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Has anyone heard of adding foos coloring/dye to sugar water?

3896 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Michael Bush
Has anyone heard of adding food coloring/dye to sugar water?
I recently heard/read it somewhere that people have used dye in sugar water to tell where in the frames the bee's are storing it.
Does this work and is it harmful to bee's?
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I've heard of it. Never done it. There are boxes for the bees and there are boxes for me. Syrup is never on a hive when boxes for me are on a hive. Food coloring is non-toxic, it shouldn't hurt the bees.

There have been a few public cases. Locally there was a case where a beekeeper had managed to get hundreds pounds of surplus candy canes that he made into syrup and was open feeding in multiple apiaries. Other bees feed too, and soon beekeepers across three counties were reporting red honey. Then there is the maraschino cherry red honey case that lead to a major drug bust.

Moral of the story, color your syrup if you want to, but please don't open feed colored syrup.
 

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Although I haven't seen any proof of it, many of the sites that promote feeding hummingbirds using sugar/water suggest that coloring it red may be bad for them.
I don't have a personal opinion. I feed my bees and hummingbird feeders uncolored sugar/water....just because.
 

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I did it my first year with bees, more as a novelty than a need to know where they were packing away syrup.
No harm done, and it was fun to see both large concentrations of the green syrup, as well as the odd green cell here and there.
 

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Why not open feed colored syrup? Nearby hives are likely to pack away open fed syrup, whether it's colored or not.
You may have neighbors that are collecting honey in their hives. If you open feed your hives you may contaminate neighboring hives (and their honey) with syrup. In general unless you have a lot of space I would not recommend open feeding because you do not want to contaminate any hives that are not yours.
 
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