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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this in the treatment-free area, but I think it's better suited here.
As a mycologist, I wanted to make sure that the latest fungal research gets in front of the bee keeping community.
Bees have been found to seek out several species of wood-rotting fungi. They have been seen sipping from the sugar-rich fungal roots.
A preliminary study showed that access to these fungi substantially reduced bees viral load.
One of the theories of CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder, is that farming use of anti-fungals has reduced the availability of these beneficial fungi.
This is still being studied, it's not peer reviewed, and it's not conclusive, but I feel it's important enough for the bee community to know about it.

These are known species of fungi that bees seek out:

Ararikon, laricifomes officinalis
Tinder Polypore, fomes fomentarius
Red Belted Polypore, fomitopsis pinicola
Garden Giant, stropharia rugosoannulata
Turkey Tail, trametes versicolor
Chaga, inonotus obliquus
Red Reishi, gandoderma lucidum
Red Reishi, gandoderma resinaceum

They grow on willow, birch, and fir, although the Garden Giant will grow with corn.

These fungi are assumed to help the bees through their anti-viral properties and thus contribute to their general well being.
I haven't found any bee supply companies offering these fungi.
I have found a couple of fungi supply companies that sell Mushroom Growing Kits for many of these species, but not all of them.
The growing kits are just rotting wood, easy enough, and bees will find them on their own when they want them.

My goal is to help stop CCD, and if fungi can help with that, wonderful!
I hope this helps.
 

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Thanks. Is it Paul Stamets who gave few lectures on the same subject ? Can you share any controlled studies and atleast draft version of findings ?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, that's Paul Stamets. You can see him talk about it on a Bioneers summit.
But he is primarily working on a fungal product for the Varroa mite.

What I'm showing here are the species that are part of bees natural immune system.
As I said in the post, this is not peer reviewed. At this point it is strictly observational. You are getting the info as soon as we have it.
These fungi are already in the environment and bees already seek them out, so there is no risk here.
Fungi growers talk about bees on their crops, but they don't know why.

I'm just wanting beekeepers to know which fungi bees like, and that there's evidence that it makes them healthier.
Anyone can buy a fungi growing kit, stick in the yard, and if bees want it, you'll see for yourself.

In the wild, bears scratch trees and these fungi colonize the scratches. Bees then find the fungi on the scratches.
Growing your own wood-rotting fungus is just bringing some of the old growth forest into your back yard.
 

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I knew there was a good reason for avoiding yard work! Keep those sticks around the yard. :)

Thanks for sharing this. I look forward to seeing where your research leads you and hope you'll keep us updated.
 

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we have a ton of turkey tail in my woods near my hive, I can't say i've ever seen a bee on them, doesn't mean they don't utilize them though.
 

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I recall something our a couple of years back that suggested that antifungals were causing harm to honeybees. These had been largely ignored due to attentions given to insecticides and to herbicides destroying forage, but with the close relationships between bees and yeasts and fungi, I found it no surprise.

We don't have an abundance of those species of trees at our place. We have white, red, and black oak, tulip poplars, maples, and odds and ends of other species. A few pines, spruce and hemlocks for the evergreens.

I use partly rotted oaks as smoker fuel.

This time of the year especially, our bees go after the compost pile, which we did originally innoculate with rotting hardwood.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I love these stories of nature at work!
Most of the research on fungi focuses on cancer and other medical uses. Research follows the money.
So, there may not be studies on these fungi and their relationship with bees.
Unless someone can make a profitable product, this might be all you hear about this.
It's like celery. It's good for you but no one is advertising it. It's up to us to eat healthy.
That's why I put up the list. My hope is that this info spreads, because it won't show up on TV.
 

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This is fascinating. Please post any news on this front. I'll be tuned in to see what else comes of this research.
 

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we've innoculated some chip piles, manure piles, asparagus beds, straw, etc...with good results. our chickens will dig up all the mycelium so we have to keep them out. i see the bees anywhere there is good moisture, including the mushroom beds. they really like the soaker hose in the strawberry beds too. my favorite that i've grown so far were the pleurotus eryngii (king oyster). i also have a bed that i made to innoculate but then didn't. every year something new and crazy fruits in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I love that image, Justin. Nature at work.
I don't keep bees myself but they are all over my plants in the spring and summer.
I'm considering a mushroom garden for them.
 

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Our problem is how to get the morels to grow again. We spotted some on the remains of a wood pile some years back, but before I could look them up to verify that's what they were, a bear got them.

