it's interesting research. could be used a couple of ways, though. it would be great if it contributes to spreading the knowledge that complex thriving ecosystems are a really good thing, including for bees. I fear, however, that it is more likely to be used to sell new bee treatments that will prop up industrial agriculture and wholesale ecological destruction a little longer.
I was literally just about to post this!! Some cool quotes from the article, for those who don't want to read through it:
In both indoor experiments and outdoor field tests, bees that fed on mycelium extracts fared significantly better than those that drank only sugar water. In caged bees infected with DWV, the researchers observed an 800-fold decrease in virus titres (a measure of the level of virus in the bee's system) among bees dosed with amadou extract. The effect was less powerful in the field, which are less strictly controlled than lab trials—colonies fed reishi extract saw a 79-fold reduction in DWV, those fed amadou extract a 44-fold reduction—but the results were still highly significant. (In other field tests, bees fed reishi extract saw a remarkable 45,000-fold reduction in Lake Sinai virus—another disease ravaging honeybee populations.)
This is probably a small part of why commercial and transported bees used for mass agricultural pollination suffer -- there probably aren't many mushrooms available in those fields.
"Whenever I hear about something like this, I immediately think of the risks and drawbacks," says Lena Wilfert, an evolutionary ecologist at the University of Ulm in Germany who studies the spread of viruses among honeybees. Of the known viral pathogens affecting the insects, she says, DWV poses the greatest threat of all, so she appreciates the potential benefits of powerful virus-nerfing agents. "But any time you apply a medication at large scale, you're going to have potential for resistance evolution in the thing it targets." Those questions have yet to be probed.
"We have to prove all this, you know? And thankfully, I've become more disciplined as a scientist, being around other scientists," says Stamets, who acknowledges that there's much more work to be done. "We're doing tests right now in several hundred more beehives. We're ramping up."
I fear, however, that it is more likely to be used to sell new bee treatments that will prop up industrial agriculture and wholesale ecological destruction a little longer.
Those nice people at Big Chemical Inc wouldn't do that to us would they?
The pollination of almonds in California alone requires relocating over 75% of the managed honey bee colonies (nearly 2 million) in the United States on this single crop during bloom. Over the past decade, beekeepers have experienced a dramatic increase in annual colony losses, typically averaging well over 30%2,3,4. This combination of high demand and reduced supply has led to expansive increases in pollination costs for growers, while beekeepers have been hard-pressed to maintain adequate numbers of healthy honey bee colonies to remain economically viable, even with the benefit of higher pollination service fees.
Quoted from the article. If memory serves it was more like a 90% death rate the year before last. Not sure about last year.
Argue for your limitations and they are yours forever.