Hives of honeybees in the Upper Cumberland are suffering from American Foulbrood, a contagious bacterial disease that can kill the entire hive.
Symptoms include a distinctive odor in the hive, sunken brood comb and the normally white larvae turning brown.
The Cookeville Herald-Citizen said 44 colonies have been affected in Putnam, Overton and Cumberland counties. Typitcall, eight cases are found statewide annually.
In the past, beekeepers have been able to use antibiotics to control the disease. However this recent outbreak seems to be a new strain resistant to the current antibiotics.
American Foulbrood cannot be transferred to humans, but it does kill the bees that are responsible for the reproduction of countless species of plants and increasing the quantity and quality of many agricultural crops.