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Thread: Powdered sugar

  1. #1
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    All I can find at the super market is confectioners sugar, which contains corn starch. Is this the same? Will it do for a light dusting?

    What I am doing specifically is treating my new packages with terramycin using this dusting. I won't be using terramycin again after the initial package install.

    Thanks,
    Kai

  2. #2
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    For dusting, yes, this is what you want. For syrup or grease patties or any other feed you don't want the starch that is in it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, MB.

  4. #4
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    If you are uneasy about store-bought powdered sugar, you can put regular granulated sugar in a blender. It will make powder dust so fine your wife wont know you use HER blender.

    ------------------
    Dave W . . .

    Hobbist - 1 Hive
    First Package - Apr 03
    Deeps & Shallows, SBB
    Apistan - Aug 18, 03
    Grease Patties - All year
    03/04 Winter Loss - 0%

  5. #5
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    I'm not so sure that the starch is a bad thing. The experiments on using powdered sugar on mites here at the University of Nebraska were all done with regular powdered sugar.

  6. #6
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    I thought that cornstarch was a bad thing only if brood was present - because it can dehydrate them. When an old beekeeper showed it to me, he had an elaborate system of separating the bees from the brood in order to dust them.

    Since I discovered that my coffee grinder makes powdered sugar from crystals in about 10 seconds, I've started using that instead.

  7. #7
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    We are talking about treating a package of bees. No brood. Yes, the University here, separates them from the combs (basically by running them out of the hive with bee-go) to dust them and have done studies on any ill effects on the brood by the bees having the powdered sugar on them. The powdered sugar in the brood can kill it, but what is left on the bees is not enough to have a significant effect.

  8. #8
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    And is it the powdered sugar or the cornstarch?

  9. #9
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    Regular powdered sugar that you buy in the store for frosting cakes HAS some cornstarch in it to keep it from caking up. This does not make good feed. ANY powder, including pure sugar powdered in the blender etc. will kill brood because it dries it up.

    What you want to dust the bees is the regular powdered sugar and you want to dust them while they are in the box the package came in.

    There is no research on the effects of using corn starch for this.

  10. #10
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    I was hoping to implement dusting as one of my mite treatments. I was excited to think that I had found a way around the drying brood problem by grinding my own sugar. But you are saying that the sugar is also drying? I guess I will pull boxes off and only dust the ones with no brood.

  11. #11
    jfischer Guest

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    > The powdered sugar in the brood can kill it, but
    > what is left on the bees is not enough to have a
    > significant effect.

    I used powdered sugar on about 40 hives for 2 seasons
    back when it was first suggested by Dr. Fakhimzadeh's
    papers. I was warned by several people about sugar
    and open brood, but I could not find the "authority"
    that was being quoted in such an authoritative way,
    and everyone who warned me could not recall where or
    when they had heard this.

    I also could not see any brood being ripped out after
    I used it. I was told I would see ripped-out brood.
    This made me curious.

    What I DID find in my digging for verification was that
    powdered sugar had been used as an inert carrier for
    Oxytetracyline ("OTC"), which had been used in the control
    of Foulbrood. Anyone dusting powdered sugar laced with
    Oxytetracyline WOULD certainly kill brood, which may be
    where this concern came from.

    But it was the OTC that was killing the brood, not
    the sugar, and certainly not the ~5% corn starch.

    I liked powdered sugar's effect, and it was nice to
    see an "alternative treatment" that really worked
    after seeing so many others fail to control the varroa,
    but it was simply too labor intensive. It really did
    not "pay" when the labor cost (even using teenage labor)
    was compared with the additional honey gained by not
    taking the infested hive out of production to treat it.

    That's the problem with a lot of methods being promoted
    that seem promising at first blush. They clearly can be
    made to work on a small-scale basis, but just don't
    "scale up" for anything over a few dozen hives.


  12. #12
    jfischer Guest

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    Forgot one thing. I cannot be certain
    that we ever got much sugar in open brood,
    as we did these dustings in the early
    evening, and brood tends to get better-covered when the house bees do not have
    (as many) foragers to unload.

    We waited for evening to get the temperature
    drop, and the associated drop in humidity
    so that bees would not become "caked" with
    the "poofed" sugar. Yes, I'm just that
    picky to wait for the humidity. Pathological!


  13. #13

    Post

    Why would humidity drop inside the hive during evening?

    Brian Cady

  14. #14
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    I was planning to dust in the morning so the girls would have a chance to fly and thus not get it caked. Not so much humidity here - when it is warm that is, but otherwise it is seriously damp.

