A diet of sugar is not equivalent to a diet of honey.

Discussion in 'Bee News' started by Americasbeekeeper, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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  2. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    well mine are putting their sugar into new honey comb. Hopefully next year there will be more honey, and I'll definitely be starting with more comb. Since I started with zip, I have a ways go to. (5 hives) The bees have been mixing their sugar with whatever flow there is, and was, and they do not seem to have viruses.
     

  3. Crofter

    Crofter New Member

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    I did not read the article in depth but in scanning it I did not see any reference to inverting the sucrose or adjusting the ph of the syrup to approximate that of honey. What do we take away! That it would be better to leave more honey on the bees instead of replacing much of what we take with cane sugar or corn syrup? I guess I have to plead guilty!
     
  4. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    Actually it is bee susceptibility to synthetic and natural xenobiotics, including the acaricide tau-fluvalinate, the agricultural pesticide imidacloprid, and the naturally occurring mycotoxin aflatoxin. These results suggest that regulation of honey bee P450s is tuned to chemicals occurring naturally in the hive environment and that, in terms of toxicological capacity, a diet of sugar is not equivalent to a diet of honey. But when you are sick from what you eat . . . viruses and pests are next.
     
  5. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Seems kinda obvious that their natural intended diet of flower nectar and pollen (so rich in micro-nutrients, enzymes, amino acids, etc) would produce healthier stronger bees than a diet of sugar water, or worse yet- corn syrup.
     
  6. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    So what about sugar as a supplement? I only robbed 40 liquid oz of honey from the bee tree swarm this year, but I have fed 150 lbs of Imperial sugar to get their comb drawn out.

    I know that without comb, there can be no brood, no winter stores, and a hive cannot get large enough to survive the winter. My bees are certainly foraging wherever they find forage, saw some of them over at home depot in the nursery the other day. But with their late arrival and our regular summer dearth, there is no way I could have afforded 150 lbs of honey to feed them up.
     
  7. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Some opinion, aimed at no person in particular....
    I think these days it seems that people are basically taking the bees' honey stores away and replacing it with sugar water or corn syrup. Not leaving the bees enough of their own honey to survive the winter on, thus begins a nutritionally poor diet for them to get by on. Bees are terrific at finding flowers within miles all around of them, and if there is nectar to be had, the bees can build comb amazingly quickly in the Spring. Bees with access to nectar will build comb as fast as they need to, to keep up with their hive growth. They won't build comb according to what WE decide they need. We eliminate the variety of wildflowers that they could survive on during all seasons, and we force bees to do things according to our own schedule instead of working with bees' natural seasons. We don't let them do what they need to do or have what they need to have to be strong and healthy. You can feed all the sugar syrup in the world but it still won't make bees build a lot of new comb in the Fall. Not saying anyone here does this, but if you take most of the bees' natural food away and force them to survive/starve on sugar water or corn syrup for a year or two, it doesn't surprise me one bit when they succumb to various diseases, toxins, and parasites.
    Sorry, don't mean to sound like a 'tree hugger'...but hey!
     
  8. heinleinfan

    heinleinfan New Member

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    I'm with you on this, Omie, and I am a proud tree hugger myself.

    There have been all these stories in the news about the "honey without pollen" and they all are pointing fingers at honey from other countries. And they're saying that the large suppliers are ultra-filtering it to remove pollen so it can't be proved it was imported from, say, China. In all honesty, and maybe this is way off base, but I...kind of wonder if it's actually just honey that huge producers are making out of out corn syrup feed rather than actual nectar and *that's* why there's no pollen count.

    I don't think supplemental feeding to help a colony survive is a terrible thing, it's something we keepers can provide to a weak hive or to hives when there's been a bad drought and I believe it's much better than the alternative of not feeding and having a colony die.

    But, in my mind, "supplemental" is just a couple weeks of feeding and maybe just a gallon or two of sugar syrup, it's not "feed from August to November, since we took all their honey."
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am not certain americasbeekeeper that I understand the link between detoxifying stuff in and coming into the hive with some partial diet (pollen being the other part) based on high fructose or sucrose. the functional link (and science very much depends on this) is just not that clear to me. I will also point out that most especially sucrose and high fructose corn syrup if it is processed properly (likely a big if) should have no substantial toxins to deal with anyway.

