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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Birmingham Alabama
    Posts
    83

    Default Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Quick question. I've read a lot how bees won't take syrup if outside temps drop below 55. But what about feeding back honey? Wouldn't the bees reject that as well due to low liquid temps? Is there a cutoff temp for feeding back liquid honey in jars as well?

    Just curious,

    Thx
    Started May 2013 with 2 hives. Suburban beekeeper w/ 8 hives this year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Livermore, CA
    Posts
    1,408

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    The main thing is they wont break the cluster to go and hit the syrup in a feeder. They will hit the stored syrup/honey that is in the comb in the middle of the cluster though.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Honey is at least $3 a pound. Syrup a lot less...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    Honey is at least $3 a pound. Syrup a lot less...
    And your point is? Doesn't matter if it's $.03/lb or $300/lb if they won't or can't eat.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    international falls, Mn
    Posts
    263

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    And sugar cakes are even less without the expense of all that water....couldn't resist..

    ==McBee7==

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,553

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Bees don't perceive honey and syrup as two different things. They might be more attracted to the smell of honey, but their reasons for not taking the syrup are not that it is less appealing but because it's cold. They are just as paralyzed if they take cold honey as if they take cold syrup. In the winter the cluster is in contact with the stores and this warms the stores enough that the outside of the cluster can take it and move to the interior of the cluster and share it.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    lafargeville ny usa
    Posts
    877

    Thumbs Up Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    Bees don't perceive honey and syrup as two different things. They might be more attracted to the smell of honey, but their reasons for not taking the syrup are not that it is less appealing but because it's cold. They are just as paralyzed if they take cold honey as if they take cold syrup. In the winter the cluster is in contact with the stores and this warms the stores enough that the outside of the cluster can take it and move to the interior of the cluster and share it.
    very good answer.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Salem, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    I fed honey that separated from my capping wax back to my bees this fall. As stated by MB they didn't seem to know the difference and took syrup with honey in it at the same rate as plain syrup.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Benton county, Arkansas
    Posts
    119

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunBee View Post
    And your point is? Doesn't matter if it's $.03/lb or $300/lb if they won't or can't eat.
    That it makes no sense to feed something that is ten times as much if they can do with identical nourishment that is a lot less. If they eat it or not has nothing to do with what it is, is a factor of the temperature.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Kinder, Louisiana, USA
    Posts
    192

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    Quote Originally Posted by jcolon View Post
    That it makes no sense to feed something that is ten times as much if they can do with identical nourishment that is a lot less. If they eat it or not has nothing to do with what it is, is a factor of the temperature.
    What you say is true, no doubt, but the original post was about temperature and it's effects on feeding. The cost of the feed is totally irrelevant to the question. There are those that would argue your reference to "identical nourishment", but I'm not going there either.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,567

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    A case can easily be made that granulated sugar vs honey do not provide "identical nourishment" for bees. While one might think that honey is automatically better for bees, that may not be the case.

    For instance, "ash" content (i.e. indigestible solids) of honey can range up to slightly over 1% ash (see Table 1). The ash content of granulated sugar is typically much lower than 1% - the sugar from this manufacturer is at 0.025% ash. Note that higher ash content in winter feed is bad for bees as the more indigestible solids they eat, the sooner they will need to defecate. If winter conditions do not permit flying, dysentery can result as healthy bees won't poop in the hive.

    I'm not claiming that sugar is better than honey for winter bee feed, just pointing out that the issue is complicated and not clearcut.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Evansville, IN
    Posts
    2,539

    Default Re: Honey vs 2:1 sugar feed

    More to the point, if you don't have adequate stores and do not feed, you will not have bees in the spring.

    Dry sugar on the top of the hive works because the bees move up as they consume honey and pollen, and if there is dry sugar on the top of the hive, they will cluster on it and eat it as syrup forms on the surface from the moisture in the hive.

    Bees do much better I believe if they are clustered on top of their stores -- they cannot move outside the cluster in the dead of winter, they will die if they do, so stores not actually inside the cluster in winter might as well be on the moon until it warms up enough for the cluster to expand. Dry sugar won't do them any good, nor will fondant or sugar cakes if they are not in contact with the cluster when they need food.

    Peter

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