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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Burlington ,Vermont

    Default alternatives to feeding sugar?

    I caught a swarm a couple weeks ago and I plan to feed them heavily to increase their chances of surviving the long Vermont winter. I'm giving them white sugar syrup but I'm wondering about nutrition. Processed sugar likely lacks the vitamins, minerals, and other trace compounds that nectar has. I know many beekeepers feed sugar syrup without problems but I'm curious if anyone has heard of a healthier (for the bees) alternative? I'm not trying to make a profit off my hives so cost isn't a big factor. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    VENTURA, California, USA

    Default Re: alternatives to feeding sugar?

    You could feed the hive with frames of honey, if you have them.
    If you are feeding 2:1 syrup, 2 parts granulated sugar to one part water, continue.

    You might consider feeding pollen supplements and mite control.
    Good luck,
    My website

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Tucson, Arizona, USA

    Default Re: alternatives to feeding sugar?

    When I look at your title, "alternatives to feeding sugar?", I think about natural and human-influenced nectar sources. I also think of the alternatives, of course.

    One alternative could be a "hands-off" approach, in which case I'm fairly confident that many or all of my hives and nucs would starve out before Spring. However, if the cooling and increased rainfall continues, they will likely need no more sugar from me and instead could produce surplus, instead. Predicting what the weather will bring in the short term is way too unreliable, for comfort.

    Another alternative might be to relocate the bees to areas where forage producing crops are being grown in abundance, but the trade-off there is the potential for contact with damaging pesticides.

    Or an alternative could be to relocate the bees where there is abundant natural forage - if an area like that is available.

    It sounds like you're considering feeding 2:1 sugar syrup, but are concerned about providing more complete nutrition. In which case, I agree with BEES4U, you should also feed pollen, pollen supplement, or pollen substitute.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Stockton, CA

    Default Re: alternatives to feeding sugar?

    I would add pro health to your syrup mix and give them as much pollen patties as they want. Look at your bees will be so happy.

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