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  1. #381
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    This is a great thread with a lot of information for a relatively new beekeeper like myself (less than a year of experience). Thanks to everyone for your contribution and especially to Lauri for sharing this recipe that has worked so well for her. I'm sure a lot of time and study went into developing this recipe.

    A question. Honey normally has several different acids naturally including acetic acid (vinegar) in tiny ratios. So does anyone think that adding this much vinegar to a hive could raise the amount of acetic acid in the honey later produced from this hive enough to influence the taste and aroma of the honey? I ask as it may only take a small change in the acid profile to influence the taste/aroma.

    If we think it's a possibility that the acid added to sugar blocks or syrup fed to the bees can influence the taste/aroma profile, then could we use this as a tool to influence the taste of our honey? Some acids give honey a buttery taste (for example).......so what if we added that acid to our sugar blocks and/or our syrup used for supplemental feeding? Maybe this topic is better suited for a different thread but at least the question asking if apple cider vinegar added to sugar blocks and/or syrup could influence the taste of subsequent honey produced from the hive is relevant.

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  3. #382
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    Spencer, MA, USA
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    I would only feed so that I didn't have sugar water honey in my supers. So, for me the answer is no.

  4. #383
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    Castle Rock, Colorado, USA
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    The UltraBee just arrived. Snow is in the local forecast, so my first batch of sugar blocks is too.

    FYI, Cabelly's has:

    " Deluxe10-Tray Dehydrator offers of total of 1,703-sq.-in. of drying space... This 10-tray dehydrator...The specially designed fan and powerful 800-watt heating element team up to deliver constant temperatures and a heated airflow that eliminates the need for rack rotation. Built-in thermostat delivers precise control of the sturdy cabinet's temperature range – from 84°F to 160°F. Nonstick drip sheet at the bottom wipes clean.
    14.5"H x 13"W x 18.5"D"

    on sale for $110, down from $190, thru 11/8/15.

    I'll be kludging something up out of existing smokers & dehydrators.
    After 40 years of beekeeping, I've come to realize that the bees can fix most of my mistakes.

  5. #384
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    Jul 2014
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    Moss Point, Mississippi
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    118

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Colobee View Post
    The UltraBee just arrived. Snow is in the local forecast, so my first batch of sugar blocks is too.

    FYI, Cabelly's has:

    " Deluxe10-Tray Dehydrator offers of total of 1,703-sq.-in. of drying space... This 10-tray dehydrator...The specially designed fan and powerful 800-watt heating element team up to deliver constant temperatures and a heated airflow that eliminates the need for rack rotation. Built-in thermostat delivers precise control of the sturdy cabinet's temperature range – from 84°F to 160°F. Nonstick drip sheet at the bottom wipes clean.
    14.5"H x 13"W x 18.5"D"

    on sale for $110, down from $190, thru 11/8/15.

    I'll be kludging something up out of existing smokers & dehydrators.
    http://www.cabelas.com/product/cabel...Ntt=dehydrator

  6. #385
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    Walker, Alabama, USA
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    1,530

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeAttitudes View Post
    This is a great thread with a lot of information for a relatively new beekeeper like myself (less than a year of experience). Thanks to everyone for your contribution and especially to Lauri for sharing this recipe that has worked so well for her. I'm sure a lot of time and study went into developing this recipe.

    A question. Honey normally has several different acids naturally including acetic acid (vinegar) in tiny ratios. So does anyone think that adding this much vinegar to a hive could raise the amount of acetic acid in the honey later produced from this hive enough to influence the taste and aroma of the honey? I ask as it may only take a small change in the acid profile to influence the taste/aroma.

    If we think it's a possibility that the acid added to sugar blocks or syrup fed to the bees can influence the taste/aroma profile, then could we use this as a tool to influence the taste of our honey? Some acids give honey a buttery taste (for example).......so what if we added that acid to our sugar blocks and/or our syrup used for supplemental feeding? Maybe this topic is better suited for a different thread but at least the question asking if apple cider vinegar added to sugar blocks and/or syrup could influence the taste of subsequent honey produced from the hive is relevant.
    Interesting concern BUT your honey should not contain any sugar from syrup or sugar blocks. By the time you are adding honey supers, these items should be long gone from your hives. Otherwise you would be selling adulterated honey--a BIG no-no.

    Personally the feeders always come off before the supers go on so I am absolutely certain I am selling PURE honey.

    JMO

    Rusty
    Rusty Hills Farm -- home of AQHA A Rusty Zipper and Rusty's Bees.

