Beekeepers and experts have hailed the vaccine as a breakthrough – a first step towards controlling more common viruses and pests that have decimated bee populations.

Master beekeeper Tanya Phillips and CNA correspondent Toni Waterman, both wearing beesuits, look at a hive on Ms Philips' bee farm in Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas: Honeybees help to pollinate about one-third of the world’s food crops, but their populations have been in steep decline for decades.

Science is now stepping in to offer these bees a fighting chance.

Earlier this year, the United States Department of Agriculture gave conditional approval for the world’s first vaccine for honeybees, which will boost their immunity against a disease that routinely ravages colonies.