bee diseases supposed to inspect hives and determine if disease is present?

Are vets going to be required to take courses in honey bee biology and disease identification?

Hives of bees cannot be easily taken to the vet's office. How much will it cost to have a vet come to various locations to inspect and diagnose?

Will the vet be required to provide his own safety gear?

What if there are no local vets available who are willing/able to provide this service?

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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Countryboy » October 9th, 2016, 8:32 pm

I agree that it will be hard to find vets that are willing to work with bees. I asked Greg if he was going to be a honeybee veterinarian because I knew him and his wife had bees before - even if he wasn't trained in bees, he at least isn't afraid of them and has a basic working knowledge of them.

Those are all very good questions, and the sort of questions that made the veterinarian I was talking to say that he doubts anyone from the government ever thought this through. He said he doubted anyone had made any kind of worksheet or checklist yet for veterinarians to use.

Someone just had the idea that bees should be classified as a food producing animal. And now we have these new rules.

I brought up the point to him that if antibiotics are still available over-the-counter for non-food producing animals, (like dogs and cats) beekeepers will just buy them and use them off-label. Greg agreed with me that would happen. He said that any use that isn't on the label is extra-label, but it happens all the time, often because of the difficulty of getting labels changed. He said there is no common sense being applied, and people from the government don't think things through before they do things.

I think it was back in 2010 when beekeepers were using Taktic, (amitraz) which is a mite drench for cows and livestock, to treat mites. Taktic got pulled from the market because so many beekeepers were using it off-label. That winter, a lot of bees died because beekeepers didn't have access to a good mite treatment.

If I remember right, resistance to Apistan (fluvalinate) came about mainly because beekeepers were buying fluvalinate used to spray fruit trees, and they were using it off-label to treat for varroa. They were using really high doses of it, and the next thing you know, the mites developed resistance to it. (And massive amounts of fluvalinate got absorbed into combs, causing a lot of problems with drone infertility and queen issues.)
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Countryboy
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Countryboy » October 15th, 2016, 4:03 pm

The FDA just realized the problems this could cause for minor food producing animals.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/New ... 517671.htm

Now the new rule is you need a veterinarian prescription for poultry, pigs, sheep, etc. but you will still be able to buy antibiotics for honeybees the same as always.
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by meghanom » October 21st, 2016, 4:25 am

Honey bees are definitely still covered, and will need to work with vets to get prescriptions or VFD. There are groups that are working to keep listings of vets who will work with bees. Betterbee is one of them: http://www.beevets.com/

Michigan State University has an info page on this as well: https://pollinators.msu.edu/bees-need-vets/

One of the reasons that we don't know quite as much yet is because some of the final labels have not been released. Once we see all the language, it will be easier to direct people. It shouldn't be too difficult of a transition - and may not require as much work as a lot of people fear. The most important thing now is to set up a relationship with a veterinarian. Having a veterinary patient client relationship is going to be needed, so you can talk to your vet, or talk to other vets. The group at MSU is doing training for vets, and will have materials that will go out to vets that sign up on their list.

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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Countryboy » October 21st, 2016, 8:02 pm

Supposedly Mann Lake is telling beekeepers they will still be selling TM to them after January 1.
The most important thing now is to set up a relationship with a veterinarian.
I disagree. I believe stocking up is the most important thing now. The second most important thing is finding sources of antibiotics from Canada or Mexico. Medical care and drugs for humans are cheaper there, and care for our animals is going to be cheaper there too.

I suspect very few beekeepers will be setting up a relationship with a veterinarian. It's difficult to justify the cost. Who in their right mind would spend a few hundred dollars to get access to a few pennies worth of antibiotics?

The problem is, the idiots who came up with these new rules aren't in their right mind.

Of course, your post also brought up one of the biggest problems...
it will be easier to direct people.
And there it is. It ASSumes that people need directed, or even should be directed. All the college educated idiots in government have forgotten basic principles such as freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility.
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by BadBeeKeeper » October 21st, 2016, 11:06 pm

I agree. It is my intention to stockpile some terramycin. There are no vets that I know of in my area who are prepared to handle beekeeping needs, and even if there were, I'm not prepared to deal with the expense of having to have a 'housecall' for suspected issues. It's less expensive to be prepared.

At this point, I believe I have more education and experience, and ability to diagnose disease, and I am not inclined to wait for someone with a piece of paper to write me an order to give me permission to treat if it should be necessary.

And if anyone should be inclined to attempt to dissuade me, well, I have a treatment for that, too. So far, I have seen nothing that makes anything clear or addresses the questions regarding the issue.

