Veterinary students learn to treat a whole host of animal species. But just a couple of years ago, virtually no one thought those would include honeybees.
A new federal directive that tasks veterinarians with treating and prescribing medications for honeybees has prompted opportunities for unique training. At the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, an introductory honeybee health course starts by teaching students how bee pollination supports billions of dollars’ worth of crops across the country.
Soon-to-be veterinarians then learn to assess the health of a honeybee colony as a whole. After learning what normal looks like, they study bacterial infections, mite infestations and pressures from climate change, insecticide use and shrinking habitat — all of which pose serious threats to the survival of honeybees.