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problems with refined sugar?

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peteinwilts 

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Hi Guys

During another thread, it was brought up that I was worrying about rubbish in the water in syrup and not the refined sugar.

is there a problem with refined sugar?

Cheers
Pete


At risk of reading too much into it myself, strikes me as odd that you worry about the water but apparently not the refined sugar.


I had a new NUC and had queen issues a couple of months ago and it is still a weak colony.. hence feeding..

is it the calcium hydroxide or phosphoric acid used in the refining that is the issue with refined suger?

I am no expert in sugar manufacturing, but I do know a little about water. My local tapwater contains a large amount of Magnesium and Calcium, along with other chemicals including copper that leaches from the pipes... 380ppm of crap (not as bad as many bottled waters though!) + the gasses which I would have thought would disipate before getting to the bees anyway..
 

Finman 

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Refined sugar is the best food after honey. No problem.

Bees get other nutritients from pollen or from their body reserves.



.
 

peteinwilts 

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Refined sugar is the best food after honey. No problem.

Bees get other nutritients from pollen or from their body reserves.



.
what other nutriants do they require?? can this be given artificially?

I have one good colony and is going to keep all of it's honey, but have two smaller colony's and want to give them the best possible chance to survive winter.
 
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Bees require carbohydrates, protein, trace elements and water. The former they get from nectar in the wild, the latter from ponds etc if required. The middle two they get from pollen and are particularly important for brood rearing. To get them through the winter they mostly need only carbohydrates and will nip out on warm days to collect water if needed. Sugar syrup is a very good source of carbohydrates which beekeepers have been using for a very long time without problems. If they need pollen during the winter they will use their stored pollen but some beekeepers give them pollen in the spring to help the build up.

So to answer the question, sugar is all the bees need to get through the winter although the "natural" beekeepers leave them with sufficient stores of their own, as do some beekeepers using frames of Dadant size or double brood boxes - letting the bees keep their share and only harvesting a sustainable crop.
 

oliver90owner 

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My local tapwater contains a large amount of Magnesium and Calcium, along with other chemicals including copper that leaches from the pipes... 380ppm of crap

That, or most of it is certainly not 'crap'. Most will be normal hard water salts leached from the rocks through which the water percolates before being collected from rivers or aquifers, treated, and sent to millions of users throughout the UK. In fact 'hard' water is considered more healthy than 'softened' water supplies, where the calcium and magnesium salts are removed (as in water softeners).

If, as I suspect, you are in a hard water supply area, the pH of the water will be around about, or a little above, 7 on that scale. That would mean that very little copper (approximately zero) is likely to dissolve in the water.

Copper has superceded lead for potable water pipes in nearly all homes. Lead pipes had a small problem of dissolving, particularly in 'soft' water which can be relatively acidic on the pH scale. Copper is less easily dissolved by 'soft' water (than lead) and is regarded as a much safer material than lead, because of the toxicity of the soluble lead salts and the less than 'small amounts' that could be involved.

but apparently not the refined sugar

Beet sugar - if free of pesticides (at levels which may cause concerns with bees) is one main type of refined sugar that can be used, or refined cane sugar (the other 'type').

Much sugar beet seed is coated with neonicotinoid systemic pesticides which might pose a threat to the honey bee. I know not how much, if any, is carried through the refining process into the refined product, but I believe cane derived sugars do not have these types of systemic insecticides used during the cane culture.

Worry about the sugar, more than the water is my advice. Use cane rather than beet derived sugar, until it is proven how much pesticides are present in beet sugar inrelation to feeding it (in large quantities) to bees. It will pass the relevant maximum allowable limits for human consumption (probably by several orders of magnitude).

Regards, RAB
 

Finman 

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It is summer now and bees get food from nature.

Bees survive with mere sugar syrup over winter but they cannot start brood rearing without pollen or pollen patty.

I give sugar for winter and I try to return all pollen frames into hive.

That is all you can do now.

I have wintered bees 47 years with sugar and natural beekeepers may do what they get into their tiny heads.

In researches sugar have mentioned to be best food after honey. THIS IS GOOD 150 pages
http://docs.ksu.edu.sa/PDF/Articles18/Article180069.pdf

.
 
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peteinwilts 

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My local tapwater contains a large amount of Magnesium and Calcium, along with other chemicals including copper that leaches from the pipes... 380ppm of crap

That, or most of it is certainly not 'crap'.

If, as I suspect, you are in a hard water supply area, the pH of the water will be around about, or a little above, 7 on that scale. That would mean that very little copper (approximately zero) is likely to dissolve in the water.

Copper has superceded lead for potable water pipes in nearly all homes. Lead pipes had a small problem of dissolving, particularly in 'soft' water which can be relatively acidic on the pH scale. Copper is less easily dissolved by 'soft' water (than lead) and is regarded as a much safer material than lead, because of the toxicity of the soluble lead salts and the less than 'small amounts' that could be involved.

Maybe 'crap' is too strong a word as many of the trace elements are useful. I keep Marine Reef fish and need to strip everything out of the water and put the necesary's in to keep the balance as perfect as I can. The parameters of tap water can even change even on a day to day basis.

