Oh, Mary

Can Mushroom Magic Help Us Save The Bees?

January 2, 2019
Roger van Oosten

Between April 2017 and April 2018 beekeepers across the United States lost 40 percent of their colonies. The villain of this scourge is a microscopic mite aptly named the Varroa destructor.

The bees we rely on to pollinate the fruit, vegetables and nuts we consume face many dangers. Pesticides and the loss of native forage lands have threatened bee colonies for decades. But the Varroa destructor parasite has evolved to withstand every synthetic pesticide known to man.

But now comes hope from research scientists at Washington State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mycologists have discovered that living tissue from common mushrooms boost the immune systems in honeybees to allow them to fight off the vast variety of viruses that the Varroa destructor injects into colonies of defenseless bees.

While these initial trials have yielded promising results, more are needed. Mycology research is severely underfunded. We need to encourage food growers and manufacturers to fund future trials, before we lose another 40% of our bee colonies and face a significant shortage of the fruits and vegetables that provide essential to nutrition to people around the world.

We’re proud of our client, Tree Top, for joining General Mills and the Xerces Society in their effort to support farmers across the U.S. by providing technical assistance to plant and protect pollinator habitat, such as native wildflower field edges and flowering hedgerows. Through 2021, this partnership will help plant over 100,000 acres of pollinator habitat.

For all the good that such programs might achieve, we can’t assume that our bee population will thrive in the future. We encourage individuals and corporations to support the ongoing mycology studies at Washington State University to battle the invasive species that threaten us all.

Action Mary is all about activism. It’s not just part of our name. It’s a core value. If you share our values, please contact us at actionmary.com to learn more about how you can help.