Overuse Of Antibiotics : Big Threat For Bees & Humans


Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin have found out that overuse of antibiotics is bad for humans and bees alike.

Honeybees treated with a common antibiotic (with pink dots) were half as likely to survive the week after treatment compared with a group of untreated bees (green dots).Honeybees treated with a common antibiotic

The scientists found the antibiotics cleared out beneficial gut bacteria in the bees, making way for a harmful pathogen, which also occurs in humans, to get a foothold. The health implication found will also likely be found in human beings. The research is the latest discovery to indicate overuse of antibiotics can sometimes make living things, including people, sicker.

Antibiotics may have been an underappreciated factor in colony collapse

Additionally, the study will also have a great impact for beekeepers and the agriculture industry.

A decade ago, U.S. beekeepers began finding their hives decimated by what became known as colony collapse disorder. Millions of bees mysteriously disappeared, leaving farms with fewer pollinators for crops.

Explanations for the phenomenon have included exposure to pesticides, habitat loss and bacterial infections, but the antibiotics given to bees could also play a role, explained the UT Austin team, led by professor Nancy Moran and postdoctoral researcher Kasie Raymann.


Unisensor improves food safety with screening solutions to detect antibiotics in honey.

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[Photo Credit: Vivian Abagiu/U. of Texas at Austin]