  7. #386
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    Midland, Michigan, USA
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Hills Farm View Post
    Interesting concern BUT your honey should not contain any sugar from syrup or sugar blocks. By the time you are adding honey supers, these items should be long gone from your hives. Otherwise you would be selling adulterated honey--a BIG no-no.

    Personally the feeders always come off before the supers go on so I am absolutely certain I am selling PURE honey.

    JMO

    Rusty
    The only reason I could see feeding after adding supers would be to draw them out.

  8. #387
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by beestudent View Post
    The only reason I could see feeding after adding supers would be to draw them out.
    They will store as they draw. I only use stimulative feeding for comb drawing AFTER my honey is off. G
    The Bees are the Beekeepers

  9. #388
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    " I have never used " sugar bricks " before. Can someone tell me why they are a good idea and how you use them ?"

    Winter sugar feed, whether dry or in various forms like sugar blocks, candy boards or fondant, never take the place of good winter hive prep late summer and early fall.

    But sometimes hives are overlooked, are in a less than optimal shape for health or queen reasons that were rectified late in the season, or the colonies are too small (Such as over wintered mating nucs) to get enough feed into them to last the entire winter.

    Once it gets too cold for liquid feeding methods, dry methods are your last resort..or just good insurance if you are unsure.

    In my case, I also use the sugar blocks on any colony that is over wintering in a single. Even if they have good weight, they still can benefit from supplemental feed directly above the cluster and in spring, directly above the brood nest until natural feed sources start to produce if the colony has enough foragers to leave the developing brood nest to collect in cool spring weather.

    Solid Blocks are easy and quick to slip in on top the frames and hard for bees to haul out, if they were so inclined to try before they decided they needed them. That makes them more convenient to install when the weather is pleasant for the beekeeper.




    2015 November pics below of a moderate nuc colony




    January-Feb photos below. My temps are typically in the 30's-low 40's this time of year. Mid Feb is about the time of year in my climate I'll give them a good scoop of my protein mix along with the last scraps of the sugar block. By the start of the maple flow, this over wintered nuc will be over flowing with bees and ready for another deep:



    Below: 2 queen hive-divided deep with mini frames



    There's some debate about the use & safety of cider vinegar. All I know it the recipe I posted works great for me and I feel the vinegar is an important part of that. By making the block more nutritious, more acidic and more appealing so they actually consume the slow and steady and fairly concentrated supplementation.

    I don't use the blocks to control condensation, I usually have my ventilation adjusted correctly to handle that.(Besides, it's usually the larger colonies that will have condensation issues and they don't require sugar or blocks)
    But some condensation from the colony is actually necessary for them to access the block. Something folks generally consider a problem, yet you can use condensation to your advantage.

    My bees relish them and even the small colonies come out of winter in fine shape. Small enough colonies going into winter I seriously doubt the would have survived otherwise.





    I have very few winter losses and good steady spring build up. I never lose a colony from starvation. Out of over 200 over wintered hives, I'll generally have 4 or 5 come out of winter queenless, but will catch them early enough to give them another queen. I'll find one or two that are just gone with full hives of honey-I assume they were queenless late fall/early winter and faded away. There's always a few early spring that are limping along I have to baby a bit, but that's usually it for losses.

    If cider vinegar was detrimental to bees, I believe I'd be seeing it by now after 5 years of use.

    The original recipe can be altered to use less liquid if you find the blocks don't harden as fast as you would like. I've tried it with less, but found them to be too crumbly.
    Perhaps the brand of sugar matters and likely your humidity level as well. Just alter it slightly until they come out satisfactory.


    I just adjusted the recipe as I developed it, to see how far I could push it.

    I was surprised that the strongest version was the one they preferred the most. So that's the one I stuck with. Didn't have to back it off at all.

    But of course you can change the recipe to eliminate or reduce the amount of vinegar or other ingredients if it makes you more comfortable. Some posters here have done that already. It's worked for some, not worked so well for others.



    Do some trials and and see for yourself.
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-14-2015 at 03:01 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  10. #389
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    Salisbury, NC, USA
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Lauri have you had any robbing issues due to the acv in the blocks? I have 2 nucs, 5/5 and a single 5 in between 2 10 frame double deeps. I was going to put sugar blocks on the nucs but not the 10 frame deeps as they are full of honey. Temps are going to be 29 here tonight but back to the high 50s and low 60s.

  11. #390
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonA View Post
    Lauri have you had any robbing issues due to the acv in the blocks?
    Never, But I don't put them on until the colonies are fairly inactive. I also don't have Italians here and don't have real robbing issues to speak of, no matter what time of year.
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-13-2015 at 08:28 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  12. #391
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Like Lauri I don't put sugar blocks on until about now... but there are remnants there in the spring and no robbing has ever happened. I really don't worry about that. Even weak nucs are fine with the sugar blocks if I stick one on the the summer when making up nucs.

