the aspect of Stamets' work that I find most interesting concerns the importance of intact ecosystems including apex predators: bears scratch trees and create a pathway for fungal infection, then bees collect fungus with the resin. what I find much less compelling is his desire to create fungus-based treatments for bees. he is, in effect, saying that we don't actually need to stop spraying horrible pesticides everywhere and spreading vast monoculture or preserve those important ecosystems. instead, we can just isolate the components we're concerned with and put them in beehives while we continue all those other bad habits. he's proposing a new miracle cure that doesn't require any real change. I would guess that it will be popular, but I'm not at all convinced that it will be an entirely positive development.
more simply, it also strikes me as just another treatment that will prevent bees from adapting to local conditions just like other interventions do.
I didn't get from the article that Paul Stamets was doing this process to prop up using pesticides with bees. The article mentions figuring out how to use fungi so they don't use the destructive and increasingly ineffective pesticides.
I agree that it is better for us to do our practices to let the bees choose the fungi if they want it rather than have some exactly timed commercial application that leads to more bee decline.
This is an interesting topic, and I'm not sure that I have a good handle on it, so I would be interested to see other takes on it.
the pesticides in the article are different than the pesticides I mentioned.
the article's pesticides are mostly miticides. Stamet's mushroom treatments are intended to replace those in-hive pesticides.
the pesticides I ambiguously referred to are agricultural pesticides. insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics. the article addressed Stamets et alia working with the largest beekeeper in Washington State. large operations pretty much universally practice migratory beekeeping, and in that capacity, they service industrial ag businesses. do you see where I'm going?
in-hive pesticides are less effective each season. were they to fail entirely, one leg supporting the industrial ag model would be seriously compromised. Stamets' work has the potential to keep that destructive model going after more conventional options have failed. I don't see that as a positive outcome.
He does have this both ways kind of thinking. I want to make millions. And I am going to help the environment. I believe that it is possible to make large amounts of money and do good, but there seems to be a conflict in his way of thinking. 100% one way. Then 100% the other way. I think we can actually evolve to get both done, but not by flip flopping.