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Heard a pro beekeeper say not to feed invert sugar because bees do not store it, only consume it. This is the only time I have heard this and wanted some feedback from others. I have been researching the use of invert sugar so I am interested in using it when I put in patties this week but am now wondering if I should wait. Or is feeding it now a good idea for spring fattening?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Local feral survivors in eight frame medium boxes.
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I think it may affect how readily they TAKE the syrup, but the bees will invert it if it's not inverted and will store inverted syrup the same as any other. They will not consume it simply because it's inverted and store it if it's not.
 

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Common sugar is sucrose. It is called a disaccharide (di meaning two) because it has two sugar molecules, a glucose (aka dextrose) and a fructose (aka levulose) connected by an oxygen atom. This is broken down by the bees using an enzyme called invertase. Once the sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose, it is termed, "inverted". The name, I believe is partly because dextrose is a right handed sugar (dextra) and levulose a left handed sugar (levla), so one is inverted from the other, but that doesn't entirely make sense because non inverted contains both (sucrose) but still connected and inverted is a mixture of both after it has been split. So maybe there is a better explanation for the name.

The typical home grown way to invert sugar is to break it apart with some kind of acid. The old candy makers or beekeeping way is usually cream of tarter which is tarteric acid and heat. The industrial methods often use harsher acids and more heat.

There have been some studies that concluded that sugar inverted using the cream of tarter shortens the life of the bees.
 

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Michael,

You just continue to amaze me! Sounds like you have pretty good knowledge of organic chemistry, too! Incredible!

FYI - I think I gleaned this from one of the top bar hive forums (sorry I can't give credit where it's due.) Recipe I have scribbled down in my notes is 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice to one pound of cane sugar, mixed to what ever syrup concentration you're trying to achieve. Point being it's more like nectar, I think.

Best part is when I buy the lemon juice it's a "business" expense for IRS purposes...so what if I steal a little for my ****tails for bee watching!

Got to love Beekeeping!

Steve
 

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I was looking for the source of the info that cream of tartar injures bees. I have also seen recommendations that one can use vinegar as the acid as well. Is inverted sugar syrup really easier for the bees to consume and worth the effort to simmer the syrup for 20 minutes or so?
 
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