  13. #392
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Freshman BeeKeep here. So I did do a lot of cramming reading whenever I had a moment this summer. Now I wish I'd bookmarked more. Didn't I read one of those thesis papers suggested not too long ago for reading in these forums: that said soy protein and corn syrups are not good for bees?? And how about the "cooking " thing to make these candy boards--when making the 1:1 symple syrup the instructions are pretty emphatic NOT to cook the surgar--it makes it indigestable for the bees...... seems like a lot of conflicting information on some of these real basic items. "lets stir the pot a little more...."

  14. #393
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Shelly, don't feel alone in your confusion - Yes, between all the nomenclature and techniques, it can seem conflicting and contradictory at times.
    But, part of it is our misperceptions regarding some terms and processes...Thank god for all the members here to help us better understand and make sense of it all!

    Here is someone who mass produces sugar bricks. He heats his sugar to 242 degrees.
    http://www.mdasplitter.com/sugarbricks.php

    From the HoneyBeeSuite.com site, Rusty (The same one as 'our' Rusty?) States:
    Sugar that becomes scorched or burnt is not good for bees. But the act of boiling syrup doesn’t make the sugar toxic. For example, bees are routinely fed hard candy, which is made by boiling sugar syrup until it reaches a very high temperature–usually 234 to as much as 266 degrees F. This long boiling time drives off the water and causes the syrup to turn into a solid. Solid sugar is much better for winter feeding than syrup.
    On the other hand high-fructose corn syrup, when heated only slightly, produces a toxic substance called hydroxymethylfurfural. HFCS should never be heated or even stored in warm places.
    From http://www.feedbee.com/product/soy.html
    Soy products contain protein inhibiting enzymes that restrains digestion and absorption of certain proteins in the digestive tract of honeybees.
    Soy products contain toxic sugars e.g. Stachyose and Raffinose which are lethal to bees.
    Feeding soy products to starving colonies encourage the queen to lay eggs but the brood will not reach maturity and will die in early ages due to adverse effects of protein inhibiting enzymes & toxic sugars in soy products.
    So my confusion is right there with you...

    ~M

  15. #394
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Remember folks, the original post is a NO COOK recipe.

    Protein (In the form of commercially produced dry Bee Pro) is Not mixed into the brick, but is sifted on top so you don't force you bees to consume solids when they are not rearing brood or cannot get out for cleansing flights.

    When given a choice, the bees will take up the appropriate type of feed depending on their needs at the time. After years of use, I have never observed this block or the protein topping to stimulate brood rearing out of season. But when they do rear brood, it is available to support their nutritional needs.

    If you change the recipe, heat it or cook it, it will be a totally different product that I show here.
    Last edited by Lauri; 11-14-2015 at 03:17 PM.
    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  16. #395
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    ohhhh, maddy--you did good. you saved those bookmarks. Thank-you so much for refreshing my memory and clearing up a couple of questions. I surely appreciate your very specific replies and in fact this whole discussion. So cold candy boards and blocks it will be??!!! And Lauri--I have been following your advise--you post very clear and concise information that a beginner like myself really needs (unfortunately, no close by mentor). Thank-you all!

  17. #396
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Thanks Shelly.
    I've been beekeeping long enough now to have to have good practical experience, but not so long that I have not forgotten how hard it was in the beginning.
    Not just from inexperience, but (good and bad) information overload. You have to sort through it and use your best judgement.
    A lot of folks posted helpful hints that I really appreciated. I'm just doing my part to help when I can.

    Lauri Miller.
    Carniolan Hybrids. Glenn, Latshaw & Wild lines.

  18. #397

    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Maddy View Post
    Here is someone who mass produces sugar bricks. He heats his sugar to 242 degrees.
    http://www.mdasplitter.com/sugarbricks.php
    Do not boil sugar solution for bees, it becomes toxic. I have a friend who boiled old winter sugar solution, it was the idea to make this old solution more "clean". He lost all his hives that winter, nearly 100 hives.

  19. #398
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Are the probiotics really that beneficial ?
    I have one hive short on stores from a late swarm and thought I would make bricks for all colony's all just for insurance.
    I'm a little nervous going in to the first winter

  20. #399
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    Based on my personal experience and that of another beekeeper, I would not use probiotics. However, there are none in Lauri's recipe and that's what I use.

  21. #400
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    Default Re: My recipe/method for sugar blocks

    There was a study released recently that showed probiotic use increasing the severity of nosema.

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