Bees feeding on mouldy syrup
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  1. #1

    Default Bees feeding on mouldy syrup

    Hey - new beekeeper from Western Australia here.

    I have two new nucs I'm starting with and progress is so far in the past two months has been negligible.

    I am feeding a 1+1 sugar syrup, in inverted jars on the crown board. I noticed that syrup has developed black strands in it and looks like it's gone mouldy. I of course discarded it.

    My questions are:
    1. the bees have been consuming this mouldy syrup, and whether that is detrimental for their health,
    2. what I should do and look for to make sure they are not sick,
    3. and how can I keep it form going mouldy again in just a few days.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Winston-Salem, NC

    Default Re: Bees feeding on mouldy syrup

    Welcome, I always add a splash of vinegar to my syrup, not sure about the other questions, but I'm thinking as long as it's not fermented it's ok.
    NCSBA Certified Beekeeper - my Youtube Vlog

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    England, UK

    Default Re: Bees feeding on mouldy syrup

    On the basis that bees have been living intimately with rotting wood and moulds and fungi of various kinds for millions of years, I doubt that the black mould we see formed in sugar syrup will harm them much, if at all - but - as a human I don't like to see it either, and so treat my syrup with a splash of bleach just as soon as it's cooled, and before storing it. I normally make up batches of 2:1 or thicker, and dose it with thin, unscented bleach at the rate of somewhere around an eggcupful per gallon.

    You mention negligible progress - I guess it would be mid-Summer where you are - so, are there signs of pollen coming into these nucs ? In terms of 'progress' generally - do you have BIAS (Brood In All Stages) in both boxes - i.e. are the queens laying eggs ok and is there capped brood as well as larvae ?
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping

  5. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Algoma District Northern Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Bees feeding on mouldy syrup

    At his time of year a stronger syrup close to 2:1 takes less work for the bees to dehydrate and the heavier syrup puts less moisture into the hive. It is also much more resistant to mold and fermenting.
    Some molds might be tolerable but some are bad news. Not a good idea in general.

    Edit; I missed your location detail: scratch the cold weather and moisture reference!

  6. #5

    Default Re: Bees feeding on mouldy syrup

    Yeah thanks guys, I'm in full summer here, 1+1 is the recommended dose. Since I have plenty of water for the bees availble, and 2+1 tends to keep for longer, is it such a bad idea to give them 2+1 then? Less work for the bees is welcome I suppose?

    I read a lot about adding various potions to make it keep longer - essential oils, lecithin granules, bleach, cider vinegar, salt.... I don't have the time to experiment with these nucs so have t nail it first time if possible.


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