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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    lynnwood, WA, USA
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    19

    Post

    I have heard of some beekeepers feeding cider vinegar to their bees. What effect does this have? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
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    7,923

    Post

    I am new to beekeeping, but have a medical background, and many bacteria and fungi do not fare well in acidic environments. I don't know the answer to your question, but I wonder if it has anything to do with attempting control of disease pathogens??? Hope you find the answer- if you do, let us know, and I will do a search myself on this one. Thanks for the info.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    California- bay area
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    188

    Post

    Did any one ever find any info on this. and does any one know of an website or book that tells how to feed it to bees?

    [This message has been edited by Got Honey? (edited July 06, 2002).]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
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    7,923

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    I did several searches on this and was able to find only two references to using apple cider vinegar for feeding bees. One of them gave directions for what sounds like a hard candy to feed, and the other was what seems like an organic beekeeping site where the beekeeper said they use apple cider sugar water for feeding early in the season. I'll try to track down the sites I found and post or email them to you if you are interested.

    [This message has been edited by dragonfly (edited July 09, 2002).]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    California- bay area
    Posts
    188

    Post

    I'm very interested, I would like to see how it works.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
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    7,923

    Post

    Well, I found another source mentioning the use of apple cider vinegar in bee sugar water feeding to add minerals to the feeding. I also read a suggestion to add black strap molasses to sugar water to add minerals, but on the other hand, I've read in the generally accepted manuals not to use any kind of molasses, maple syrup etc. Anyone know why? Just curious

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,078

    Post

    I'm speculating here, but the pH (alkalinity/acidity) of honey is more acid and of sugar syrup is more base. Vinegar, obviously is more acid. It may be that the acidity is better for the bees. It's known that it kills a lot of fungus and bacteria that can't handle the higher acidity. Also it may counteract some of the alkalinity of any sugar syrup you've been feeding.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Elizabeth, CO,
    Posts
    20

    Post

    Dragonfly, check out POV on beesource, USDA, item 2. They talk about why certain sugars are bad for bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    51,078

    Post

    The USDA info you mention says that Pectin is bad for them. Mine eat a lot of Pears, which contain pectin. Also Cider Viniger contains a lot of pectin. Maybe thats a bad thing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    parker county, tx
    Posts
    7,923

    Post

    Hey, thanks for pointing me to the POV section. Lots of very helpful information. I find it really interesting that sucrose (table sugar) is superior to honey or other sugars in contributing to a longer life in worker bees. I wonder why? The amount of apple cider vinegar added to the bee feeding solution that I read about is 1-2 TBSP per gallon of feeding. I guess that's not enough to really hurt anything.

  11. #11

    Post

    I just came from our assocition meeting. One of our members went to the Texas meeting to speak on beggining beekeeping and raising queens without grafting. His host showed them that he does not use smoke at all just straight apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle. He was amazed at how calm the bees became. Has anyone tried this?

  12. #12

    Post

    The vinegar is just to keep the mold out of the sugar water. It can be regular vinegar or even a few drops of bleach. I wouldn't spray vinegar on the bees. Sugar water sprayed on the bees does calm the bees.

    West Texas Mark

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    Snohomish County, Washington
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Why feed Apple cider vinegar?

    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfly View Post
    I did several searches on this and was able to find only two references to using apple cider vinegar for feeding bees. One of them gave directions for what sounds like a hard candy to feed, and the other was what seems like an organic beekeeping site where the beekeeper said they use apple cider sugar water for feeding early in the season. I'll try to track down the sites I found and post or email them to you if you are interested.

    [This message has been edited by dragonfly (edited July 09, 2002).]
    I have a theory on using vinegar in sugar water or candy. I learned a long time ago from a wise old woman that when I felt a tickle in my throat to gargle with water and vinegar. I did this every few hours and it has worked very effectively at curtailing the beginning and duration of a sore throat or cold. One doctor told me that it's effectiveness was likely due to making the throat more acidic and the bug could not survive in an acidic environment - even one that was just slightly acidic temporarily.

    So I'm guessing that this acidic environment isn't good for organisms such as mold, et. al. I've also read that honey is slightly acidic, and so it makes sugar water more healthy for the bees. I can't argue with the results I've seen and will be adding it to my honeybee sugared feed too.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    2,243

    Default Re: Why feed Apple cider vinegar?

    The best recommendation for how much apple cider vinegar to add to syrup is "a splash". Which I think must be somewhat more than "a dash." A few posts here suggested it may make the syrup taste and smell better to the bees. It is hard for me to believe that it has much preservative or therapeutic value at that low and ambiguous a concentration. I meant to try it last week but when the raindrops started bouncing off the ground I concluded that it was a mite cold for feeding.

    So we put the syrup on this weekend, 2:1 with about a soup spoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon jug. The two larger hives seemed to like it OK, although I've seen them drain a gallon faster.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Casey, Il, USA
    Posts
    3,763

    Default Re: Why feed Apple cider vinegar?

    The acid inverts the sugar to something closer to nectar

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_sugar_syrup

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Jefferson Co, TX
    Posts
    1,520

    Default Re: Why feed Apple cider vinegar?

    What Harley said is why I heard to add it or lemon juice, plus makes the pH more similar to honey.
    Started 9/13, building slowly, not trying the no treatment anymore

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    1,739

    Default Re: Why feed Apple cider vinegar?

    The add-an-acid to make syrup like honey recommendation keeps appearing. Invert syrup is acid, honey is acid == because fructose has loosely bound H+ and causes an acid reaction in solution.

    Bees invert sucrose syrup by adding the enzyme invertase in their crop -- the resulting stored, digested syrup is acid because it has been inverted and contains 25%-50% (or more) fructose.

    Vinegar has a penetrating odor, and does indeed invert syrup when added in tiny amounts to catalyze the inversion reaction. It likely induces feeding, just as it induces robbing with spectacular efficiency. Once the inversion of sucrose is started, the reaction continues on its own == because Fructose is acid in reaction and induces the hydrolysis of sucrose with its contributed H+ Cream of tartar (tartaric acid) inverts sugar when used in the sub-gram concentration.

    Inverted syrup has higher sugar concentration -- because "hydrolysis" consumes a molecule of H2O for every molecule of sucrose that is divided. The process consumes water (why we call it hydrolysis). The bees don't have to evaporate that molecule, so it is a winner for them.

    You can invert the syrup or you can wait for the bees to ingest it and invert it just as effectively.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 10-26-2015 at 08:55 AM.

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