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I made 6 gallons of 2:1 recently. All made the same way. Five gallons are fine, but the sixth started to crystallize as it cooled. I turned on the burner to melt it,got to doing something,and it boiled.
I can't believe it,but it started to re-crystallize again. Any thoughts on why? The only possible variable is I used two different store brands of sugar. I had two different brands and can't remember what I used for that batch. but sugar is sugar,isn't it? do clean the pot and stir stick between batches because I had something like this happen before and thought maybe the sugar that cools on the stick or pot was the cause.
Also, is the boiled batch ok to use? It does not look or smell burned. I would save it for spring and add more water for 1:1.
Thanks, J
 

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Also, is the boiled batch ok to use? It does not look or smell burned. I would save it for spring and add more water for 1:1.
Thanks, J
I have used heavily burned batch before without any ill effects. I don't think bees care...
 

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I made 6 gallons of 2:1 recently. All made the same way. Five gallons are fine, but the sixth started to crystallize as it cooled. I turned on the burner to melt it,got to doing something,and it boiled.
I can't believe it,but it started to re-crystallize again. Any thoughts on why? The only possible variable is I used two different store brands of sugar. I had two different brands and can't remember what I used for that batch. but sugar is sugar,isn't it? do clean the pot and stir stick between batches because I had something like this happen before and thought maybe the sugar that cools on the stick or pot was the cause.
Also, is the boiled batch ok to use? It does not look or smell burned. I would save it for spring and add more water for 1:1.
Thanks, J
Entirely possible this has nothing to do with the sugar.
What about water?

Harder water dissolves less. The harder it is, the worse it is.
And so it maybe that the water in the "funny" batch was somehow harder or just different in some way (as in - it had something else dissolved in it - you can only dissolve so many things into the same solvent).
The water coming out of the kitchen spigot is not always the same hardness and/or at the same level of solved chemicals in it - many reasons.
If you have hard, un-softened water you may kill yourself and yet never get the 2:1 syrup that others take for granted.

I would not worry about the boiled batch; mix it with others IF that makes you feel better.
 

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I have used heavily burned batch before without any ill effects. I don't think bees care...
They do care of the burned stuff.
They may not die on you so that you conclude they don't care.
But on such diet they very well may live shorter.
I would not give burned sugar to my bees - it is too cheap to still feed it.
This goes a bit too far.
 

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Do a search on hydroxymethylfurfural. It is produced at higher temperature processing and storage of sugar containing foods. Acidic conditions hasten the formation. It is harmful to bees, of course depending on concentration and whether an extended period of time. I am moving toward a slightly weaker solution than 2:1 since hot tap water and stirring dissolves it with no subsequent crystallizing in feeders. My water has a low Ph so keeping the heat down would be in the right direction for me.

I would be suspicious of a miscount if I had a dissolving problem. I would try adding some water but would be leery of reheating. It would be of less consequence if you were using it for spring feeding.
 

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They do care of the burned stuff.
They may not die on you so that you conclude they don't care.
But on such diet they very well may live shorter.
I would not give burned sugar to my bees - it is too cheap to still feed it.
This goes a bit too far.
OK, good to know. Thanks!
 

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crofter "I am moving toward a slightly weaker solution than 2:1 since hot tap water and stirring dissolves it with no subsequent crystallizing in feeders"

I boil up 12.5 lb of water, put 25 lb. of sugar in 5 gallon plastic bucket, pourr hot water over it and mix for about 3-5 minutes. Dissolving sugar and heating up the total mass reduced the 2:1 temperature to luke warm rather quickly.
 

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I have always had a hard time keeping 2:1 sugar in a syrup solution. I mix somewhere around 5:3 and have eliminated those problems. Your water seems to make this ratio vary from area to area.
 

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I have always had a hard time keeping 2:1 sugar in a syrup solution. I mix somewhere around 5:3 and have eliminated those problems. Your water seems to make this ratio vary from area to area.
Exactly.
Water can only take in so much material (including sugar, on top of what is already dissolved in this water).

Good starter on solubility of the materials in solvents (which applies here too):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility

2:1 really means - dissolve as much as you can.
Your personal case will vary.
This is NOT about exact proportion to achieve (not really that important).
The important part is - get it as thick as possible (because bees need to dry it less - per the common theory).

