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  1. #1
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    Default Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Is this stuff digestable by bees? I know a guy who fed some. I'm just wondering what effect the agave nectar would have on bees. Does anyone know?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    from what I hear,, once processed, it makes their clothes fall off!!

    sorry could not resist the opportunity to express my warped sense of humor,,,,,

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Oh george, that's so clever of you.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    actually it is a good question,, it should have a sugar content,, but as you,, I do wonder what the result, or affect would be on the bees, or honey,, if produced..., would it be like the marischino cherry juice honey in NY?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    The real question is if you let the agave honey ferment, what would that be like? As for the answer to the original question, I have no idea.
    Coyote Creek Bees

  6. #6
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    Asheville, North Carolina, USA
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Ohhhh man, that Agave juice has gotten me into a tight spot more than once, a few years ago...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Agave nectar consists primarily of fructoseand glucose. One source gives 92% fructose and 8% glucose; another gives 56% fructose and 20% glucose. These differences probably reflect variation from one vendor of agave nectar to another.[6][7]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agave_nectar
    Bees get fed fructose and glucose frequently. But its hard to see how agave nectar would be more affordable than sugar/HFCS, unless somehow an agave batch has been contaminated and can't be used in its more traditional uses.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    I am not asking about affordability, that isn't the issue. I sold nucs to a person who, along w/ the packages and splits he made, acquired a quantity of agave nectar which was supposed to be used for making of beer, but for some reason could not be used that way. so he bought it and fed it to his bees.

    I can't say that there is a real connection between feeding agave nectar and the decline and dying of most of his 40some colonies. I don't know why they died, here in SC.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Quote Originally Posted by sqkcrk View Post
    I sold nucs to a person who, along w/ the packages and splits he made, acquired a quantity of agave nectar which was supposed to be used for making of beer, but for some reason could not be used that way. so he bought it and fed it to his bees.
    If it cannot be used for making beer, it may be contaminated, as I suggested in my first post. If it was contaminated, that could contribute to the decline of his bees.
    Graham
    --- Practical reality trumps philosophy!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Well, that's what I was thinking too. I was simply trying to find out whether the stuff is inherently bad for bees or not. Thanks.

    Apparently they took the syrup real well and quickly. They also sucked down a 50 gallon kiddie pool full of water a number of times during the Summer, even though there was a pond nearby.

    Having never kept bees here thru the Summer, I wonder if queens shut down in June or July like my queens do come October and November when in NY.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    So we all know feeding Maple Syrup to bees is bad for them. Agave Nectar is made very similar to how Maple Syrup is made from my understanding. They squeeze the juice out of the plant and then heat it to transform it into something like 92% fructose. I think there is also a conversion that is happening to get it to turn into Fructose.

    So they say its worse for humans than HFCS. I wouldn't feed that stuff to my bees.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    You can decide how credible this site is...

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ar...alth-food.aspx

    The fact that it's so extreme makes me question it.

    "Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Some agave syrups contain a contaminant called hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF, also called 5-hydroxymethyl furfural), an organic heat-formed compound that arises in the processing of fructose -- in both agave syrup and HFCS. HMF has potential toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic effects[iv]. HMF is EXTREMELY toxic to honey bees, which is a problem since commercial beekeepers feed HFCS to the bees to stimulate honey production when field-gathered nectar sources are scarce[v]."

    Maybe this agave had a lot of HMF in it? I don't know.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Thats a good find. I wondered if HMF would be in Agave Nectar as it goes thru a conversion to actually get the fructose. Its quite possible it contains a high amount as I believe the creation of HMF accelerates from heating, and heating is part of the process to get the fructose.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    On the other hand this person claims agave nectar is made just like bees make honey:

    http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/n.../agave-nectar/

    "Organic agave nectar’s processing could not be further related from this aforementioned processing of High-Fructose Corn Syrup. Agave is processed through either the use of natural enzymes, or through the use of thermal hydrolysis. These processes are essentially used only to evaporate the nectar from the liquid juice that is extracted from the plant. The processing of agave is done in the exact same way in which bees make honey, whether through a natural enzyme in the bee’s stomach, or when they fan their wings to evaporate the natural water out of the sweet liquid before capping into the honey comb."

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    "HMF can form in high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), levels around 20 mg/kg HMF were found, increasing during storage or heating.[10] This is a problem for American beekeepers because they use HFCS as a source of sugar when there are not enough nectar sources to feed honeybees, and HMF is toxic to them." -from Wikipedia.

    Seems to me that heating fructose produces HMF. So it all comes down to how the agave nectar was produced or stored. If heating was involved it might have increase HMF levels to that which is toxic to honeybees.

    I wonder what honey made from the nectar of agave plants would taste like? How similar would it be to the agave nectar people make?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Agave Nectar as Bee Feed

    Quote Originally Posted by Joes_bees View Post
    You can decide how credible this site is... which is a problem since commercial beekeepers feed HFCS to the bees to stimulate honey production when field-gathered nectar sources are scarce[v]."Maybe this agave had a lot of HMF in it? I don't know.
    Commercial beekeepers do not feed bees to stimulate honey production, but the rest seemed okay.
    Mark Berninghausen To combat Ebola, please consider supporting http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org


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