Skip to content

Claire Green – Second Place Winner Virtual Southwestern Energy Arkansas Science and Engineering Fair

Screenshot 2021-07-28 124621

Claire Green, Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the
Arts-Hot Springs, AR

Mentor: Dr. Lindsey Waddell

Category: Animal Science Sciences

Project Title: Mushroom Meds for Bees


Bee populations are being negatively affected worldwide by the spread of the Varroa destructor mite, which is not only parasitic but can also transmit viruses. Close observers of nature have noticed mushrooms seem to attract wild bees, and laboratory experiments have found declines in viral loads of caged bees consuming extract. The purpose of this experiment was to discover if offering a homemade syrup made from mushroom extract could improve the health of bees in a community garden apiary in measurable ways. The procedure involved offering the syrup in two hives at a community garden site for two weeks during which hive monitoring equipment did not show significant swings in conditions within the hive. Findings showed a decrease in the number of Varroa mites in both hives. The genetic analysis further showed a drop in Deformed Wing Virus, Black Queen Cell Virus, and Varroa Destructor Virus 1. Other viruses increased but not to dangerous levels, probably due to outside factors like pesticide use that could not be controlled in an urban field study. A second experiment undertaken immediately following the first experiment occurred in a lab over a 72-hour period and featured applying undiluted and diluted extract on a sample of bees and mites, in Petri dishes. Results suggested undiluted extract may be toxic to bees and mites as all died more quickly after application compared to the control. Therefore, while bees in apiaries do seem to benefit from being offered mushroom extract, undiluted extract may be toxic to them.

Scroll To Top