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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently sold a nuc to a local beekeeper and saw that she was feeding her bees with organic sugar. The sugar syrup had a brown color and she said it was because the sugar was' organic' and that it was not briown sugar.

to feed as syrup to bees or is there anything in it that may not be suitable to the bees digestive system (which I have heard about brown sugar, but I don't think I've ever heard of 'organic' sugar before).

-fafrd
 

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I can't answer your question but the organic sugar is "raw" unrefined sugar. It may not be harmful to the bees but it is more expensive for her.
 

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It's her dime, not mine, so I don't really care about cost. I'm just the guy that sold her the bees and want to be sure that they don't up and die on her because she prefers (expensive) organic sugar instead of plain 'ol (cheap) refined sugar. So can I assume that whatever the 'raw' stuff is that gets removed from refined sugar it is not bad for bees?

-fafrd
 

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Organic is ok but, really expensive. I would go cheaper since you are just building comb etc. It will not give you organic bee's any quicker then cheap sugar will. :rolleyes:
 

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Honestly it is less suitable for the bees. It's like having their clean nectar injected with a tiny bit of mud; it puts them at risk for dysentery. Sure they can take cleansing flights just like we can run to the toilet 12 times a day, but I wouldn't call it a way to live :). Regular table sugar, sucrose, is just fine and ideally suited to honeybee carbohydrate needs. Nectar is largely sucrose (which is no surprise, plant sugar is plant sugar), and the rest are mainly other sugar fractions of sucrose like fructose dextrose and glucose.

Be careful though, some people have very strong feelings about "natural" foods and such. I eat a lot of organic foods and support the practice, but the reality is that in this instance it really isn't any different to the bees. To the contrary; they'll be healthier with good ole sucrose without the Ex-Lax :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone. So I have understood that organic sugar is no better for the bees, and in addition to being more expensive, contains components other than pure sucrose that may cause mild dysentery.

Sounds like mild dysentery during during the spring is nothing too serious but the point is that if she wants to insit on feeding organic sugar, she is doing it for herself and not for the good of the bees.

Appreciate everyone's help on this.

-fafrd
 

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This might be slightly off topic I'm not sure but I guess someone will soon tell me if it is!
I've often seen photos of what you guys call the mountain camp method of feeding bees over winter and the photos show what looks to be white sugar is this right or am I seeing things wrong?
The reason I ask is over here we use white sugar for making syrup only and feed raw sugar in dry form only, as we think feeding dry white sugar will cause dysentry in the bees.
kiwi
 

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Sounds like mild dysentery during during the spring is nothing too serious but the point is that if she wants to insit on feeding organic sugar, she is doing it for herself and not for the good of the bees.

-fafrd
You nailed it. And there's nothing wrong with doing something for the beekeper, as Maude said "you can't let the world judge you TOO much."
 

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I see this is an old post, but I'm new here so it's new to me :) My question to those who are feeding the plain cheaper white sugar, what about all the round-up that is in that sugar? I don't know how "organic" sugar might affect the bees, but I would think that the Genetically Modified cheaper sugar (which makes up over 90% of sugar sold...world-wide) would definitely be detrimental to bees. I am now looking for an alternative way to feed bees rather than depending on Monsanto sugars. Hope someone revives this post and topic!!!! Maybe our bees are already so used to eating pesticides and herbicides that it doesn't matter, but doesn't seem like a nice way to live for them.
 

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I see this is an old post, but I'm new here so it's new to me :) My question to those who are feeding the plain cheaper white sugar, what about all the round-up that is in that sugar?
Your bees will die of old age long before they'll die from any disease that you could possibly imagine them getting from trace herbicides...remember these are insects not humans, what affects you doesn't necessarily affect them...cough on them when you have a cold, and they wont get your cold....
 

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As long as the *organic* sugar doesnt still have the molassas in it it would be fine. Im thinking the brown color is molassas and this can give the bees the runs.
 

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My question to those who are feeding the plain cheaper white sugar, what about all the round-up that is in that sugar?
This is an over generalization of what is in sugar bought off of the store shelves of grocery stores and other sugar sold for human consumption. Show me the RoundUp in sugar. If it is in there then you have it in you too, most likely.
 

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That is absolutely true, which is why I no longer consume it myself. I was very dismayed to find that also there are people growing "round-up ready" crops near my area...I was hoping to be in an area away from this practice! Systemic pesticides flow through all parts of the genetically modified plants and crops and it is not only my goal to keep myself healthy, but also my food-producing animals, including bees.

However, it is a good point that the bee has such a short lifespan, that it might not be much of an issue for them, unless perhaps there might be a buildup of systemic pesticide/herbicide in their comb. I'll have to research more.

And, by the way...Monsanto Corporation "owns" 90% of the sugar beets from which much "shelf" sugar is derived. Systemic pesticides are also used on cane. Much research is ongoing concerning CCD and though for the most part we cannot control what our bees fly out and eat/gather, we can control what we feed them as a beekeeper.
 

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IMO
Of all the chemicals/pesticides/herbicides/food additives/clearers/textile chemical/air fresheners/petroleum products/mercury/plastic water bottles/car fumes... we are exposed to round up is one of the safer ones.

The GM crops are a different deal and most should not be eaten.
 

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we can control what we feed them as a beekeeper.
True, very true. Can you show me the chemical analysis which shows the presence of RoundUp or any pesticide residue in sugar found on store shelves? In all likelihood sugar found on store shelves is cleaner than your or my honey. I doubt that anyone would look down on ultrafiltered sugar.
 

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The real threat to short-term honey bee health is the high ash content of organic sugar, which is usually manufactured from evaporated cane juice. It has a much higher ash content than refined white sugar and can definitely contribute to honey bee dysentery. I originally thought it wouldn't be much of a problem until I started researching the numbers. Even though I use organic sugar in my kitchen, I would not give it to bees.

For examples of ash content of honey, refined sugar, and organic sugar see http://www.honeybeesuite.com/is-organic-sugar-better-for-bees/
 

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Definitely makes sense about the ash in organic sugar, plus I'm still on the track that the life-span of the bee is so short, not much would build up over time (other than hive/wax buildup).

And, as far as "clean" sugar on the store shelves...maybe, maybe not...but I will try my very best NOT to support the GMO seed corporations that contaminate our crops and that includes sugar. And, "round-up ready" crops are the ones that are Genetically Modified...there are many videos on the viruses and bacterias used to do this. I regret that some of these crops are growing not too far from my area, I just hope there aren't any too close to my bees!

Thanks everyone for helping on this older topic. For the newies like me, all opinions are helpful!!! :)
 

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The brown color is molasses. There may be trace Roundup in sugar beets, but refined white sugar is the purest chemical you can buy.
 
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