European Foulbrood (EFB)
Scientific Beekeeping
EFB is probably the second most feared disease. In the UK it is still a notifiable disease although, with good management and a little luck, a low infection can be managed under the supervision of the bee inspector.

This bacterial infection attacks the bee larva before it is capped. EFB proliferates in the ventriculus (midgut). As the larval gut becomes swollen and distended with the mass of bacteria.

Sometimes other opportunistic infections become part of the process (Enterococcus faecalis or Paenibacillus alve) causing the colour of the larvae to darken. These bacteria are infectious for many species, including man. Oxytetracycline has been used in the past in some countries to treat EFB. It has become less common as the problem of antibiotic resistance in man becomes an issue.
1. The usual image associated with EFB showing swollen larvae with loss of obvious segmentation.

2. An egg laid in a cell with an EFB scale in the bottom.

3. A larva with a secondary infection. The trachae show as white against the brown of the infected soft tissue.

4. Discoloured brood food lying in the cell over the larva.
A section of brood with many EFB infected brood.
A frame showing advanced EFB.