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Thread: feeding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    What are the advantages or disadvantages of using sugar syrup versus using honey for spring feeding? Should the noey be diluted?

  2. #2
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    There are lots of opinions. And some of this will be my opinion, but first let's look at honey and sugar syrup.

    Honey is mostly fructose and glucose and is quite low in moisture compared to sugar syrup or nectar.

    Sugar syrup is mostly sucrose and higher moisture than honey.

    Nectar is mostly sucrose and higher moisture than honey.

    When bees eat nectar they produce enzymes to change the sucrose to glucose and fructose. When bees eat sugar syrup they do the same. When they eat honey they don’t have to make these changes.

    So if you want to stimulate them to raise brood by simulating a nectar flow, you feed them watered down sugar syrup. If you want to feed them, then it depends on your point of view. Mine is that in the fall I don’t want to cause them to raise brood, and the best feed is what Mother Nature provides: honey.

    There are three reasons to feed bees.

    In the fall because you took too much of their honey and they don't have enough stores. For this I feed honey, not diluted, because it's what bees go through the winter with and it won't confuse them and make then think there is a nectar flow.

    In the spring because they are starving because you took too much of their honey and they didn’t have enough stores and there is no nectar flow. Again, I think honey would be best. I still wouldn't dilute it. If you dilute it it will ferment and you'll have mead instead.

    In the spring to stimulate brood rearing. I feed a little of the more watered down sugar syrup. 1:1 is one part (by volume) sugar to one part water. So if you take a quart of sugar and add a quart of hot water you have one to one. Don’t feed them a lot. The object is not to provide food for them, but simply to stimulate brood rearing. If you give them too much they will clog the brood nest with honey and the queen will have no where to lay.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 02, 2003).]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    E. TN
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    Some books say to use a 2:1 ratio sugar syrup in the spring. For a general rule on making syrup at 1:1 I use a pint of water for every pound of sugar. The old saying is a pint's a pound the world around.

  4. #4
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    I doubt that it's very critical what the actual ratio is, but the more watery syrup is more similar to nectar.

    I always understood 1:1 or 2:1 to be by volume. It's true a pint of water weighs a pound, but then you're doing your proportion by weight instead of volume. The bees, of course, don't care one bit.


    [This message has been edited by Michael Bush (edited March 03, 2003).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Check out the March issue of the American Bee Journal page 185. "Formulas for Beekeepers".
    That one article was worth the subscription price for the entire year.
    Bill

  6. #6
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    Jun 2001
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    Bill, is hte American Bee Journal available on line? Also, the reason I'd like to feed honey to the bees is that I left a quart or so in an open bucket in the basement, and later found a mouse happily swimming in honey. Since it's unfit for human consumption, I thought the bees might like it. (I put the mouse outside, and don't know whether she happily licked herself clean, or whether a crow, perhaps, had a tasty snack.)

  7. #7
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    You can certainly feed the honey to them rather than waste it. Especially with a new package, most will get changed into wax.

  8. #8
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    I don't think so. Their e-mail is ABJ@dadant.com or the web site listed is www.dadant.com. I subscribe to both the ABJ and Bee culture, I think that they are both a "must read".
    Bill

  9. #9
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    I emergency feed with left over/spilled honey. It is probably the easiest quickest way to get feed into a hive and it makes use of spilt honey. Consider the possibility of spreading disease. AFB spores lay dormant in honey. Be sure to use your own honey, and only if you know you don't have an outbreak of AFB. A quick and easy way to spread disease throughout your operation.
    Ian

  10. #10
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    Bill, I subscribe to Bee Culture, but I'll keep looking for ABJ. The Dadant websit had a glitch, but It didn't appear that the the article would be available.
    Ian, what kind of feeder to you use for feeding honey?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Aegina, Greece
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    Time for feeding has come so i like to ask you about soy flour you are using. Do you mix soy flour as it is or you reduce the protein percentage to 23% wich as they say is the best for feeding? I'm asking that because the kind of flour i found on super markets doesn't mention anything about protein percentage.
    Thanks mike.

  12. #12
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    Personally, I've always used it straight, but if there is any real pollen source around they just ignore it anyway.

  13. #13

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    I use both expelled soy meal and instant soy milk powder. They love the milk powder over everything else. I have heard of people useing protein shake mix with a lot of luck. I have not tried it but I will this year. I would not worry about the amount of protein in the soy. If you look at the different pollens they range from 12%-38% protein.

  14. #14
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    >Ian, what kind of feeder to you use for feeding honey?

    margot

    I feed my left over honey just by scraping it on the hives top bars over the bee cluster. Nothing fancy, a bit messy, but an excellent way to get feed into a hungry hive.

    Ian

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