I am wondering if anyone could tell me about powdered sugar, such as the type from a grocer. I have read in many books not to use powdered sugar from the store. Why is that? What is wrong with using this type of sugar? Can one not use it for applying medication?
You can use that sugar but it is best when bees can fly. Often powdered sugar contains cornstarch. Just find a sugar that has no fillers. Most of the problem is for wintering bees that are bound in the hive and can't take cleansing flights.
Clayton is right here about reading the package to be sure you are getting just powdered sugar and not fillers along with it.
Powdered sugar can be used when bees are flying and active as a medication in way!
You can use it to dust the bees in the broodnest area above the top bars, so it falls down through the frames of the broodnest.
Doing this initiates grooming behavior for any mites externally riding of the backs of the bees, be they either varroa or acarapis woodi.
Dee A. Lusby
I got a webpage up describing my varroa blaster which uses confectioners sugar.
the powdered sugar(confectionary sugar)you buy in stores has cornstarch in it so that it doesn't clump up from moisture.this cornstarch will dry out and kill brood and eggs if it gets in the cells.as far as i know,including my personal experience,is that pure powdered sugar can be an effective mite treatment,other than encouraging grooming,powdered sugar particles supposedly get under the mites suction-cup like feet and they loose their ability to hold on.what i have found is that if you put regular granulated sugar in a coffee grinder and grind it up,it powders it really well,then i've used an old flour sifter to powder the bees.
As far as I know, there are 2 ways to quantify Varroa hive infestation: Sticky Board Test (mite drop) and the Sugar Roll test which uses confectioners sugar. As stated above, the sugar causes the the mites to lose their grip on the host. I have been using the sugar roll test for sometime now and it seems to be a viable varroa borometer.
I thought that you could only use powdered sugar if you had no brood, otherwise you risk killing it. So is it just the cornstarch that is a problem? And how frequently are people powdering for varroa?
Hi Louise and Everyone,
Powdered sugar does not, by itself, kill brood. If antibiotics are mixed in with it, unsealed brood will die. The dusting is more like smoking them than dropping globs of sugar into the cells.
I haven't seen any problems with the starch in the powdered sugar. I have used it only during the summer when the bees can fly. Corn syrup is a conversion of corn starch, which like any chemical process is never 100% efficient.
Also pollens often have a starchy fraction.
Using powdered sugar requires much more attention and knowledge by the beekeeper than using strips. It's not just blast them and forget them. I don't recommend anyone treat with anything without knowing if treatment is necessary and if the treatment was effective. That requires monitoring and understanding mite levels. It's not difficult to do.
Anyone blasting mites with powdered sugar have any experiences to share?
[This message has been edited by BWrangler (edited October 08, 2003).]
I do not know of the source but remember reading that powdered sugar as used for dusting is fine, just in the quantities required for feeding, the extra stuff added in will cause problems for the bees. Don't feed it. Use it.
i've had hives wher the mites are numerous enough that you can spot several just by looking at a frame or two,or even just the bees on the top bars.when this happens i feel like i've got to do something that minute,so i grind up some granulated sugar in my coffee grinder,put it in my old flour sifter,them go open the hive and let it snow,i do each deep,a fair amount waffs down between the frames and gets on the bees there, i don't pull any frames.after a few hours i check the bottom tray and usually notice a good mite drop.i never used it on a regular basis or kept good records,but it definitely have seen good mite drops and have never noticed a problem with brood(note, i don't use sugar with corn starch).i've actually been surprised this technique isn't discussed more,it's cheap,easy,and seems to be complementary to other ipm methods.although,i've wondered if it would be a problem if you use fgmo,maybe the oil and sugar would mix and clump up.