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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read that bees after converting sugar syrup can't be nurse bees anymore. They loose the ability to produce milk to feed the larva.
However, feeding in the fall and stimulative feeding in spring is a very common practice for many beekeepers. Are we by feeding sugar syrup, slowing the hive in the spring? Can someone elaborate on this subject please?
 

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Personally I don't know that that makes much sense. Especially since most of us, when we hive packages on foundation, feed copious amounts of sugar syrup to get the packages into production as soon as possible. That also helps them build up to full strength for the various honey flows, in preparation for their first winter.
Regards,
Steven
 

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I agree with SG, we feed syrup and patties in Jan/Feb for buildup. If they cant feed babies after syrup I'd like to know who/or what is feeding the babies when we go from winter cluster to 6-8 frames of brood very quickly in prep for orange blossom :scratch:
steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, the fact that everybody is feeding sugar syrup does not explain what is happening to the bees.
This is what I have read: After converting syrup to "honey", the glands producing milk somehow stop functioning correctly. And the bee can't feed the larva anymore.

According to this statement if you feed sugar syrup, the hive should slow down because you are loosing nurse bees. However, in my personal experience and I am sure many others, the hive actually builds up. Is this because there are different groups of bees in the hive ( just my guess )? One group is feeding, another working sugar syrup?
 

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This is what I have read: After converting syrup to "honey", the glands producing milk somehow stop functioning correctly. And the bee can't feed the larva anymore.
There isn't (to date anyway) any evidence to support this. The hypopharyngeal glands that nurse bees use to produce brood food are not involved in processing nectar or sugar, and as noted above the sugars in sucrose and in honey are broadly the same anyways from a molecular standpoint (a molecule of dextrose or fructose is exactly a molecule of dextrose or fructose, whether it came from a basswood blossom, a cane sugar plant, or the nefarious sugar-transmogrifiers from the Dark Evil Alien's Laborarories on the Asteroid of Death. It's still just dextrose, nothing more or less). From a nutritive standpoint, sucrose syrup that hasn't been heated is perfectly suitable for bees. I recently attended a presentation by Dianna Sammataro about recent research she's working on, and she stated emphatically that sucrose (table sugar) is the most healthful non-honey feed for honeybees.

I understand (and know personally) that many hard-line "natural" advocates have strong feelings about what is healthful and what is not. But misinformation like this doesn't serve bees or beekeepers. Your source, IMO, should definitely have told you that they THINK no one should ever feed anything but honey for X reason and Y reason or whatever. But making non-factual statements like that, unfortunately, diminish the credibility of the messenger.

Go ahead and feed sucrose with a clean conscience :).
 

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According to a study done by a M. Belin in 1984, the process of converting sucrose atrophies the glands that secrete royal jelly. I don't know if the study was ever repeated to check the data but I have never noticed any problem with bees feeding brood while being fed sugar.
 

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They don't seem to have any problem making royal jelly either! Queen rearing hives are normally fed sugar syrup and still manage to fill queen cells with RJ. Some of these so- called scientists need to run conclusive testing before spouting off.
 

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According to a study done by a M. Belin in 1984, the process of converting sucrose atrophies the glands that secrete royal jelly.
Seems like that one will be tough to replicate, since natural nectar is mostly sucrose :). I suspect that "scientists" are not actually involved in making statements like this, rather self-styled "researchers". I would also be among that number, though more on the critical thinking side :). Perhaps more like the elements of "natural" advocacy who are not yet aware that while "sucrose" can indeed come from table sugar, it's just a sugar molecule that nature produces all the time. The scientific-sounding terms can provoke a visceral Frankenstein complex (anti-technology or anti-science) response in some of the more strident "natural" folks, which is unfortunate.
 

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I have never read the study, I read the book by Gilles Fert on queen breeding. He made the statement about M. Belin on page 15 of his book. Mr. Fert recommended feeding a mixture of 25% honey, 25% sugar and 50% water.
 
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