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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    593

    Default 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    This past year when I mixed 1:1 sugar water, I routinely added 1 or 2 tbsp of Bragg apple cider vinegar to move the pH down. In retrospect, I think this is NOT the way to do it.

    Does anyone have a recipe for pH adjusted sugar water, OR is my thinking wrong?

    I have read in various places that the higher alkaline sugar water may contribute to various ailments, and that the lower pH sugar water may reduce the risk of these ailments.

    Phil

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    7

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    I use vitamin C crystals from the health food store, about a teaspoon to 12 lbs of sugar in 1:1 or 2:1 syrup. The bees took it fine. I fed for about 5 months last year. I have been a beek for almost a year. Have four hives two nucs and raised two queens.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    915

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    Phil, the problem with a set "formula" is that water's pH varies from place to place. You really have to test the water source you will be using. A simple test kit will do the job for you. Once you know your pH, then you can adjust up or down (usually down) with your Bragg's and retest/tinker with THAT sample until you hit the pH you want. Then you can make your syrup using the figures you've already determined to get your pH. That's what I did anyhow.

    Unless somebody out there knows a better way?

    FWIW


    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Athens, greece
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    138

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    And what is our target for PH?
    3 years- 18 hives - T (organic)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD8Tcrj9UGs

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    7

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    I shoot for 3.5 to 4 using a PH meter.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    3,655

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    I use Hydrion short range test papers ( 3.0 to 5.5 ph ) and ascorbic acid to adjust my syrup. For my water, 3.5 grams of ascorbic acid crystals is enough to adjust a batch of 5:3 syrup made with 25 lbs of sugar down to a ph of about 4.0

    I should measure the crystals to see approximately what the dry measure would be so that measuring spoons could be used...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    915

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    I aim for 4.0, although nectar varies from as low as 2.9 to as high as 6.4, I believe. The 4.0 seemed like a reasonable middle point to me.

    HTH

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper & Rusty's Bees ( LC and T)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Morro Bay, California, USA
    Posts
    906

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    In my observation, vinegar as an acid source is hard on bees, spoils quickly, and promotes robbing and draws yellow jackets. Powdered ascorbic acid (as a canning supplement) or crushed vitamin C pills have become my practice. Ascorbic acid, Cream or Tartar, Oxalic acid, Acetic acid would all catalyze sugar inversion. Ascorbic is likely the best to prevent souring of the syrup.

    Mostly I have abandoned vinegar because it too easy to overdose the syrup-- you add it as the technical "glug" from the gallon bottle-- as you mix up 10 gallons at a time. And too much gets poured into the mix.

    An acid source functions to catalyze the inversion (splitting) of white sugar to glucose-fructose. Once sugar has been split (hydrolyzed); the fructose, itself, becomes a hydrogen donor to the solution and promotes an acid reaction observed in honey.

    Bees make honey (of typically low pH) just fine from naturally occurring high-sucrose nectar (eg. Avocado = 93% sucrose, 7% undigestible 7 carbon carbohydrate). They catalyze the hydrolysis of sucrose using the enzyme invertase present in their honey crop. The nectar is collected neutral pH and is stored in cells as unripe honey of low (acid) pH.

    I suppose some sucrose will by pass the crop unconverted and serve to neutralize the pH in the hind-gut. Does this happen more than with "typical" nectar of 50% sucrose -50% glucose-fructose.

    The metabolic cost of the enzyme invertase to the bees is likely extremely low. If you give bees pure sucrose, they make honey of low pH, because that solution of fructose/glucose is low pH.

    No canned recipe can be given -- because the buffering ability of various water sources varies enormously. Hard water (with high cations Ca++, Mg++) will neutralize any added H+ because it will preferentially form BiCarbonate salts (HCO3)- or sulfate (HSO4-) before the H+ remains free in solution.
    Last edited by JWChesnut; 01-11-2014 at 11:32 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
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    423

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    What happens if syrup ferments? Will the alcohol produced repel the bees, or will they get drunk on it anyways and likely intoxicate themselves to death and/or harm the brood? I've never put large quantities, so I've never had any go bad...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,336

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    >In my observation, vinegar as an acid source is hard on bees, spoils quickly, and promotes robbing and draws yellow jackets. Powdered ascorbic acid (as a canning supplement) or crushed vitamin C pills have become my practice.

