October 19, 2022, Vita Bee Health — Following huge Canadian honey bee losses last winter and spring, a product to combat two major honey bee diseases has been revitalized and reintroduced to market by honey bee health specialists Vita Bee Health. By helping to stem the losses of honey bee colonies, the treatment, OxyTet-62.5, will also be of huge benefit to Canadian agriculture which is so dependent upon healthy and plentiful pollinators.
Last winter, Canadian honey bee colony losses in many areas often exceeded 50%, affecting honey production and honey bee supply for crop pollination across the country. Several factors have been implicated in the honey bee 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.
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 honey bees 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 honey bees 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 honey bee 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 honey bees 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 honey bee expertise.
Vita Bee Health is a mite control and honey bee health specialist. It is the world’s largest dedicated supplier of honey bee health products to the honey and pollination industries. Vita’s honey bee health product range includes anti-varroa acaricides — Apistan® (outside the USA/Canada) and Apiguard® — chalkbrood control, foulbrood diagnostic kits and health-promoting feeds. Vita also supplies Asian hornet traps, Small Hive Beetle traps, a Bee Gym varroa grooming aid and swarm lures. Vita products have been registered by more than 60 veterinary authorities.
Florida Bees and Beekeepers Were Hit Hard by Hurricane Ian. You can help.
Hurricane Ian’s landfall in late September was a disaster affecting honey bees and beekeepers not only in Florida but nationwide. Many commercial beekeepers were in Florida at the time, both for the Brazilian pepper honey crop and to begin overwintering preparations for California almonds. This disaster will have ripple effects throughout our industry.
Tens of thousands — possibly hundreds of thousands — of bee colonies were damaged or wiped out entirely in the storm, and many thousands of others face the threat of starvation due to the loss of forage.
Relief efforts have been underway. An event October 16 at beekeeper Eli Mendes’ Tropic Trailer in Fort Myers brought feed and supplies from all over, with 70-80 trucks backed up at one time according to one attendee. “You couldn’t get near his place at 8:30 and it wasn’t supposed to start till 9.” In addition to donations from beekeeping suppliers large and small, relief organization Greater Good Charities has partnered with the Florida State Beekeepers Association to solicit additional funds.
You can help! To donate to hurricane relief for bees and beekeepers, see Greater Good Charities at: