The benefits of wood-rotting fungi

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Al Stein:
I posted this in the Organic section, but I think this may be more appropriate 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This is still being studied, it's not peer reviewed, and it's not conclusive, but I feel it's important enough for the bee community to know about it.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.

A separate issue is the Varroa mite.
Mycologist Paul Stamets is working on a bio-control fungus, metarhizium anisopliae.
I don't think his product is available commercially yet, but I don't know.
(I have no connection with him)

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

That is very interesting.  The land I live on is loaded with rotten wood very near the hives.  We have willows but primarily the trees are box elder.  This year for some reason our house is infested with thousands of box elder bugs when we get warm days.  I lost another hive this year so I am back down to one but I wonder if the rotten wood has anything to do with making it 6 years without treatments?

Pretty interesting Al.
Do you have pictures of the different fungi for us to learn how to recognize them. Please send the pictures to one of the moderators to add to this thread. You will not be able to add them due to being new.
The only trees that I have in my area are the Birch and Willow.
Funny thing is that we just planted a bunch of Willow trees in pots to be able to plant them on our farm and the previous owners planted several River Birch trees in the front of our property.

Al Stein:
I don't recommend people I.D. these fungi on their own. Many of these are edible and DIY fungi identification usually ends in the E.R.
I found a couple of mushroom companies that sell growing kits for most of these.
But, I didn't want to mention names because I don't want people to think I'm marketing.
This is all about the bees for me.

Al Stein:
Something came up on another site about this, so let me add this.

There is no risk here.
These mushrooms already are growing in the environment, bees already seek them out, and mushroom growers see bees on their crops but don't know why.

This is just a list of the mushrooms that bees like, plus some evidence that they are beneficial to bee health.

Anyone can buy some mushroom growing kits, and if bees like them they'll see for themselves.

They are just bringing a piece of old growth forest into their back yard.


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