    I agree. I tried vinegar and was not pleased with the results. I use vitamin C. I buy the 1000mg ones from Sam's club pretty cheaply.

    The other issue with a "recipe" is not just the pH of the water, but how much of certain things that absorb the acid, e.g. act as a buffer. If there is a lot of lime in the water, for instance, it will absorb more of acid with no real change in pH because it is being offset by the lime. My target is always 4.5 pH. That's the top end of the range that honey naturally is, but I think the gut bacteria add some lactic acid so I don't want to go too far acidic.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    593

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Bush View Post
    >In my observation, vinegar as an acid source is hard on bees, spoils quickly, and promotes robbing and draws yellow jackets. Powdered ascorbic acid (as a canning supplement) or crushed vitamin C pills have become my practice.

    I agree. I tried vinegar and was not pleased with the results. I use vitamin C. I buy the 1000mg ones from Sam's club pretty cheaply.

    The other issue with a "recipe" is not just the pH of the water, but how much of certain things that absorb the acid, e.g. act as a buffer. If there is a lot of lime in the water, for instance, it will absorb more of acid with no real change in pH because it is being offset by the lime. My target is always 4.5 pH. That's the top end of the range that honey naturally is, but I think the gut bacteria add some lactic acid so I don't want to go too far acidic.
    Thank you Mr. Bush and all for helpful comments. Our municipal water here is naturally soft (Baltimore City), but with additional CL/FL likely buffers or otherwise effects (affects?) the pH. Is your target of 4.5 of the water before miixing or of completed sugar water?

    Phil

  12. #12
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    Aug 2002
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    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,336

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    >Is your target of 4.5 of the water before miixing or of completed sugar water?

    After mixing.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
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    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    ... and add the ascorbic acid to the water before adding the sugar.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    carney, maryland, USA
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    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    ... and add the ascorbic acid to the water before adding the sugar.
    First trial:
    What I will plan to do is mix water and ascorbic acid to arrive at pH of around 4.0 +/- .25. Record amounts used.
    Mix equal parts (by volume) of the water and sugar under low heat until fully dissolved.
    Remeasure pH. As long as pH is at least 4.0 (no lower) feed to bees.

    For second trial, add (or subtract) amount of ascorbic acid used similar to first trial, starting with pH adjusted water corrected as necessary to arrive at pH of 4.0-5.0 for final product.

    I am hoping that our municipal water does not vary to much, but perhaps that is unrealistic.

    Thanks all for your comments and advice.

    Phil

  15. #15
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    Feb 2006
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    Massillon, Ohio
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    3,430

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    If sugar blocks are made by compacting and drying moistened sugar in molds would you first adjust the ph of the water before mixing?
    To everything there is a season....

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Mirabel, Québec, Canada
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    423

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    I do wonder how justified this obsession for fine-tuning is. Are there any studies linking syrup pH to hive pH? Probably has an impact, but how much? And then linking hive pH to hive health?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
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    46,336

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    >Are there any studies linking syrup pH to hive pH? Probably has an impact, but how much? And then linking hive pH to hive health?

    I don't know, but it's easy to do one on syrup spoiling...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Ennis, TX USA
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    5,125

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    I'm am going to test my waters PH. Say it's 3.5 How much crushed up Vit C does it take to change the PH to 4.0+
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  19. #19
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    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stilwell, KS
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    1,857

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Hambone View Post
    I'm am going to test my waters PH. Say it's 3.5 How much crushed up Vit C does it take to change the PH to 4.0+

    It depends of the buffering capacity (alkalinity) of your syrup mix. You can get an akalinty test kit and do a bunch of calculations from there, but you will be much better off with a pH meter and the trial and error approach.
    Honey Badger Don't Care ಠ_ಠ ~=[,,_,,]:3

  20. #20
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    Massillon, Ohio
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    3,430

    Default Re: 1:1 sugar water pH adjusted recipe

    Quote Originally Posted by Hambone View Post
    I'm am going to test my waters PH. Say it's 3.5 How much crushed up Vit C does it take to change the PH to 4.0+
    If it's 3.5 you are on the acidic end. We have alkali water here and it is up on the 7.0 range. Vitamin C will bring it down.
    To everything there is a season....

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