The benefits of wood-rotting fungi

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Al Stein:
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This is still being studied, it's not peer reviewed, and it's not conclusive, but I feel it's important enough for the bee community to know about it.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.

Al Stein:
I got some questions about this on another site so I wanted to add a few things.

First of all, I should call them mushrooms instead of fungi. People like the word better.
For the record though, mushrooms are just the fruit of fungi.

Second, there is no risk here. This is just a list of the mushrooms that bees like, and evidence that they improve bee health.
These mushrooms are already in the environment, bees already seek them out, mushroom growers see bees on their crops but don't know why.

In the wild, bears scratch trees and these mushrooms colonize the scratches. Then bees find the mushrooms on the tree scratches.

Anyone can buy some mushroom grow kits, put them in their yard and if bees like them, they'll see for themselves.
All you are doing is bringing some of the old growth forest into your back yard.

Very interesting. Do you know where I could read more about this?

Al Stein:
Probably the easiest is the video of Paul Stamets speaking at a Bioneers summit. Catch it on YouTube.

If you're wanting pure mushroom info (no sales) try

The biggest variety of grow kits I could find was at

There probably won't be much more info on these mushrooms unless someone decides to make a profitable product.

These are just part of a healthy, varied diet. Similar to how we don't see ads for celery. Good for us, but not profitable.

Michael Bush:
Bees always seem to prefer rotting equipment.  Beekeepers usually don't...


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