Well, I just got some unconfirmed information that 1.5:1 is the optimal ratio - because the processing of this ratio wears the bees less. Supposedly processing the ~2:1 ratio syrup wears out the bees more (whether you care or not).
This is unconfirmed; need to google up and see.
I am just a messenger.
 

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crofter "I am moving toward a slightly weaker solution than 2:1 since hot tap water and stirring dissolves it with no subsequent crystallizing in feeders"

I boil up 12.5 lb of water, put 25 lb. of sugar in 5 gallon plastic bucket, pourr hot water over it and mix for about 3-5 minutes. Dissolving sugar and heating up the total mass reduced the 2:1 temperature to luke warm rather quickly.
Our sugar is bagged 2KG. Six bags is just shy of 26.5 lbs to 15 lbs water, so just a tad richer than 5:3 and very similar to your mix. This is a nice volume for mixing in a 5 gallon pail and reasonably down from the top to be able to do the first pour out of.

I have the same problem with crystallization with a full two units by weight sugar to one of water. I know from tests that the dissolved solids content is high in my well water.
Heating to try to get all dissolved is time consuming and makes it dangerous to handle. Why risk elevating HMF levels. At this concentration mould is not an issue.

A cap full of chlorine bleach would take care of that issue if you were summer feeding.
 

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I don't understand the basis for so much scaremongering re: HMF - it's not as if it's some kind of invisible killer.

HMF is created by the Maillard reaction - the key feature of which is that it turns substances brown. Therefore - unless you can observe a colour change within your heated sugar syrup, then HMF has not been created.
LJ
 

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Whey even bother going where its production is possible? I have seen a very light tan color on the syrup; have no idea what visual indications would align with a level that would start to be negative to the bees.

There is no low hanging fruit there!
 

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The temperature of boiling water is insufficient to create HMF, unless held for a considerably extended period, and in particular if an acid has been added to it beforehand. Therefore the idea that HMF can be created by adding boiling water to plain crystalline sucrose - the syrup of which then immediately begins to cool - is simply ludicrous, and can only be described as unwarranted scaremongering.

Continuous boiling, on the other hand, as is done when making fondant (soft candy ?) in order to deliberately reduce the water percentage of sugar syrup is indeed a possible route to HMF creation, and any obvious browning of the product would then suggest that it be treated with caution.

The presence of HMF is so often viewed as threatening an immediate death sentence upon a honeybee colony, but let's look at the evidence. Freshly-made honey contains at most very little HMF, but the level of HMF will rise during storage in response to temperature and the honey's acidity - indeed, the level of HMF is used as a barometer by which the age of honey may be judged.
HMF concentration is widely recognized as a parameter affecting honey freshness because it is typically absent (or is present in only very small amounts in fresh honeys), while its concentration tends to rise during processing and/or because of aging. Previous studies have reported that honey stored at low temperatures and/or under fresh conditions has low or minimal HMF concentrations, while aged and/or honey stored at comparatively higher or medium temperature has high HMF concentrations.

Moniruzzaman et al. [108] reported the mean HMF concentration in Malaysian honeys stored for 2 months at 4–5 °C to be 35.98 mg/kg. In contrast, Khalil et al. [81] found that HMF concentrations in Malaysian honey stored at 25–30 °C for more than a year could reach very high levels (118.47–1139.95 mg/kg). [76] also observed high HMF levels (3.18–703.10 mg/kg) in honey samples from Bangladesh stored for more than a year at room temperature (20–25 °C). Therefore, HMF level is not only indicative of honey freshness but also of storage duration and conditions

https://bmcchem.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13065-018-0408-3
Are we really suggesting then that honey always be removed immediately it becomes capped, as leaving it in the hive over winter - or perish the thought, even to be consumed the following year - will result in fatally toxic levels of HMF ?

Common-sense would suggest that, in practice, bees are well able to tolerate low levels of HMF, just as they are able to tolerate the presence of pectin - another allegedly lethally-toxic substance - within their diet. Researchers on that one appear to have overlooked the fact that pollen grain walls are largely comprised of pectin. :)
LJ
 

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Well LJ I have re read all the previous posts and I feel that the cautions pointed out did not attempt to manipulate people. The use of the word "scaremongering" seems to me to be unnecessarily provocative. "The presence of HMF is so often viewed as threatening an immediate death sentence upon a honeybee colony" Hmmm? Now those words are leading the jury, methinks!

