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Everything you need to know about buying spores! Lets take a closer look at Spores, what they are, and the top Spore Vendors of 2023-2024!

What are Spore Syringes?

Spore syringes are syringes containing a solution of mushroom spores suspended in sterile water and other inert ingredients like wetting agents that prevent them sticking to the plastic. A single spore syringe contains millions of spores. Each tiny clump you can see with the naked eye is thousands of spores clumped together.
Liquid Culture syringes are different, they are in the next stage of development where active growth has begun.

What are Spore Prints?

In mycology (the study of mushrooms), spore prints are like a mushroom’s fingerprint. They’re made by laying a fresh mushroom cap face down on a piece of paper or foil overnight to deposit their variously colored spores. Psilocybe Cubensis spore prints, for example, are generally bluish-black and vaguely resemble the iris of a human eye due to the arrangement of gills underneath the cap.

How long do Spore syringes last?

Spore syringes will generally last at least 6 months and often up to two years. Spores in this form won’t survive as long as in spore prints, but they’re more manageable in measuring a specific volume of liquid for study. They are best kept in a cool dark environment. You should refrigerate if you plan on keeping one longer than a few months. 

What is with all the strains? Are there really that different?

We all know there are many varieties of mushrooms, but in each species there are small differences based on where they come from and how they are grown. When mycologists find an unusual trait, they will clone or take spores from that particular mushroom and try to reproduce that trait.

 Lets take apples as an example. You may see 10 different varieties of apples at the grocery store and each one has its own unique properties even though it is really just an apple. Some people may prefer one over another but in general they are all grown the same way and are still just an apple.

Strain isolation and cloning has become a business on its own. While certain strains may be more potent than others, the difference is extremely small and only noticeable to an experienced grower. What is most important is starting with a clean syringe and the strain is not over cloned and preferably first or second generation. 

Spore Vendor's: Why its important you buy from a reputable company.

Every year hundreds of thousands of dollars of grain and substrate is wasted because people bought spores from what they thought was a legitimate spore vendor. 2022 & 2023 has been a year of many new "pop up" spore vendors with fancy websites. We know first hand when it comes to what vendors are good and which ones are not. Literally the success of our business depends on your success and it all starts with a quality spore syringe.

We can't stress enough how important it is to order your spores from a spore vendor that actually makes their own syringes! We are constantly amazed by how many spore websites do not actually make their own spores.

Some jaw dropping statistics we learned this year and are estimating, to the best of our knowledge, on extensive research done on the top 75 spore websites ranked by Google (October, 2023) 

  • 70% of the top 75 spore companies do NOT actually ship orders themselves.
  • Out of the remaining 30%, less than half actually produce the spore syringes themselves in house. They import pre-filled syringes from overseas. 
  • Out of that 10%, only 7% actually operate a commercial business and lab.

It was amazing to learn so much about that industry this year. Although we won't name names. There is one single person in New York City that operates 14 different spore websites and in talking to this person, all that mattered to him was getting the lowest wholesale price on syringes. No concern for quality of the strains and commented that the average consumer will never know the difference between strains.

The next place we want to talk about is the off site trading and word of mouth people from Reddit/Facebook groups and the Dark Web. Standard consumer protections may fail you when it comes to the grey marketplace for certain spores. The risk of fraudulent advertising and payment scams increases on the darknet, so after purchasing, you’re more or less on your own. In addition, there’s no guaranteeing that spore syringes or spore prints ordered online will contain actual spores, and there may be no recourse to get a refund or exchange coupon for an illegitimate product.

While you might get lucky and find a "guy" on FB or Reddit selling cheap syringes that are actually good, when you want to order again that could easily change. So many of these one strain wonders come and go all the time. Just stay away. 

To summarize, When doing research on where to get your spores, know that no vendor is perfect 100% of the time. The art or science of making spore syringes is inherently a dirty process and no matter how good the lab is, there is always a small chance a print could contain a trace amount of contamination. Most larger spore companies have the tools to reduce this chance but nevertheless things do happen.

Who are our recommended Vendors?

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Premium Spores has been around for many years now, and their quality is top notch. With a wide range of Spores to choose from, you most likely find what you are looking for at this site. Premium Spores has great email customer service, and a quick turnaround rate when it comes to shipping. We tip our hats to Premium Spores and give a big “Thank You” for leading this industry in the right direction. As of November 2023, Premium Spores accepts all major debit and credit cards directly on their website! Premium Spores has a large loyal fan-base and are the first spore company to bring strains like Air Force 1 and Luminous Lucies to market. They are based not too far from our headquarters in Huntley, IL. 

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Spore Genetics is another Vendor we fully endorse. Spore Genetics has been around for some time. They recently did a site revamp of their online shopping cart system and we are impressed with the flow and ease of use. Spore Genetics specializes in only certain varieties of Spores, giving them great success no matter what you choose. Their "secret" spore solution keeps spores fully hydrated, and in peak condition for longer than most. They have recently expanded their offerings and now sell some very popular strains.

As of December 2023, Spore Genetics accepts all major debit and credit cards directly on their website! , along with many other quick and easy payment methods. When it comes to shipping their turnaround, rate is impeccable, usually same or next day and very discreet. They also have a good customer service team, that is there for you when you need them. Unlike many other spore vendors you can call them and chat with a representative right away. We hope in the future they continue to broaden their spore selection, but we will keep an eye on this team!

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ITW has ranked high for many years now and this year they stepped in to number 3 spot on our list surpassing ITW has a huge, ever changing inventory of spores strains. If you are looking for something new or rare, they are bound to carry it! Their customer service is great and their turnaround time is 1-2 days. They are also known to throw in extras on orders. We had a chance to meet their team in person this year and have nothing but good things to say.

Our DO NOT order from list

Our customer service team is constantly hearing from people who have purchased spores from new vendors we have never heard of and vendors with known issues. They log these vendors in our database so we can keep an updated tally of vendors to avoid. This is our top 4 sites to avoid, if you feel one of these sites should not be on this list please contact our admin team and we are happy to give more details on each specific situation. It takes 5 or more separate complaints to make this list.

We also suggest you do not buy spores on Amazon, EBay and be careful buying on ETSY as well.

Common issues & what to look for in your spore syringe

Your package just arrived and you are anxious to get started. When you open your package you will notice a few different things depending on who you ordered from and what strain you ordered. 

I don't see anything in my syringe!

The number one complaint we hear from people is that they cannot see many spores in the syringe. "All I got was water!"  If you purchased a spore syringe for cheap somewhere, you may be right. If you purchased from a reputable company, you should be able to see black specs after shaking. Most vendors these days overload the syringes with spores so that they appear in many dark chunks or clusters. You really cannot judge a syringe by looks. Spores are microscopic and only can be seen by the human eye when 1,000 or more join together. If you feel that your syringe does not contain spores, test it on agar plate first and see if anything grows.

I only see one big round blob of spores

Depending on the strain and the vendor, you may receive a syringe with a blob. This is totally normal and has more to do with the way the syringes are made. Larger spore vendors use centrifuge machines to separate spores from the mushroom tissue and the additives required in this process cause the spores to form a big circular clump. Before using, make sure you shake it up and tap it lightly to break up the spores so you evenly inject them into your jars or bags.

My syringe looks like clear Jello or the spore clumps are surrounded by a clear gelatin like substance.

This is the only clear sign of bacteria present in the syringe you can visually detect. When certain types of bacteria are present in the syringe this is what you will see. (Please see the bottom left of the blog photo). This does not necessarily mean the syringe is bad but you will have to do agar transfers to clean up the spores. If you are new to the hobby, I would contact the vendor and ask for a replacement.