European Foulbrood (EFB) has emerged as one of the most serious bee diseases in Australia, especially in the southern regions where the weather is colder and more variable.
Significantly impacting hive productivity, EFB is caused by a particular bacteria (Melissococcus pluton) which only affects bees and has no impact on humans.
EFB can be treated by beekeepers with an approved antibiotic called Oxytetracycline Hydrochloride (OTC), which is administered by a veterinarian. Following treatment, there are required withholding periods for honey in order to minimise any residue in bee products.
While OTC is fully approved for use and has no proven harmful effects, Australia has a regulated protective maximum residue limit for honey containing very low levels. As such, all Capilano beekeepers are required to declare their OTC usage in accordance to Australian food and produce laws.