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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by mariobryant » March 20th, 2017, 8:56 am

Only “medically important” antibiotics are affected. These are antibiotics used in both animals and humans. Fumagillin is not one of those. It is an antibiotic, but it is only used for honey bees. Technically, there is no approval for this antibiotic in the U.S. The approval was withdrawn when the company that used to make it in the U.S. did not file paperwork. It is approved in Canada. The company that makes it in Canada is working on an approval in the U.S. In the meantime, because the loss of the label was not due to safety issues, the FDA is allowing US companies to import it from Canada via “enforcement discretion.” That discretion is subject to change at any time, so hopefully the Canadian company does receive their U.S. approval.

The FDA is pushing veterinarians and beekeepers together. Hopefully this is a good thing for both. Neither has invited this change, but both are working to understand how it will work and to make it work. The FDA is still a little unclear on some of the details. Keep informed because there may be changes as time goes on. The FDA is not looking to put beekeepers out of business or to create massive disease outbreaks. The FDA is trying to make sure antibiotics work when people get sick. Hopefully we can overlook some of the small problems created while trying to fix a really big problem.
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by rgsteel » March 30th, 2017, 11:26 am

The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) has been in development now for several years and is now implemented in the US as of January 2017. This directive was developed primarily for the reasons of increased levels of bacterial resistance to antibiotics. There have been a multitude of sources available well before Jan 1 for veterinarians to prepare and become knowledgeable regarding this directive.
There have been alarming rates of resistance of bacteria to antibiotics known to be medically important to humans. These are the antibiotics that are extremely important when dealing with serious human infections where the arsenal of available antibiotics is severely limited due to resistance issues.
It is true, any oral antibiotics administered to any food producing animals in the US must be accompanied with a prescription by a licensed veterinarian within a given state. The honeybee is included as a food producing species. The antibiotic must be labeled for a specific use and that use is being restricted in a treatment manner, not in a preventative nor production related manner. This means one can still treat with a prescription for disease present, but it restricts using it in a production sense, such as using tetracycline in a general sense of making the hive more productive (example: use of chronic, low level feeding of oral tetracycline in cattle for increased weight gains will now be forbidden). Treatments must be specific; its use, level of feeding, duration of feeding and cautions regarding residues in hive products. A gray area is using it as a preventative, such as the case with oral tetracycline and American Foulbrood. There is a cattle disease in the US called anaplasmosis and in the past, oral chlortetracycline was administered for both treatment and prevention of disease. Cattlemen that reside in endemic areas of anaplasmosis often used this antibiotic as a preventative against anaplasmosis. We are still awaiting word if one is in an area where a high incidence of disease can be present, will we still be allowed to use oral antibiotics for prevention of disease?
Remember, this all came about with the increased use of antibiotics promoting resistance. There are reports that there is increased resistance of Paenibacillus larvae to tetracycline (MAAREC Pub. 4.9, Bee diseases and their control. Mid-Atlantic apiary Res & Ext Consortium, 2005). There will be a day when this antibiotic will no longer be effective. Moving on to other antibiotics will only delay the resistance issues. There is also the ethical issue of using antibiotics that have no labeled use in food producing species in the US. Consumers are demanding foods with no residues and producers run the risk of food products having residues when using antibiotics in an off label manner. Stockpiling supplies or attempting to bring antibiotics over the borders only puts our entire industry at risk. Remember, every tanker load of milk produced in this country is subject to testing for antibiotic residues. Those who can’t self regulate may have their own products screened before sale to the public. A good example of this in my state is the recent approval of recreational marijuana. I am surprised the number of shipments of state grown marijuana that is condemned due to pesticide contamination. One wonders how many years have gone by with users being exposed to pesticide residues in this manner.
I agree, the industry must be better served by the veterinary community as currently there does not exist enough veterinarians with the expertise to serve the apiary industry. I would like to see a partnership develop with state Departments of Agriculture and the apiary inspection teams with veterinarians for coordination to develop guidelines and procedures regarding the feeding or oral therapeutics within the hive environment.

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Countryboy
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Re: Honeybee Antibiotics Require Vet Prescription

Unread post by Countryboy » March 30th, 2017, 3:22 pm

Your post sounds like absolutely nonsense propaganda. You sound like someone who works for the government, who doesn't have a clue what you are talking about.
Remember, this all came about with the increased use of antibiotics promoting resistance.
BS. What antibiotic used by veterinarians have diseases developed resistance to?

Veterinarians tend to use a very limited number of antibiotics, which are incredibly effective and which have been used for decades without resistance being developed.

It is human antibiotics which diseases often develop resistance to.

This has nothing to do with resistance to antibiotics, because there is no issue with resistance to the antibiotics used in animals. This is completely about power and control by government idiots who want to spread FUD, fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

We can only hope Trump will drain the swamp of the idiots in favor of these regulations.
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