In recent years, honeybees were hit by a devastating virus that brought massive bee die-offs. In 2018, the researchers from Washington State University conducted a study which proved that specific type of mushroom extract could help the bees to fight against the deadly virus. The USDA and a Washington based business called Fungi Perfecti helped with collaborators of the study as well.
Steve Sheppard, a WSU entomology professor who is also one of the paper’s authors, believes that this finding will put an end to the devastating virus.
“Varroa mites hurt the bees by spreading and amplifying viruses, and it put stress on the immune system of the bees. It makes them more susceptible to infections contributing to shortening worker bee life spans. We hope that the findings of the study will lead us on the right track. We don’t have much time because the world’s food supply hinges on our ability to find ways to improve pollinator health,” said Sheppard.
Paul Stamets, the owner of the Fungi Perfecti, is also a co-author of the study.
Sheppard announced that Paul previously worked on a project that showed the beneficial site of the mycelial extracts on human cells. He was worried about the virus killing the bees, and then he suggested to use the extract on them. After two years, this experiment brought positive results.
Currently, the mycelium extract is not available in large quantities, but Stamets says they are going to increase its production.
The scientists don’t know yet how the extract works. But they believe it fights the viruses directly or it might boosts the immune system.
“We are not sure if the mycelium is fighting the viruses or it’s boosting the immune system. We are working to find out and determine how much extract should be used and when to have the best impact,” added Sheppard.
If you want to take care of bees, now is the moment.