At Expo West, Host Defense highlighted its new Give Bees a Chance campaign (part of its BeeFriendly Research Initiative), an effort to raise awareness for colony collapse disorder (CCD) and new research about the potential for mushroom extracts to help bee populations. CCD increased by 6% in 2015, affecting 41% of the managed bee colonies nationwide. While CCD is not fully understood, multiple factors appear to play a role, including bacterial/viral infection and stress factors such as pesticides, parasitic mites, fungicides and GMO exposure.
In 2014, Paul Stamets, mycologist and founder of Fungi Perfecti/Host Defense, teamed up with Steve Sheppard, chair of the department of entomology at Washington State University, to form the Bee Friendly Initiative to determine how to reverse the dramatic decline of the bee population. In their experiments, 300 sets of bees were fed Host Defense mushroom extracts via feed water in an effort to measure how mushroom extract supplementation impacts viral burdens and longevity. Results showed that reishi and chaga in particular have a substantial benefit to honeybees, extending longevity and increasing immunity. “As an entomologist with 39 years of experience studying bees, I am unaware of any reports of materials that extend the life of worker bees more than this,” says Sheppard.
Retailers can support this ongoing research, particularly phase-2 field hive tests in summer 2016, by stocking and selling Host Defense featured “Give Bees a Chance” products. From April 1 to June 30, 2016, every bottle of Reishi & Chaga, MyCommunity and MycoBotanicals (Brain, Liver and Woman) sold will help support the donation of mushroom extracts, cash and services valued up to $50,000 to Washington State University for their continued research.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine May 2016 (Online 3/31/2016)