Copper maybe safer than lead, but bees are invertibrates and copper is extremely toxic to invertibrates.

http://www.wellwise.ca/WellWise/wellwise.nsf/vwLinkedFiles/RuralWellOwnerParameterList?OpenDocument

This American recomendation suggests up to 1.0ppm is an acceptable level of copper in drinking water.
I add 0.7 ppm of copper to quarenteen tanks which kills everything but the fish.

Bees also evaporate the water which would make any contaminates stronger.

My test kits only work with salt water, but water coming out of different households taps would be different anyway...
 

David P 

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In addition some sugars comercially available have sulphites added apparently to make them less attractive to ants.
 

Somerford 

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Hi Pete.

Beekeepers have been feeding suger, either via syrup or fondant for many years with all sorts of extras (terramycin, fumidil etc, some of which are illegal, some not) . The general concensus used to be that cane sugar v beet sugar, one gave the bees dysentry in the winter the other didn't. Manley (beefarmer) always said he didn't mind what type of sugar, so you'd be safe with either.

On the refining front, well sugar has always been refined in one form or another, but the process for beet doesn't affect it in any way.

I didn't know about the neonicotinoid systemic pesticides they apparently coat the seed in, but on balance I don't think it has been proven they can pass into sugar (as humans eat it after all)

On the water front, you could use rainwater if you are concerned about the tap water in North wilts.....but considering I probably drink from the same Water Main as yourself (no.1 !!!) either we're safe, or we're so mad we just haven't realised yet !

PS. just got another nuc today !!
 

oliver90owner 

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Water

The water supply comes to your house via alkathene, polyethylene, iron pipes. But not copper.

The rising main should feed at least one cold water tap. The leg of standing water in that pipe from the rising main to that tap can easily be run off and then there will be no possible chance of any contamination with copper from the water staying in that pipe for lessthan just a few seconds as it passes through for use. End of story.

Leave the water sitting in the pipes for days on end might dissolve a little of the pipe.

With lead pipes, that was the problem. That standing water could be used for drinking and appreciable amounts of lead could dissolve even overnight, especially with soft water supplies.

Sugar

When I am convinced of the levels of pesticides in the product, I will make a decision as to whether I use it or not. Without that information, I will not. That information is not in the public domain as far as I know. Fit for human consumption does not necessarily mean it is fit for bee consumption. Thalidomide was the cure for morning sickness, CFCs were superb refrigerants, parts of dead cows made super animal feedstuff, DDT was a wonder cure for all insect problems. The list can go on. Neonicotinoids in infinitessimal amounts are designed to kill insects That includes our honey bees.

Regards, RAB
 

Hivemaker. 

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This subject of any neonicotinoid residues was the subject of a long thread on the bbka forum,Gavin, for the benefit of all concerned about any residues contacted the Brittish sugar group,there were no residues in the sugar and it is safe for bee's.
As for the water contamination,to be quite honest i think they are more likely to pick up worse things drinking the water from tractor ruts,and drains and old car tyres and all the other filthy places bee's like to collect water from.Nosema being one of them.
 
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JCBrum 

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Don't worry Finman, your pills are only placebos. (made of sugar) ;)
 

Finman 

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Hivemaker is right.
One farmer told that my bees are on his liquid manure container like hair hat and sucking the juice. Pure manure.

From nature bees search for dirty water poools to get drinking water.
 
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gavin 

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Thanks Hivemaker. I did indeed. Phil Chandler was raising a campaign to get people to avoid beet sugar as the sown seed is coated in imidacloprid, but British Sugar do routinely test their product and hadn't detected any at a threshold of 1 ppb if I remember right.

On copper, anyone remember Happy Hive Salts? Advertised for a while for Varroa treatment, as bees are less sensitive than Varroa. From the point of view of safe, healthy honey it seemed like a really bad idea, but people were being sold copper gluconate to be used at 1g per litre in feed.

G.
 

Finman 

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Which is more unhealthy, a good English breakfast or tea spoon of honey.

( don't mention how much you kiss your dogs daily)

In Scandinavian countries people use about 40 kg sugar a year per person.
In Finland we use 1/2 kg honey per person.
 
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Brosville 

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Following someone asking a similar question on another board led me to do some Googling, as a result of which I will no longer have beet sugar in the house, either for human or bee consumption.
In short, the list of "allowed chemical contaminants" is utterly colossal*, and sugar beet growing uses some of the highest inputs of "icides" of any crops - GM beet is also now allowed into the food chain. Should anyone want a dose of the willies, the extraction process is pretty petrifying too......
As for pronouncements from "Sugar groups", it's very definitely a case of "well, they would say that wouldn't they?" - bit like asking the BNP if they're racist.......
*My understanding (as borne out by research at Penn State) is that the "cocktail effect" can increase the potential poisoning strength of things like neonicotinoids as much as a thousand-fold, and that to try to work out potential problems theoretically for any more than around three substances would keep all the world's supercomputers overheating for years......
Is cane sugar any better? - I honestly don't know, but I believe far less chemicals are used, so make the effort to seek it out.......
 

Brosville 

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Molasses are a bit of an irrelevance - my understanding is that it is foolish to try to feed "raw" sugar of any sort, the sensible choice lying between cane and beet, both refined white sugars - of the two, beet would appear to be pretty filthy stuff in comparison to the equivalent cane sugar...
 

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