Home Curiosity A Mushroom Extract Could Save Honeybees From The Ongoing Phenomenon “Colony Collapse...

A Mushroom Extract Could Save Honeybees From The Ongoing Phenomenon “Colony Collapse Disorder”


We’re sure you’ve heard that honeybees are dying in significant numbers. Scientists believe that there are various causes for this, from habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and herbicides to viruses that are provoking a group of symptoms known as “colony collapse disorder.”

For example, there’s one virus known as “deformed wing virus” that causes bees to develop disfigured wings. Until now, scientists have not developed any antiviral treatment that could protect the bees from this virus.

But, fortunately, one study published in the journal Scientific Reports has shown that a mushroom extract might help save honeybees and it could even boost up the population of bees globally. More precisely, it is mycelia—cobweb-like fungal membranes which can be found in and on soil from 2 species, Red Reishi and “tinder fungus” mushrooms.

Years ago, Paul Stamets, a Washington mycologist, noticed that bees appeared drawn to water droplets on mushrooms in his yard. But at the time, what he spotted remained only an observation.

However, later, one day he was reading about the antiviral properties of fungi for people. And this propelled him to wonder if the mushroom water actually benefited the bees in his garden.

So, in order to test his theory that mushrooms could save honeybees, Stamets conducted a study together with colleagues at Washington State University.

The team fed sugary mushroom broth to one group of bees and only sugar water to another group. What they found was that the “mycelial broth” helped the bees fight off two viruses associated with colony collapse disorder. On the other hand, the bees that drank just sugar water kept on struggling with both viruses.

Stamets thinks that nutrients in the mushrooms give the immune systems of the bees a boost – contrary to a vaccine, which immunizes the body against a particular disease.

Although there’s still much more work to be done and additional tests to be done, the results of this study have undoubtedly offered hope for the future of honeybees.