Beesource Beekeeping Forums banner

1 - 20 of 44 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,530 Posts
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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,265 Posts
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...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,283 Posts
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.
 

·
Vendor
Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
Joined
·
54,016 Posts
>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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
>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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,310 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
... 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
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,604 Posts
If sugar blocks are made by compacting and drying moistened sugar in molds would you first adjust the ph of the water before mixing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,113 Posts
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+
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,604 Posts
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.
 
1 - 20 of 44 Posts
Top