Possible Organic Remedy For Bee Colony Collapse

David Trammel's picture

This has been recently reported


but this is a particularly well written article on it though I can't tell which type of mushrooms he makes the extract from and whether they are eatable. Since I like mushrooms and want to grow them myself once I retire as well as have a bee hive, the two might be a good fit.

Stamets has a website and sells his medicinal mushrooms. "Mycelium extracts of polypore mushrooms (Reishi and Amadou) have been shown to confer an immune benefit to bees." You can get on his mailing list for updates on his research. They also sell Reishi spawn so you can grow your own. They offer indoor starter kits which can be moved outdoors, or you can start in the great outdoors.

There are a lot of articles on the site, including mushroom recipes. I heartly recommend getting your hands on Thor Hanson's very readable Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson. I was disappointed I didn't get to see him when he was in town at the beginning of this month. He talks about Colony Collapse Disorder in the last third of the book. The EPA says:

Why It's Happening

There have been many theories about the cause of CCD, but the researchers who are leading the effort to find out why are now focused on these factors:

  • Increased losses due to the invasive varroa mite (a pest of honey bees).
  • New or emerging diseases such as Israeli Acute Paralysis virus and the gut parasite Nosema.
  • Pesticide poisoning through exposure to pesticides applied to crops or for in-hive insect or mite control.
  • Stress bees experience due to management practices such as transportation to multiple locations across the country for providing pollination services. 
  • Changes to the habitat where bees forage.
  • Inadequate forage/poor nutrition.
  • Potential immune-suppressing stress on bees caused by one or a combination of factors identified above.

Sigh... my bee colony disappeared a couple days ago... strong and busy one day, gone 3 days later when I retured from a trip. Left all the honey (pounds of it, that I'm now working to harvest before the ants get it) so it's likely colony collapse - the bees get crazed from chemicals and just fly away (no dead bees around the hive)... I'm really grieving for them, though it seems stupid - I was really looking forward to caring for them over the winter, and I'd only taken 4 small frames of honey (there's so much left - couldn't be starvation)... another big $$ investment gone (though it paid for itself in honey, I don't think I'll have the $$ to try again). So frustrating that my 1/2 acre organic garden isn't enough to save them...