Bees may be the most important agricultural animals we have. After all, these busy pollinators are integral to the economic interests of crop growers. Honeybees are also food producers. But before 2017, bees generally didn’t have veterinarians. Instead, beekeepers administered over-the-counter medications to their hives as they saw fit.
That all changed when the Veterinary Feed Directive went into effect. Since 2017, beekeepers have had to get a prescription from a veterinarian before treating their hives with certain drugs.
Veterinarians are learning lots from beekeepers—whether they’re backyarders with a few hives or commercial keepers with over 300. And as bees face existential health threats, veterinarians are able to offer their expertise in return.
There’s a learning curve, but it looks to be a win-win partnership.