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How Mushrooms Could Help Save Honey Bees

By Kristin Hunt

Environmentalists have been sounding the alarm on honeybee populations since 2006, when beekeepers started noticing mass — and seemingly freak — deaths among their hives. They were witnessing colony collapse disorder, a frustratingly vague phenomenon that’s caused by pesticides, poor nutrition, habitat loss, disease, or all of the above.

Colony collapse disorder has continued to ravage honey bee hives to this day, but a new scientific study points to a possible antidote. The paper suggests that mushrooms may boost honeybee immune systems, helping them ward off some of the viruses associated with colony collapse disorder.

The research was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature. For this study, the scientists separated their honey bees in to control and test colonies. Bees in the control group received a normal diet of sugar syrup, while those in the test group got sugar syrup boosted with a fungal extract.