feeding maple syrup

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Funnyfarm, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Funnyfarm

    Funnyfarm New Member

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    Now i'm not suggesting feeding bees all my good maple syrup.... But a thought crossed my mind if i was to keep my evaporator going for a few more weeks in the spring after the buds came out does anyone think there would be any problem feeding bees buddy syrup?
     
  2. Mama Beek

    Mama Beek New Member

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    Here is a snippet from http://www.beeclass.com/dts/201lessonseven.htm
    <snip>
    Feeding Bees:

    A beekeeper that leaves an adequate amount of honey for the bees to survive the winter usually will not have to feed bees. On the other hand, once in awhile a year will come along in which the bees do not get a honey crop or even enough honey to store for the winter. In a situation like that the beekeeper must feed colonies to help them survive.

    There are a number of ways to feed bees. We are going to discuss several methods after we talk about formulations of bee feed.

    It seems like a simple matter to explain feeding but it gets complicated by the choices a beekeeper needs to make. Will the beekeeper feed table sugar (sucrose), honey, high fructose corn syrup or something else? A word of caution: you need to check out the source of the choice you make regardless of what you think it will do. Several years ago, Canadian beekeepers bought cheap corn syrup that gave their bees dysentery. As a result, beekeepers lost a number of colonies of bees. Lets take a look at what is available:

    * Corn syrup --- General comments: Easy to use because it is already in a liquid state. It can be diluted and often is used that way in the spring of the year. Because it contains both fructose and glucose it is similar to honey and honey bees accept it well. There are two types available to beekeepers: Type 55 and Type 42. I am sure you probably do not need a full or half semi load but that is the way it is delivered to commercial beekeepers. Local sources are available and it is sold often by the 5 gal. bucket. Hint: Check the local phone directory of a large urban area for wholesale grocery companies and call around. Or call a bee supply dealer. They can lead you to a supply. Remember that while the beekeeper buying a semi load will get it for .15 cents a pound, you may end up paying almost .40 cents a pound in 5 gal. buckets. Type 55 is the preferred type for bees. It has a higher concentration of fructose and is slower to granulate. It can also be diluted if desired. However it is more expensive.
    * Table Sugar -- General comments: Easy to find. Any grocery store will handle it. If a beekeeper with only a few hives watches for grocery sales, it can be purchased quite reasonably. It comes in various package sizes -- a plus. Sugar is mixed with hot water and makes a desirable bee food. It can also be used dry or as a sugar candy. It is messy to mix and takes time. Formulation for fall is usually one part sugar to one part water while spring feeding includes more water with a mixture being one part sugar to two parts water. Remember that when a larger amount of water is used, the beekeeper is adding more humidity to the hive.
    * Honey -- Good natural food. The beekeeper usually has some on hand. It is much more expensive to feed than either corn syrup or sugar. It does carry with it one great disadvantage: It can carry American Foulbrood spores which will then spread the disease to any colony fed with it. Honey can be stored honey in frames of comb or it can be fed just like sugar water. Be careful not to mix much honey with water during warm periods because the honey will ferment and be ruined.
    * Do not use: Brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, etc. Sugars other than sucrose may present problems to the bees. Sugars sometimes contain other components such as starch. Check the label on the product you buy. Powdered sugar often contains as much as 5% starch or more.
    <snip>

    I don't personally have any information about using maple syrup for bees at all, but I did see this and thought I would share it with you.
     

  3. Funnyfarm

    Funnyfarm New Member

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    Thanks for the info
     
  4. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I know a beek who feeds maple syrup but ONLY when temperatures are high enough that the bees aren't confined to the hive. Because of it's high mineral content (potassium and calcium), it can cause dystentery if the bees aren't able to leave the hive to void.
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    my understanding (which is quite limited in the case of maple syrup) is that the 'do not use' is more applicable when the bee cannot fly that when they can. so feeding brown sugar or maple syrup (bees will collect extra nectar secretions from a lot of different plants and trees) would likely pose little problems here in the southern US of A but MIGHT represent significant problems for you given your location.

    a larger issue in regards to feeding maple sugar (molasses would also face the same problem) would be any carmalization that might take place in heating the raw syrup can create large problem in regards to the bee digestion. often time when problems are discovered with feeding this or that bee feed over heating is often time what has occurred.

    any and all impurities in whatever you feed does pose a cost to the bees in that the more impurities present the shorter the lives of the bees (this has been demonstrated in lab test again and again). in these lab test white table sugar has been shown to be a superior feed than even honey which is likely due to the level of impurities present.
     
  6. Funnyfarm

    Funnyfarm New Member

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    Thanks once again for all the input. Much as i'd like to save the money on sugar( maple syrup is free... it comes right out the trees ya know lol) i think i'll spend the money not take the chance