First Vaccine for Honey Bees Developed in Finland

Bloomberg reports scientists at the University of Helsinki have developed the first vaccine to protect honey bees against microbial infections.


“We might be right now at a tipping point, without even realizing it,” Dalial Freitak, the lead scientist on the project, said in an interview to Bloomberg. “We’ve been taking the pollination services for granted for so long. These insects are not there, they are disappearing.”

This vaccine inoculates bees against American foulbrood and is administered via an edible sugar patty that’s suspended in the hive for the queen to consume for a little more than a week. The pathogens will spark an immune response in her offspring, eventually inoculating a hive.

This research is in the early stage, but the hope is this technology could be used to defend hives against fungal and bacterial infections.