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Can I use diluted HFCS say at 1:2 (~40% solids) or 1:3 (~27% solids) to stimulate brood? Or does it have to be sucrose syrup??
 

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Exactly. Pollen stimulates brood production as a protein source. Nectar does not, being a a carbohydrate source.

I've found 15-18% protein pollen patties to really get things going. Since you're just over the hill from me, I believe, I tend to start adding patties this time of year to build up the brood for the winter blooms. We're about to hit Eucalyptus here but things really take off around the winter solstice with every tree, flower, bush, and vine going into bloom.
 

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Can I use diluted HFCS say at 1:2 (~40% solids) or 1:3 (~27% solids) to stimulate brood? Or does it have to be sucrose syrup??
One is as good as the other.

There has been some discussion about the possibility HFCS can be contaminated by neonics and other poisons that are used on corn. Whereas sucrose produced from sugar cane is OK as those chemicals are not used on sugar cane.

However all those products go through a considerable refining process, so the argument about neonics in HFCS is largely unresolved / unproven. HFCS, because of the cheapness of it, is the go to for commercial beekeepers and they would not be using it if it was disabling all their bees.
 

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Lee, I tend to agree with G3farms and mtnmyke here. Pollen, or a similar protein source is necessary to ramp up brood production. I use homemade pollen patties that are equal parts cane sugar and Ultrabee pollen sub, mixed with enough water and vegetable oil to make a very stiff dough. I have never used HFCS but understand it works very well as an alternative to cane syrup.
 

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Just to address the other part of your question RangerLee, re dilution rates.

The claim is often made that to stimulate brood rather than feed stores to the hive, diluted syrup is best. In my own hives best I can tell, stimulation of brood production is related to the actual proportion of sugar fed, rather than how diluted it is. And the other factor being over what time period it is fed.

So going into winter, you want to be aware how much water you are putting into a hive, in my view a concentrated mix is best.

If wanting to feed a hive to build stores but not stimulate brood production, a quick slam dunk of a big quantity of syrup over the shortest possible time frame is best. If wanting to stimulate brood production, then spread the feeding over a longer time frame so it more resembles a flow. Bees thinking there is a flow will be more likely to produce more brood.

Re pollen, agree with the other posters, it is equally necessary. I didn't address that cos it's not what you asked about. But one thing you should know, if your hive has enough pollen stores and to spare, adding sub at this time of year will not increase brood production. But simulating a nectar flow will.
 

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Well said Oldtimer.

I love close to the OP and just put my first round of patties on to start brooding up for our winter flow (hives are very light on pollen this time of year. Our flowstarts with Eucalyptus around the end of this month (although may be delayed due to the severe drought).

I've been open feeding (found this to distract the robbers), as well as feeders on each hive. Sticking to around 30:70 sugar to water but sometime even lighter on really hot days - attempting to get more water in the hives to keep them cool. (It's been in the 90s which is incredibly rare for Santa Cruz, at all, yet alone for October).

Question: What ratio of syrup would you say to be best for simulating a nectar flow?

Last year I had a crazy honey harvest brooding them early, but any advantage we can get never hurts.
 

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Question: What ratio of syrup would you say to be best for simulating a nectar flow?
Not sure who that's directed at but if me, natural nectar is mostly 80% + water. So I guess it could be said that is the ideal mix.

But in practise for me anyway, a more concentrated mix still does the job just as well, it's about how much sugar they are given. Now I use exclusively 2 sugar to 1 water, whatever time of year.

In spring going into summer the bees can easily get rid of excess water if you want to feed a weak mix. In fall going into winter they may not so easily, and feeding a weak mix when it's cold can lead to water condensation in the hive which may dog the bees for the rest of winter. The other thing, which is more a commercial beekeeper issue, is the truck can only carry so much weight. So syrup which is mostly water can mean a lot of waste carrying capacity and more trips needed to get everybody fed.
 
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