    I myself do not mind feeding bees when they need feed.... it is better for me (financially and spiritually) than simply allowing a hive to starve.

    an Omie snip..
    I think these days it seems that people are basically taking the bees' honey stores away and replacing it with sugar water or corn syrup.

    tecumseh:
    long ago during my younger years when I ran off with the circus (commercial bee keeping outfit) this was the practice commonly employed. you did not try to strip all the honey away but did remove a good deal to reduce weight in hauling hives back south and you consequently had a bit more to go into the barrel or frames of honey to use for feed in the following year. this business strategy is of course driven by the difference between the price of honey and the price of sugar or hfcs. for myself with limited storage capacity once I calculate price when the water is removed from the hfcs the price of these two are about equivalent so I chose to feed sucrose when feeding is necessary.
     
  10. Omie

    Omie Active Member

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    Interesting theory, and I would not discount it!
    But aside from the pollen issue- It's been shown that bees in China are now often fed rice syrup instead of corn syrup- partly because the USDA and border testing spot-checks imported honey by testing for corn syrup content- but the test currently cannot detect the presence of rice syrup. Hopefully this will change. Which only goes to show that every time there is a tiny chance to cheat people for a buck, you can bet someone will take it.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    "You can feed all the sugar syrup in the world but it still won't make bees build a lot of new comb in the Fall."

    Well, mine are building comb. A LOT of comb. And I plant all of the wildflowers I can, but I cannot control the world. They are new bees. Whatever honey they made they still have. My first bees arrived at the end of March from a cutout. Probably 60% of our flow is tree pollen which was mostly done by then, but my flowers were coming in. My nucs arrived at the end of April, and my flowers were mainly done by then.

    Texas has a seasonal drought. We go a minimum of 6 weeks every summer pretty much without rain. Every year. To tell us not to feed our bees would be quite silly.
     
  12. Americasbeekeeper

    Americasbeekeeper New Member

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    First let me say that I made no statement about when or if bees should be fed sucrose, HFCS or any other man-made product. I only found the study when a couple commercial queen rearers said they preferred to raise their personal queens and breeder queens on natural honey and pollen.
    tecumseh snip - the functional link (and science very much depends on this) is just not that clear to me.
    The answer is in the first sentence. -- It is not about toxins coming into the hive. It is about what does not come with unnatural feeding. "Honey bees are exposed to phytochemicals through the nectar, pollen and propolis consumed to sustain the colony." Without phytochemicals, bees cannot tolerate toxins as well. First and last sentences of a well written document usually summarize the thought.
     
  13. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree it is well written. I just can't meet those feeding standards without risking far worse things from imported grocery store honey.
     
  14. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a snip for post #1...
    A diet of sugar is not equivalent to a diet of honey. Bees had more viruses and problems when fed sucrose or HFCS.

    and tecumseh two cents:
    the study seems to suggest first that certain chemical compounds found in natural nectar (actually the study is using very much processed honey and some other hive products like pollen and propolis) que certain molecules that detoxifies some chemicals but not all (that is not all chemical a bee might be exposed to are capable of being detoxified no matter what the feed). table two suggest that yes a diet of sugar is not equivalent to a diet of honey... it fact sugar feeds seem to allows the caged group of bees to survive about 1/3 longer than honey and almost twice as long as hfcs. this part of the study seem to be in agreement with results from numerous other similar studies that I have read about down thru the years (ie done several time and alway the same results).

    some of the hind gut examination of honey vs sugar is curious although I am not certain the difference has much functional relevance. that is their observation about the size and structure of the hind gut was curious but I am not certain it really means very much to the functioning of the bee.

    any connection to bees having more virus(s) or problems would seem to me to be conjecture.

    I think most queen rearing folks would agree that the best queens with the least problems are reared around a flow and certainly there is (I think without a doubt) some significant dietary component in this broadly held perception.