  15. #15
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    I saw the presentation of the research done here at the University of Nebraska on dusting with powdered sugar for Varroa mites. They concluded that getting a lot of powdered sugar in the brood will kill it. It's not the corn starch, just that it dries them out. They also did a lot of research on the effects on the brood of the dusted bees (which were dusted outside) taking the powder back in and if there was any loss of larvae from that. There was some loss of very young larvae, but no loss of older larvae. They concluded that the young larvae are less investment for the bees and the amount of them that died from the powdered sugar (from the bees dusted outside the hive) was minimal (Sorry, I don't have the numbers here on exactly how much it was).

    I also know of using flour (another inert dust) to purposfully kill larvae around one cell and then cutting the wall down to get them to build a queen cell that can be seperated out from the cells around it.

    Between the results of these two methods, I think it's a safe bet to say that any inert dust that absorbs the moisture in the cell will kill larvae if they get exposed to enough of it.

    The idea is to minimize that exposure while maximizing the exposure of the bees to the dust.

    Probably when the brood is well covered with bees if the comb is not horizontal I would expect that not much of the sugar would land in the brood. Also, it takes a lot more of the powder to kill a well developed larvae than a newly hatched one. It's not likely you will notice them hauling out the one day old larvae.

    All in all, the researchers seemed to think that it was a useful treatment for a hobbiest with a couple of hives, but the commercial application is mostly for the pacakage bee industry. They could dust the bees before shipping and get most of the Apistan resistant mites off, which now survive and it's cheaper than Apistan, just as effective and doesn't add to the resistance problem. The bees are already out of the hive so it's no extra labor for that.

  16. #16
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    Thanks Michael, that helps a lot.

  17. #17
    jfischer Guest

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    The claims about "inherent hazards" to brood
    posed by powdered sugar simply did not
    make sense to me, so I asked Marion Ellis of
    U Nebraska (go Huskers!) who demoed the "sugar shake" technique at
    EAS 2000 in Maryland.

    He said:

    =========================================
    Hi James,

    We demonstrated that a large amount of powdered sugar (as in burying the
    brood in powdered sugar) resulted in some removal of eggs and newly hatched
    larvae. It did not result in the removal of older larvae. It is very
    unlikely that the protocol we developed for dusting adult bees would result
    in such a high level of powdered sugar entering brood cells. We have never
    observed brood loss with the adult bee dusting protocol that will be
    reported in next month's ABJ (Proceedings of Am Bee Research Conference).


    Marion Ellis, Associate Professor
    University of Nebraska
    Department of Entomology
    Phone: 402-472-8696
    Email: mellis3@unl.edu

    =========================================

    So, go easy on the sugar, and you will NOT
    kill brood. I had no problems with nothing
    more than a baby-powder container (with
    the handy twist-to-open top), held a few
    inches from the bees, and "pumped" by
    squeezing in one hand. I tried lots of
    other application techniques, but the
    baby-powder container was the weapon of
    choice.

  18. #18
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    >We demonstrated that a large amount of powdered sugar (as in burying the
    brood in powdered sugar) resulted in some removal of eggs and newly hatched
    larvae. It did not result in the removal of older larvae. It is very
    unlikely that the protocol we developed for dusting adult bees would result
    in such a high level of powdered sugar entering brood cells. We have never
    observed brood loss with the adult bee dusting protocol that will be
    reported in next month's ABJ (Proceedings of Am Bee Research Conference).

    Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but FYI that "protocol" used in that research is to remove all of the bees from the hive with fume pads to drive them into a screened box that is fitted on the front entrance and dust them outside the hive.

    I am not against using powdered sugar, I am just reporting what I know of the only scientific research I know of on the subject and their conclusions. And their protocol is to remove the bees from the hive.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 17, 2004).]

  19. #19
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    If you'd like to look at Topbarguy's version of a duster: http://fire.prohosting.com/topbargu/blas.htm

  20. #20
    jfischer Guest

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    > I am not against using powdered sugar, I
    > am just reporting what I know of the only
    > scientific research I know of on the
    > subject and their conclusions.

    Easy-to-find articles that my be instructive
    were in American Bee Journal (June 2000) and
    Apidologie 2001(2).

    Dr. Kamran F. Fakhimzadeh is credited as the
    developer of techniques using powdered sugar
    as a tool to clog up the tarsal pads of varroa.
    Here's his best paper on the scope of the work: http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut...h/detectio.pdf
    it also lists his prior published papers on the subject.

    You can ask him about this issue, (fakhim@LADYBIRD.HELSINKI.FI)
    since it seems clear that you consistently question either my
    visual acuity or mental stablity. Perhaps both.

    > And their protocol is to remove the bees
    > from the hive.

    That's nice. Here's our protocol, as webbified by the
    WSBA from something a banged out on Bee-L long ago.
    http://www.westsoundbees.org/beekeep...cles_sugar.htm

    Worked for us, and I am one of the most skeptical carriers
    of a hive tool you could find.


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