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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Camarillo, CA, USA
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    312

    Question PH levels in hive?

    I was just reading Randy Olivers web site about pollen subs, and was reminded of a question that still persists for me.

    PH levels in the hive, or better in different areas of the hive, ie honey, pollen, bee bread brood etc

    How to measure, what ranges are good/bad and why.

    How or does feeding pollen sub or syrup with diffrent ph levels change or control the ph levels in the hive?

    The larger question is how important is this as a management tool for our current industry.

    Has anyone tested pollen sub with low or high ph levels on large samples of hives and have any correlation or observations been made?

    Thanks for the insights in advance
    Larry Pender,Jubilee HoneyBee Company,Camarillo, CA

  2. #2
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default

    Does anybody really do that, measure pH levels in their hives? Talk about micro managing. Who has the time?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  3. #3
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    Nov 2004
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    Camarillo, CA, USA
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    Default

    Do you have any better ideas?

    Our industry is rapidly changing and those who learn & adapt will porosper

    I have found that we are consistantly lossing 30 to 40 % of hives each year and I do not like it.

    Larry
    Larry Pender,Jubilee HoneyBee Company,Camarillo, CA

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
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    3,604

    Default Who has the time?

    If I gave you the proven data, would you be interested.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  5. #5
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    Jan 2003
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    Manitoba Canada
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    Default

    If there is something to this idea, then its worth looking at. Who knows.

    Honestly I never hear of this before,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BEES4U View Post
    If I gave you the proven data, would you be interested.
    Ernie
    Proven data about what?

    In my opinion, as beekeepers, there are lots and lots of things that we can worry about. And every so often there is something new that we never had to worry about before, such as tacheal mites, varroa mites, nosema cerana, etc. But somehow we survive these crisees. If you survive enough of them you get to a point in your life that when another one comes along you just say to yourself, "Yup, been there done that. What else is new?", and go on doing what you can.

    Keep your bees!!

    I have enough to do keeping my colonies alive w/out checking each and every one of them for pH levels. What can you do about it anyway, economically speaking?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LSPender View Post
    Do you have any better ideas?

    Our industry is rapidly changing and those who learn & adapt will porosper

    I have found that we are consistantly lossing 30 to 40 % of hives each year and I do not like it.

    Larry
    Larry, I am the person who's been doing the test"s for a while now. We have been losing 5-7% loss rate over the winter for the past ten years or so.

    Your post "topic" is a good one.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default

    Sugar syrup has a much higher pH (6.0) than Honey (3.2 to 4.5) (Sugar is more alkali)

    This affects the reproductive capability of virtually every brood disease in bees plus Nosema. They all reproduce better at pH 6.0 than at 4.5.

    Try a search on any brood disease or Nosema apis or cerana and "culture" you'll find what pH they use to culture these. e.g. "AFB pH culture" as search terms in google and see what you can find. Here's an example:

    "Lower pH values (equivalent to those found in honey, pollen, and brood food) drastically reduced enlargement and germ-tube production. Ascosphaera apis appears to be a pathogen highly specialized for life in honeybee larvae."--Author. Dept. Biological Sci., Plymouth Polytechnic, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, Devon, UK. Library code: Bb. Language: En. Apicultural Abstracts from IBRA: 4101024

    The other 8,000 microorganisms that live in the are also affect by changes in pH. Using sugar syrup disrupts the ecological balance of they hive by disrupting the pH of the food in the hive and the food in the bees’ gut.

    "It is well known that improper diet makes one susceptible to disease. Now is it not reasonable to believe that extensive feeding of sugar to bees makes them more susceptible to American Foul Brood and other bee disease? It is known that American Foul Brood is more prevalent in the north than in the south. Why? Is it not because more sugar is fed to bees in the north while here in the south the bees can gather nectar most of the year which makes feeding sugar syrup unnecessary?"--Better Queens, Jay Smith

    This was just an observation on his part, but we know that AFB reproduces better at 6.0 than 4.5.

