May I ask what invert sugar is? I have not done much dry feeding, and I am wondering what is meant by "invert sugar".
Benjamin Schneider - http://prairiewindbeesupply.webs.com/
Standardized inverts made from pure cane sugar by a process that converts sucrose into a combination of fructose and dextrose sugars, resulting in a characteristically unique sweetener system. These sugars have significantly different characteristics than sucrose, corn syrup combinations, or other sugars, and offer a lighter flavor, increased moisture retention in fresh baked goods, improved crust color, solubility, and enhanced shelf life.
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
Is this recipe for invert sugar (scroll down a little) any good for bees? Cream of Tartar and Citric acid are easily obtainable.
Research on using Cream of tarter and Citric acid to make invert sugar and feeding it to bees has shown it shortens the lives of the bees. It still seems to be a popular thing to do though...
Not trying to start any arguments, just curious what's the justification of using invert sugar if it's detrimental to bee longevity.
Ma'am your doing fine. Please ignore the congenitally righteous who know what is best for us all. Every single one of my colonies have Mountain camp sugar on them including strong ones that might not need it. You see I have plans to keep bees in the spring and one can't do that unless one has bees. Rational people keep bees to produce honey and it is not a crime to take some. By numbers, the vast majority of bees in the blinkin country each May were raised on man supplied feed! Doesn't sound all that lethal to me. Would it be better if the bees had honey? Of course. But if they ain't go it--don't sweat it--and feed them what you have.
Melanie, no worries
Dont take his statement personally. We all understand that there are issues that are out of the beekeepers control, such as the weather. You are correct, that doesn't make you a bad beekeeper. By feeding your bees, that makes you a smart beekeeper. Your hive that you help get through winter can be split into 2 or more hives in the spring, and then you may be able to get more than 1 crop of honey off of your hives, if every thing goes right.
Most beekeepers feed their bees, whether it is emergency feeding in the winter, or stimulative feeding in the spring, feeding is feeding. We are putting food resources into the hive, when the bees didnt collect it themselves. I think that Andrew was more likely aiming his comment at those folks that take every drop of honey off in the fall, and then dont know why they dont have any bees alive come spring time.
Allegany Mtn. Bee Farm
Quality Queens and Honey from Western New York
>What's the advantage of using invert sugar if it has this side-effect? Longer shelf life? Less available water? Is it simply that shortening the lives of (longer-lived) winter bees doesn't have the impact that it would have on spring/summer bees?
Bees prefer invert sugar. Invert sugar crystallizes less. Bees have to invert sugar that is not inverted by making enzymes. The research on shortening their lives is fairly recent (the last couple of decades maybe, but it's been around at least a decade) and not commonly known. People are slow to change. (not all a bad thing)
I don't think Andrew was scolding anyone but rather giving good advice. Hives should go into winter with twenty pounds of feed over the minimum required for your location. That is the emergency feed provided early so there is no winter stress to the colony or beekeeper.
This is obviously going to be hard for a newbie to determine since they don't have the experience of past winters to draw from.
Cold regions need 60-90 pounds of feed.
Temporate regions need 30-60 lbs.
Warm regions need 15-30 lbs.
Now if in some years the minimum plus 20 lbs. is still not enough then emergency feeding is the right thing to do.
A little off topic, but what is the analogy between lbs and pounds?
LB is shorthand for a pound. I have often been curious about the origin of this, I will have to research it.
"lbs" is an abbreviation for "pounds". No idea why it not something like "pds".
EDIT: here's why ...
.The form lb is actually an abbreviation of the Latin word libra, which could mean a pound, itself a shortened form of the full expression, libra pondo, “pound weight”. The second word of this phrase, by the way, is the origin of the English pound.
Last edited by Rader Sidetrack; 01-25-2013 at 10:12 AM. Reason: update with explanation
USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft
Forgive me for keeping an older thread alive but I feel compelled to offer this message:
If your bees are starving or in danger of starving there is nothing wrong with feeding them - and the Mountain Camp Method is a perfectly good way to do so.
What I was talking about earlier is more a criticism of the mind set that says you have to feed bees in the winter time.
It is my belief, and practice, that hives adequately prepared for winter will generally NOT require emergency winter feeding.
As much as anything this is really a case of all bee keeping being local. It was -8 F at my house the other night and I have no intention of unstrapping and unwrapping the hives now to feed. Even if it is needed. If I did my job in the fall they won't need it, and if they are starving now after proper fall preparation I don't want their genetics in my bee yards. Following what I think is good advice from Beekeepers I respect, I no longer just heft hives to gauge stores in the fall. I inspect the hive and see what the stores situation is. Every hive gets put on a scale to see if the total weight is where I want it to be, and supplemental feed is provided to get the hives up to the desired weight (as needed.) While some experienced beekeepers can judge winter stores by heft, I can't, and I believe it is a disservice to new beekeepers to teach them hefting as the sole method of determining adequate stores.
When I check the hives and start to get ready for spring in the Apiary in February or March I tend to feed commercially prepared fondant instead of straight sugar, if stores seem iffy. It is not a given that each hive will get Fondant. My bees have plenty of natural pollen available to them both in the fall and early spring so I don't feed pollen substitute.
It may seem controversial to hold this view, but for me in my location (Coastal Downeast Maine) it works.
My bees are not pets and I do not treat them as such. They are stock. I prefer them live.
Will my practices work for all beekeepers in all locations? I highly doubt it. But I see nothing wrong with the basic strategy.
Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com
Fall flow? What's that? I'm beginning to wonder if a spring flow is even in the cards.
That is the flow between mite build up and hive collapse.