Mycelium materials and bugs


#1

Hello everybody,

I’m curious if anybody here has some knowledge on the resilience of fungal materials against bugs. I have been wondering about this for quite some time now since it’s an important question around the durability of the material. Natural materials are amazing from a sustainability and anti-chemical perspective, but they are part of a bio-cycle and thus food for some sort of organism. Understanding which, why and when is an essential part in taking these materials from being novel and experimental to accepted and respected.

To be clear I’m interested in the dried/dead state of the material, fruit flies can be a pain in the ass during production but that is more of a hygiene thing in my opinion.

I gave the topic some thought and foresee three general problems that insects could cause. I listed them below together with the bugs which could cause these problems. I hope some of you are familiar with research about this topic or have some insights to share. Also, please suggest and add additional suspect or issues since this could be a very interesting research topic for someone to pick up.

  1. Integrity (termites, woodworms)
  2. Nuisance (ants, spiders, larvae and flies)
  3. Health (dust mites, bees and wasps)

The reason for posting this now is because I had a horrific encounter with some larvae this morning. Yesterday when I was cleaning my food cabinet I found some dried oyster mushrooms I grew and stored. They looked like they had been gnawed at by some sort of very tiny rodent and sand like material was at the bottom of the Tupperware box. Intrigued I took the box from the cabinet to take to my lab and expose to some mycelium leftovers, not noticing that the lit had some cracks in it. This morning the box, on my kitchen table, was covered with crawling larvae.

As far as I know the hyphae from which the mycelium is build up don’t differ to much from the ones in the mushroom, although I could be horribly wrong there. For that reason I guess the larvae would like some mycelium as well. I’ll test that the coming week, I’ll take some pictures and post them here. I’ll also try feed some straw and hemp-based mycelium materials to whatever is in the box and report about the findings.


#2


#3

I know from working in insect rearing industry, that larvae will eat pretty much any organic matter unless it’s been treated with chemicals. Including poop, go figure. Some kinds of larvae are repelled by certain conditions (humidity, active compounds, air, …) but there’s bound to be a type that likes whatever conditions that are there.

I have heard (no sources) that the regular earthworm likes (fresh) mycelium. It’s why vermicompost is compatible with mushroom growing. I don’t know about other larvae though.

This insect issue is really good to look into, I think… I specifically wonder how mycelium material measures up to untreated wood.