I had a mycologist as my faculty advisor years ago, but never took any courses in the subject.
 

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My goal is to help stop CCD, and if fungi can help with that, wonderful!
CCD? What CCD? AFAIK, no one has ever identified any such thing as 'CCD'. Even Stamets cannot identify anything specific that can be called 'CCD'- Here is a direct quote from his patent application:

Although the exact cause(s) and mechanisms of CCD remain to be elucidated...
Further quoting from the application:

Colony losses and bee disappearances have occurred throughout the history of beekeeping (“apiculture”), including various honey bee syndromes in the 1880s, the 1900s through the 1920s, the 1960s and the 1990s, such as “disappearing disease,” “spring dwindle,” “fall dwindle,” “autumn collapse” and “mystery disease.” In 2006, some beekeepers began reporting unusually high losses of 30-90 percent of their hives. This disappearing bee affliction was renamed “colony collapse disorder” (CCD, sometimes referred to as spontaneous hive collapse or Mary Celeste syndrome in the UK). CCD may or may not be related to the prior colony loss syndromes...
He can't say what it is, but he has a 'cure' for it?

As noted, there have been several incidences of massive colony losses that have never been explained, but current issues are no mystery at all- mites kill hives, "Varroa mites, a virus-transmitting parasite of honey bees, have frequently been found in hives hit by CCD." This is also a quote from the application. His numbers in the 'Background' are also rather suspect, but the PTO is not in the business of judging the accuracy of such statements. Personally, I think he has been partaking of his 'magic mushrooms' for far too long.

Patent here:
https://www.google.com/patents/US9474776

But he is primarily working on a fungal product for the Varroa mite.
quote from Claim #5 of the application:
5. The method of claim 1 wherein the composition for improving bee health additionally comprises a miticide selected from the group consisting of synthetic miticides, natural miticides and combinations thereof, and wherein the natural miticides are selected from the group consisting of Neem extracts, oxalic acid, formic acid, lactic acid...
If you want 'all natural', this ain't it.

All this patent is for, is a -method- of combining fungal extracts with other products. I see no evidence that it does what is being claimed.

As I said in the post, this is not peer reviewed. At this point it is strictly observational.
And until there -are- peer-reviewed studies that can be replicated by others, that -prove- the claims, reasonably cognitive individuals must assume that it is just what it appears to be- snake oil.

I'm just wanting beekeepers to know which fungi bees like, and that there's evidence that it makes them healthier.
Anyone can buy a fungi growing kit, stick in the yard, and if bees want it, you'll see for yourself.
Yeah? I have scads of these fungi around my bee yard, and I have never, ever seen one single bee on them. Where is the 'evidence'? Oh, yeah, you already said that THERE ISN'T ANY, just a few sentences ago. No peer-reviewed studies, no evidence.

we have a ton of turkey tail in my woods near my hive, I can't say i've ever seen a bee on them...
Yep, same here. I'm loaded with these things on my gray birch and aspen.

Research follows the money. So, there may not be studies on these fungi and their relationship with bees.
Hey, if there was a magic cure for Varroa, there would be plenty of beekeepers beating a path to the door and throwing money. Those are weasel-words that make it sound even more like snake-oil.

My hope is that this info spreads, because it won't show up on TV.
Well, it shouldn't...not without proof/evidence.
 

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This is fascinating. I live in the Ozarks adjoining thousands of acres of hardwood timber. Hopefully my bees can find something in there that they need.
 

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Al, thanks for the insight.
Backwoods, I sort of agree with you regarding Stamets, & most who advertise . You must be pretty motivated, for such a long response.
(Al, I enjoyed your response in post #14)
 

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Thanks for sharing this! Started a great discussion ... and now I'll be checking out the various fungi on our property.
 

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My bees LOVE potting soil. I've a question, I've seen "dog vomit fungus" in my yard a few years ago. Just the other day I saw what looked like "dog vomit fungus" in one of my garden beds, but it was white, and looked a little different than the stuff I've seen before. Would you have any idea what it could be, and why would it be next to my cauliflower? TIA
 

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Imaginative picture sub-titling.

On this picture the bees very well could be just collecting water.
What they do in my backyard routinely - collect water from moist and rotting wooden mulch/rotting wood (this is nothing about the fungus).
Got to think..
It is also possible why bees like collecting the water from moist rotting wood - the very presence of the fungus/bacteria/whatever.
Who knows.
They do like sucking on wet wood chips, that's for sure.
 
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