Honeybee Hero: Paul Stamets

Photo credit: fungi.com

Photo credit: fungi.com

To boldly go where no man has gone before
— Star Trek Next Generation

Open Letter to Mr. Stamets

Dear Mr. Stamets,

Just to warn you, I will probably say something really stupid/silly if we ever meet in person. Though I’ve been practicing keeping my composure like a queen for when this moment comes, there is no guarantee that, despite my best efforts, I won’t pass out. I apologize ahead of time for this reaction. I am madly in love with the work you do for honeybees, and I don’t care who knows it.

Ideally, I will remain conscious and composed for our encounter. If this miracle happens, I have some questions I would love to ask you.

  • How did you feel when you had thousands of bees on your body? Would you do it again?

  • I have watched and shared your Joe Rogan interview with many. I deeply admire and appreciate your intuitive observation of the bees using mushroom medicine, and your efforts to recreate this benefit on a mass scale. I’m curious when you predict we will see this alternative hive treatment available, and whether or not you’re writing a book about this work?

  • It is a dream of mine to play a character on Star Trek (Trekkies Unite!). How did you feel when you got the call about Dr. Paul Stamets on the new Star Trek series? Would you ever do a cameo?

  • I once heard that beekeepers are one of the only professions where one can get hired anywhere in the universe. I would guess the same is true for mycologists. Do you believe bees (pollinating insects/beings) and fungi exist on other planets?

  • If you were summoned to visit another planet that had unknown fungi presence, but there would be no chance to return to Earth, would you go?

  • What kind of water do you drink?

  • What is one mushroom that you dream of finding, but have yet to find?

  • Your favorite mushroom dish?

  • As far as we know, cannabinoid systems exist only in creatures with vertebrae… do you think cannabinoids could be beneficial to bees?

  • Do you have a favorite honey? / Do you recall the best honey you’ve ever had?

  • My other questions dive deep into the love of Star Trek, and conspiracies about portobello mushrooms… so I’ll have to save them for another time…

Please, please, please, someone record this if it happens, because I definitely will not be able to remember all of his responses.

If you don’t know who Mr. Paul Stamets is yet… I am honored to be the one to introduce you.

A Hero’s Biography

I was introduced to Paul Stamets through his book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World published in 2005. I was living on Maui and was just starting to get intrigued by mushroom hunting and cultivation. To anyone who loves mushrooms, Paul Stamets is a legend, and his books are bibles. He is an internationally recognized mycologist, having discovered multiple different mushrooms and won many awards. And of course, he’s been featured in documentary films like The 11th Hour, Dirt: The Movie, and 2012: Time for Change.

On the newest Star Trek series, Star Trek Discovery, Stamets has a character named after him on the show, Lieutenant Commander Paul Stamets, Chief Engineer of the USS Discovery. On this show, Stamets is portrayed as an astromycologist and is credited with discovering a mycelial network that powers an advanced spore drive. The spore drive uses a mycelial network that is being cultivated on board of the USS Discovery to plot coordinates between two locations in space and then to promptly travel there. Thanks to Wikipedia for this description… I don’t think I could have articulated it that well from the couple episodes I’ve seen, but I love the concept!

You may also have seen Stamets’ mushroom supplements at your local natural vitamin store or health food store. He owns a company called Host Defense and makes a wide range of immunity-boosting, brain-enhancing, liver-cleansing formulas with different extracts of highly medicinal fungi. I personally take the lion’s mane for my nervous system, and the women’s formula for my menstrual cycle and overall well-being.

On Paul’s site fungi.com, you can also purchase home kits for growing your own mushrooms. Last year, I successfully grew 4 different types of mushrooms right in my room: Lion’s Mane, King Stropharia, Maitake, and Pearl Oyster. Though they took constant watering, it was so cool watching them grow every day! If I didn’t have so many travel plans in my future, I would definitely grow some again! I believe I’ve heard Paul say in an interview that the Pioppino are some of his favorites, so that would be my next attempt for sure!

Bee Mushroomed

So, why is Paul Stamets a Honeybee Hero if all he’s famous for is Fungi? What does this all have to do with saving the bees?!

According to what he shared on an interview for the Joe Rogan Show, Paul observed bees “sipping on the little droplets oozing from the mycelium” from a mushroom called “the garden giant” he planted in his garden. He had a lucid dream seeing how mushrooms could improve the immunity of hives to end Colony Collapse Disorder. If you don’t watch anything I ever post again, Please watch this:

He teamed up with Washington State University to research the possibility of creating a mushroom extract just for bees and has been published in Nature’s Scientific Reports. Mycelium extracts of polypore mushrooms (Reishi and Amadou) are showing to improve the immunity of bees. I wrote my open letter to Paul a few weeks ago, and in this time Mr. Stamets has answered half of my second question (I’m curious when you predict we will see this alternative hive treatment available?) His BeeMushroomed Initiative has launched!

I am stoked beyond measure… and you should be too! I believe this could be the most important initiative of our lifetime. With no bees, our own elimination is inevitable. This is the tipping point for humanity, and the saving grace is as simple as mushrooms and honeybees.

Paul and his team have developed a “Bee-Feeder” to distribute this mushroom medicine among all bees, wild or tamed. Make this purchase your priority. Mark your calendar’s for the release of this vital invention for our planet.

My deepest gratitude to you, Mr. Stamets. I am in awe of your role in this story called humanity, and can only vow to continue my own work for the bees and mushrooms as long as we all shall live.

And of course…

Live long, and prosper
— Spock
Laura Hetland