    All of this, of course, is ignoring the nutrition of honey and it's also ignoring the opposite roller coaster of putting formic acid or oxalic acid in the hive and shifting it dramatically the other direction and killing even more beneficial microorganisms.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    MB, very good post

    We are right now trying to find what is the best path to take in regards to PH, it's easy to lower but where is the sweet spot?

    In pollen, it come in at 7% to the hive, but lactates in the comb at 3.5-4%.

    Anyhow nice to see some good thoughts on this SUBject.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default

    >>Using sugar syrup disrupts the ecological balance of they hive by disrupting the pH of the food in the hive and the food in the bees’ gut.

    >>All of this, of course, is ignoring the nutrition of honey and it's also ignoring the opposite roller coaster of putting formic acid or oxalic acid in the hive and shifting it dramatically the other direction and killing even more beneficial microorganisms.


    Wow, there is way more than meets the eye here,
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LSPender View Post
    Do you have any better ideas?

    Our industry is rapidly changing and those who learn & adapt will porosper

    I have found that we are consistantly lossing 30 to 40 % of hives each year and I do not like it.

    Larry
    Loosing them from improper pH levels? Is that what you are trying to address w/ this thread?

    Any better ideas? About what? If you mean the control of pH levels in bee hives I don't worry about it. Maybe that is my ignorant bliss, but I have other things that I can "control" more easily and I never heard that pH was something that had to be controled.

    How do unmanaged colonies control their pH levels?
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  12. #12
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    Dec 2006
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    Amador County, Calif
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    How do unmanaged colonies control their pH levels?
    Unmanaged colonies aren't feed pollen sub, as to lowering the ph pretty simple lemon juice or citric acid to the mix.

    The point being where is the sweet spot?

    When I sent out samples to the lab of all thoses pollen sub they came back all over the board, who has the right receipe, I HAVE NO IDEA.

    Protein & fat levels are over the board, all I know is that my loss rates have been low and the bees look good in January, so is my sub on target? I wish I knew.

    So much more to know.

    Larry, thanks for bringing up this topic.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Jarrett View Post
    as to lowering the ph pretty simple lemon juice or citric acid to the mix.
    Ok Michael Bush...do you see my point now? We've got beekeepers contemplating various sorts of 'home remedies' to lower the pH of their supplemental feeds. We have no idea how lemon juice or citric acid (or any other pH lowering additive), used in a beekeeper's concoction will impact their bees...short or long term. And worse yet we haven't even determined if those feeds need their pH lowered...at least not in my opinion.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Worcester County, Massachusetts
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    3,679

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    Does anybody really do that, measure pH levels in their hives? Talk about micro managing. Who has the time?
    when you put sugar syrup, hfcs, organic acids, pollen subs, etc that have different ph levels than nectar, honey, pollen, and water, than micromanaging the ph levels in the hive is EXACTLY what you are doing...even if you choose not to measure the results.

    deknow

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
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    Default

    >>I have enough to do keeping my colonies alive w/out checking each and every one of them for pH levels. What can you do about it anyway, economically speaking?


    If one beekeeper figures the these kind of measures is a waste of time, then pass it by,
    otherwise whats the harm in discussing it?

    >>How do unmanaged colonies control their pH levels?

    I think what is being implyed is perhaps the treatments and or feed we supply to the hives is creating a ph problem, and perhaps its aiding in the growth and development of some diseases,
    Last edited by Ian; 03-11-2009 at 04:25 PM.
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    Default

    >How do unmanaged colonies control their pH levels?

    Their levels are what the nectar and pollen plus the fermentation of the pollen make it. Which is not at all what our syrup and pollen substitutes are.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >How do unmanaged colonies control their pH levels?

    Their levels are what the nectar and pollen plus the fermentation of the pollen make it. Which is not at all what our syrup and pollen substitutes are.
    I would word this a little differently.
    Their levels are what nectar, pollen and the effects of the bees enzymes on those. Which may not result in the same pH levels as what are created when processing our syrup and pollen subs.


    We're not on opposite poles on this.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

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