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Thread: Sugar syrup PH

  1. #1
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    Default Sugar syrup PH

    If honey is around 3.5 ph and sugar is about 6 ph, how much vineger would you have to add to your 1 to 1 sugar mix to drop the ph to 4 or 4.5 ph (trying to get it a little closer ). Would apple cider vineger be best or plain old white vineger, and would that amout be accepted by the bees? I've added a table spoon before to help with mold but thats it..
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    I add a bit of vinegar too, shouldn't matter what kind. I do a quick "sploot" (a very short pour, maybe a teaspoon or two) in four gallons of syrup. While honey and syrup do differ, feeding syrup is often to mimic nectar (not honey), so frantically matching honey pH as recommended by some I think may be a bit of a misplaced effort. A little boost in acidity seems to make syrup more attractive to the bees, and helps prevent mold.
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    I've read that most bee pests, benifit from sugar feedings compared to honey feedings, In a bad flow year, i often feed several gallons of syrup per hive, I was wondering if adding enough vinegar to change the ph would help the bees winter better on a sugar based honey.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    When I tried vinegar it seemed to set off a feeding frenzy. I use Ascorbic acid (I buy the 1000mg vitamin C from Sam's). I put 7 in the water to dissolve before adding the sugar to make 5 gallons of 5:3 syrup and the pH comes out around 4.5 if I remember right which is one end of the honey range.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    Yea, I was wondering this also. I use 2 teaspoons of lemon juice per quart , but dont have any ph test strips

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    Ok, thanks, thats not near as much as I would think to drop the PH. they must like the smell of the vinegar ,I can use that to my advantage certain times of the year.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    I had PH strips last year and checked my sugar syrup ph. It was surprising that in a five gallon bucket, about a 1/4 cup was all that was needed to lower the ph quite a bit. My test strips did not show much difference between 1/4 cup and 2 cups per 5 gallons of syrup. I do the slosh method of measuring too. Probably about a 1/2 cup + asorbic acid if I have it+ a splash of prohealth. Sure smells yummy.

    The main ingredient of apple cider vinegar, or any vinegar, is acetic acid. However, vinegars also have other acids, vitamins, mineral salts, and amino acids. In trying to suppliment a nutritionally complete feed for the bees, vinegar is very benificial in my opinion.

    Anyone who makes bread and butter pickles knows the brine mix is about 50% straight vinegar and 50%sugar(+ginger and other spices) This makes a zesty and tasty mix. So the sugar cuts even straight vinegars zip quite well.
    That's where your best tasting tomatoes get their flavor. A Balance of both sugars and acids. My bees have liked it quite well. Your syrup won't ferment as fast in warm weather.

    And a yellow jacket tip.
    If you have a jar of fermented thick 2:1 fall syrup, set it out late at night near the bee yard if you are having hornets robbing your hives. They are active far earlier in the morning than honey bees, get into the thick syrup in a frenzy, getting sticky wings and legs and can't get out. By the time the honeybees come out of the hive, the jar will have so many yellow jackets and hornets in it, the honeybees won't go near the trap. By evening the jar will have hundreds of preditors dead in the sticky fermented mess. A good way to get at least some use out of the wasted sugar
    Last edited by Lauri; 03-02-2012 at 05:38 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    Michael, setting off a feeding frenzy a bad thing?

    Lauri, & Michael could you be more specific about your recipe portions?
    Rmns 1:16/Prv.3:5,6/ Beegan BK May 09/ Zone 5b
    I have NOT failed. I have only found many many ways that do not work!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    Would honey b healthy serve the same purpose ?
    Charlotte Anderson - SC Master Beekeeper
    "Obviously, my bees have not read the same beekeeping books as me !"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    >Michael, setting off a feeding frenzy a bad thing?

