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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Dane County, WI.
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    Default How honey bees reduce moisture.

    From "The Biology, of the Honey Bee"-- by Mark L. Winston.

    Food Handling: Page 99.

    ..."A receiving worker accepts nectar from returning foragers by sipping the regurgitated liquid with her tongue from the mouthparts of the donating forager bee. The exchange takes only seconds, and a donating forager usually splits her load among two or three receivers. [Eeeoouu! and we eat that stuff,..] Once a worker has received nectar, she usually moves to an uncrowded part of the nest and repeatedly folds and unfolds her mouthparts, exposing the nectar to the air and evaporating some of the water from it. After about 20 min of this, she deposits the partially evaporated nectar into a cell, where the drying is continued by fanning bees until the nectar contains less than 18% water. This ripening of nectar takes anywhere from 1 to 5 days, depending on the water content of the nectar, humidity, nest ventilation, the amount of nectar being handled, and the number of workers involved [Park, 1925b, 1927, 1928a,b].

    So,..is this staement [from a book] true or false?? Have you "experts" personally observed a forager coming into a hive and doing the behavior as has been described above?? Who do you trust?

    This thread relates to "fall feeding" by the way. Do you understand what it is?
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-01-2011 at 07:05 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Polk County, Ar. USA
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    302

    Default Re: How honey bees reduce moisture.

    Have never seen this inside the hive , but have observed it happening on the landing board as recently as yesterday. Five different bees took something from the mouth of a returning forager and went back in the hive. Then the forager went in also. Bees doing the taking were all on the landing board when the forager arrived.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
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    109

    Default Re: How honey bees reduce moisture.

    More precisely, he's describing what someone else-- Park-- reported in the 1920s. What are the references he gives? I read the book recently (interlibrary loan, so don't have it at home) and as a beginner trying to sort out a lot of conflicting statements, appreciated that he documented his sources, like any good scientific work. Now if I had access to those sources, I'd have something useful.
    Greg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    7,108

    Default Re: How honey bees reduce moisture.

    The transfer is trophylaxis. I have seen it and I have a video clip somewhere. I am still busy adding the pictures and videos from Saturday's package bee and split class.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Dane County, WI.
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    Default Re: How honey bees reduce moisture.

    There really should be more comments to this thread.

    "More precisely, he's describing what someone else-- Park-- reported in the 1920s. What are the references he gives?" -gjd.

    Okay,.I understand what you are saying. Not all of what we read in books has been actually observed by the author. It is, or may be a compilation of readings of scientific experiments and observations of others, where the original observer/scientist had no abillity/talent or desire to,.."write a book" on the subject.

    > "This is from "The Beekeeper's
    Handbook" by D. Sammataro and A. Avitabile: >>
    "Bees should be fed early enough in the fall so that the sugar has
    time to cure--that is, the bees have time to reduce the water content
    near to that of honey [about 18 percent]. If the syrup does not cure,
    it could ferment or freeze."
    > For winter feed
    "A 2-1 sugar syrup in a hive top feeder should be fed early enough for the bees to convert and seal off ready for winter. It should be remembered that bees need warmth to work and a reasonable daytime temperature is essential to allow them time to convert. With fall feeding it should be a lot in a short time If it should be dragged out by only supplying small amounts the danger of stimulating new brood is very possible, quite the reverse of what is needed. By feeding large amounts quickly any cells becoming empty in the upper super from late emerging brood will be filled, forcing the queen into the bottom box. The perfect position to start the winter." > http://www.beeworks.com/informationcentre/feeding.html

    If the "observation" by Mark Winston is true, than the feeding of sugar syrup too late in the fall, whether 1:1 or 2:1 is conterproductive to the welfare of the bees/hive, especially for their success overwinter.

    In my area of the Midwest, there is a marked decrease in the amount of nectar brought in by the bees from late August through September. The nectar brought in is probably reduced in moisture to less than 18% and capped or consumed fairly quickly--don't you think?

    If the reduction of moisture in nectar is very important to the preservation [from mold, fermentation] of the resultant "honey" that is stored for winter consumption, then the feeding of sugar syrup too late in the autumn/fall actually causes the demise of some colonies,..does it not?

    If honey is described as being highly hygroscopic [absorbs moisture] wouldn't uncapped sugar syrup also absorb moisture in the confines of an overwintered beehive?

    The whole proccess of dehydrating nectar [or sugar syrup] by evaporation and fanning by the bees, seems to me at great odds with trying to keep the hive warm when they want to form a cluster in late September through October. Like trying to warm a house with the air conditioner on.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-04-2011 at 09:14 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Shirley, MA, USA
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    109

    Default Re: How honey bees reduce moisture.

    I mostly thought the OP was questioning the nectar transfer, and folding and unfolding of mouthparts of the receiver. I have no idea if the bees actually do that, but to disprove any of what Winston reported of Park's work, you need to start with exactly what Park was seeing and under what circumstances. Not seeing it in an open hive just means they don't do it when under attack by smoke-spewing beekeepers. Park may have needed a very carefully-designed observation hive setup to see this, and presumably gave some details (like location, date and weather) for the drying statistics. Or maybe it was an obviously-sloppy work that's just been quoted for years without anyone questioning it. Got to read it to know-- 1928 was a long time ago.

    Much of what I'm learning as a beginning beekeeper seems unnatural, including the late-fall feeding. It seems like there's a balance between maximizing honey production vs. killing off too many hives, and the delicate interplay between a lot of environmental variables in practical beekeeping hasn't been carefully studied (vs. more conventional science like diseases and pheromone chemistry). But that's another discussion.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
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    Default Re: How honey bees reduce moisture.

    Would fermented syrup or honey have a more negative affect on bees confined to a hive in winter, more so than in spring/summer??

    Some beekeepers, for example put honey supers that have been stored WET on their hives at the beginning of nectar flows. But this has no effect on the bees or the quality of the new seasons honey.
    Last edited by Oldbee; 05-04-2011 at 09:21 PM.

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