My suggestion re. the original post about boiling and possible reboiling the sugar/water solution, is that heat can cause the formation of Hmf and that such heat is not necessary or advised for making up sugar syrup feed. Safety issues in the kitchen, cost of energy, labour etc. all part of my reasoning.

I have seen advice about using acidity etc. to invert the sugar and make a thicker supersaturated sugar solution etc. Sound familiar? The risks there seem all out of proportion to benefits for feed. Seems to me that advice to the average person looking for info on making syrup for bees, to steer away from these conditions, is not scaremongering.

I stand by my contribution without feeling I am unnecessarily "scaring the kiddies" with the boogeyman.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well now that that has been cleared up...lol. I always have to heat my water to get 2:1. Tap water just will not come close. I bring to a boil, shut it off, wait a few minutes and add sugar. Yes, my water is hard but why can I make 5 batches with no problems, but not the sixth? I suppose its possible that the water in the sixth batch is harder, but it seems a stretch. Guess I will start adding another glug of water to be on the safe side.
Syrup wasn't boiling long and it looks and smells ok so think I will save it for spring and mix it with some other 1:1 to be on the safe side. Thanks for the thoughts. J
 

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I use a blender & warm water to make 2:1 syrup. It's much faster & easier than using any heat or worrying about bad chemicals being fed to your bees. Try it & you'll never go back!!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Ok, I have a theory. While I do keep a lid on the pot and shake the condensation into the pot when I add the sugar, maybe enough steam escapes when when I initially boil it and when I take the top off to make a difference? It would seem like such a small amount, but with my hard water, I am right on the edge of getting sugar to dissolve at 2:1. J
 

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Well LJ I have re read all the previous posts and I feel that the cautions pointed out did not attempt to manipulate people. The use of the word "scaremongering" seems to me to be unnecessarily provocative.
"Heating to try to get all dissolved is time consuming and makes it dangerous to handle. Why risk elevating HMF levels."
Unless you produce a rich golden colour there is no risk, and no danger either - other than that of having used boiling water - but - is the making of tea or coffee ever described as being "dangerous" ... ?

"The presence of HMF is so often viewed as threatening an immediate death sentence upon a honeybee colony" Hmmm? Now those words are leading the jury, methinks!
I wasn't aware there was a jury ... The key words in the above are "so often viewed" - i.e. outside of this thread/ amongst beekeepers generally, etc.

Does anyone caution about the presence of HMF when producing home-made fondant (soft candy) ? Why not ? It's much more likely to occur there, than when heating/ re-heating sugar syrup a couple of times. Colour is the guide - if there's no colour change, then there's no need whatsoever to worry.

Earlier someone asked whether all sugars are the same - the answer is certainly not. There are three sugars of particular relevance here: HFCS, cane sugar and beet sugar. HFCS has been implicated in feed-related problems, but is almost unheard of in the UK, so it's not on my radar. Afaik, cane sugar is produced by simple extraction and purification techniques, whereas beet sugar is produced by a fairly extensive chemical process, including acid hydrolysis which can leave some residue of HMF.

Here are examples of sugar syrup made from two different batches of beet sugar. The colour difference is exactly the same whether hot or cold water is used.



Is there HMF present in the right-hand jug ? Quite possibly. Was I concerned about it ? Most certainly not. I have been feeding sugar syrup from that batch for two years now, without any problems whatsoever.

A small amount of HMF is not a problem in practice - it is present in stored honey, and the longer honey is stored, the higher becomes the level.

I have seen advice about using acidity etc. to invert the sugar and make a thicker supersaturated sugar solution etc. Sound familiar?
Yes indeed - I've done this myself on numerous occasions - and still no significant colour change (indicating the presence of HMF) has occurred. (I'm not sure why you've moved the goal-posts - I don't think the OP has ever mentioned doing this)
LJ
 

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"Heating to try to get all dissolved is time consuming and makes it dangerous to handle. Why risk elevating HMF levels."
Unless you produce a rich golden colour there is no risk, and no danger either - other than that of having used boiling water - but - is the making of tea or coffee ever described as being "dangerous" ... ?" We dont usually make gallons of beverage at a time in an open pot on the kitchen stove but it is common enough scenario with back yard bee feed.

"I have been feeding sugar syrup from that batch for two years now, without any problems whatsoever." Not giving them much of it at a time unless that batch was large....

You are certainly sticking to you guns LJ!:p
 
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