    In my opinion, yes. Far too often a feeding frenzy degenerates into a robbing frenzy. I try to avoid "frenzies".
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    It is time here to set out yellow traps, I've seen a few queens zipping around. At this time of year here, its hard to get them to take syrup, I ment I would add a little vinager to perk them up a bit, not much chance of frenzys when nobodys flying. Its running 45 degrees and drizzly.
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    As to white vinegar versus other vinegars, if you want to be a perfectionist, white.

    The reason, brown vinegars have an "ash" content. Too much ash, causes dysentry, which during winter when bees are confined, promotes the spread of nosema and can kill the hive.

    However, I doubt the quantity of vinegar in the syrup will be enough to cause serious harm, but if all vinegar is the same price, no reason not to go white.

    Also, a question Michael Bush, I am surprised you feed sugar, I'd heard (second hand) that sugar was like poison, in some branches of treatment free teaching. What is your take on sugar?
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    Hello to Battleground WA!

    Yellow jackets already????Say it's not so! Wacky weather...
    Thanks for the warning BG Honey

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    BTW I have increased my numbers of small cell treatment free hives, meaning some of them have not had time to store enough for the winter. ( We are going into winter here). I cannot feed them honey because that's all from treated hives and may contain treatment residue. So I have bought sugar and am about to start feeding, in fact I am planning to start that today. But I have thought hard about this because I am wanting to properly follow treatment free philosophies on the treatment free hives.

    Thus my question to Michael Bush.
    44 years, been commercial, outfits up to 4000 hives, now 120 hives and 200 nucs as a hobby, selling bees. T (mostly).

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    >Also, a question Michael Bush, I am surprised you feed sugar, I'd heard (second hand) that sugar was like poison, in some branches of treatment free teaching. What is your take on sugar?

    Here are some quotes from the web site/book. The first paragraph is probably what you are looking for:

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#what

    "I prefer to LEAVE them honey. Some think you should only feed honey. From a perfectionist view, I like that. From a practical view, it's difficult for me. First, honey sets off robbing a lot worse than syrup. Second, honey spoils a lot more easily if I water it down, and I hate to see honey go to waste. Third, honey is very expensive (if you buy it or just don't sell it) and labor intensive to extract it. It seems wrong to me to go to the trouble of extracting it, only to feed it back. I'd rather leave enough honey on the hives and, in a pinch, steal some from a stronger hive for the weaker hives, rather than feeding. But if it comes down to needing to feed, I feed off, old, or crystallized honey if I have it, otherwise I feed sugar syrup."

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfoursim...tm#naturalfood

    "Sugar syrup has a much higher pH (6.0) than Honey (3.2 to 4.5) (Sugar is more alkali). Conversely, honey has a much lower pH than sugar syrup (Honey is more acidic). 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.
    Chalkbrood as 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

    "Similar information is available concerning other bee diseases. Try a search for pH and AFB or EFB or Nosema and you’ll find similar results on their reproductive capability related to the pH or honey and sugar syrup

    "Differences in pH affect other beneficial and benign organisms in the hive. The other 8,000 microorganisms that are also in the hive are affected by changes in pH. Using sugar syrup also disrupts the ecological balance of the 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

    http://www.bushfarms.com/bees.htm

    "Honey and real pollen are the proper food of bees. Sugar syrup has a much higher pH (6.0) than Honey (3.2 to 4.5) (Sugar is more alkali). Stating the same thing conversely, honey has a much lower pH than sugar syrup (Honey is more acidic). This affects the reproductive capability of virtually every brood disease in bees plus Nosema. The brood diseases all reproduce more at the pH of sugar (6.0) than at the pH of honey (~4.5). And this is not to mention that honey and real pollen are more nutritious than pollen substitute and sugar syrup. Artificial pollen substitute makes for short lived, unhealthy bees. "
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    found this thread by doing a search. just exactly what i needed, thanks to the posters.
    journaling the growth of a treatment free apiary started in 2010. 20+/- hives

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Sugar syrup PH

    My father in law is a food scientist, he often says if any food should be banned because of negative health side effects it is sugar....just sayin'

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