American beekeepers may lose up to 37% of their hives this year, according to the USDA. Last year, the organization reported 31% of hives were lost. This is a big problem because it places up to one third of the American food supply in danger.
The USDA says bee colonies are likely suffering colony collapse disorder (CCD). CCD is a syndrome that kills worker bees outside the hive. It has been reported in both the U.S. and in Europe.
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Miami biotech startup Beeologics is creating vaccines for all viruses considered likely to lead to colony collapse. Eyal Ben-Chanoch (one of the first Intel Pentium chip designers) and Ilan Sela (an Israeli expert on the genome sequence of bee viruses) are collaborating together to form this potentially food-saving company.
“There hasn’t been a lot of support for bee health. Our mission is to fill that void,” stated Ben-Chanoch.
With a proprietary vaccine (Remebee) in trials with several beekeepers, the company is waiting on FDA approval. Their plan is to add the drug into the sucrose solution bees feed upon and expect commercialization of the vaccine this summer.
The company currently offers the vaccine at $2 per dose (one dose per month) and expects revenu to come from the remaining 2.5 million hives in the USA.