La’au Lapa’au | Can Fungi Ease Disease in Bees?

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

by Connor Yearsley

Many people grew up with Winnie-the-Pooh, the good-natured bear who was often looking for “hunny” in rotting tree hollows. Renowned mycologist (fungi expert) Paul Stamets, however, maybe the first person to wonder if some bees are drawn to rotting wood partly because of the health benefits that the fungal mycelia can provide as they break down the wood. Mycelia are the vegetative part of a fungus’ life cycle and consist of threadlike tubes called hyphae that spread in every direction.

With researchers at Washington State University (WSU) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Stamets’ hypothesis that fungi can help bees is being validated with extracts of the mycelia of two fungal species: amadou (Fomes fomentarius, Polyporaceae) and reishi (Ganoderma resinaceum, Ganodermataceae). In laboratory and field trials on the Western or European honeybee (Apis mellifera), these extracts significantly reduced levels of viruses…

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