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rayt 

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Nearly everything I read Bee wise mentions using sugar syrup and fondant.
Is there an alternative to using processed sugar? Reason I ask is that my partner is a ulcerative colitis sufferer and HAS to avoid processed sugar. So I would ideally like to not use any sugar with the bees but I would still like to get some honey.
 

pargyle 

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Nearly everything I read Bee wise mentions using sugar syrup and fondant.
Is there an alternative to using processed sugar? Reason I ask is that my partner is a ulcerative colitis sufferer and HAS to avoid processed sugar. So I would ideally like to not use any sugar with the bees but I would still like to get some honey.
Hmmm .... you don't NEED to feed bees - their natural food is honey which they make from nectar and pollen. If you are worried that sugar will get into the honey your bees will accumulate then you are feeding them at the wrong time or too much ...

If you leave them with enough of their own honey to survive over the winter and you don't feed them in the Spring then any honey in the hive collected over the season will certainly be 'sugar free' (Unless you live next to a Jam Factory and they find an 'unnatural' source of forage !!

,
 

Midland Beek 

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As long as you don't feed them honey. Honey on the shelves at your local supermarket, or anywhere else for that matter, can contain American Foulbrood disease spores. And you don't want that in your apiary.
 

weebee 

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I'm no doctor so please get this checked out by someone that is suitably qualified.

Ambrosia or similar have not been mentioned in detail in the thread thus far so I add it for completeness. It differs from sugar and fondant as it consists of inverted sugars (water, glucose, fructose and sucrose). These may or may not cause problems to your partners condition.

In your position I would ask if this could be the case, select a quality brand and get an a detailed breakdown of the contents and present this to someone suitably qualified. If the answer is positive and you find yourself in a position that you need to feed your bees, it could be a solution.

But I end the reply with the same cautionary note as I started, please get someone suitably qualified involved before you proceed with any course of action in this regard.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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I'm no doctor so please get this checked out by someone that is suitably qualified.

Ambrosia or similar have not been mentioned in detail in the thread thus far so I add it for completeness. It differs from sugar and fondant as it consists of inverted sugars (water, glucose, fructose and sucrose). These may or may not cause problems to your partners condition.

In your position I would ask if this could be the case, select a quality brand and get an a detailed breakdown of the contents and present this to someone suitably qualified. If the answer is positive and you find yourself in a position that you need to feed your bees, it could be a solution.

But I end the reply with the same cautionary note as I started, please get someone suitably qualified involved before you proceed with any course of action in this regard.
and in the same thread if Ambrosia or similar isn't a problem then neither should 'processed' sugar as all ambrosia is is inverted sugar. any sugar the bees are fed, they will invert it themselves before storing.
So my advice would be to have a chat with your wife's dietician before starting to worry. :)
 

rayt 

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Drifting off topic but conventional dietary advice is not much use to her. We've made informed choices to exclude all processed foods and adopted a low carb high fat diet that has worked wonders. (Anyone interested May find the works of Prof Tim Noakes and Gary Taubes useful).

That's why feeding bees refined white sugar doesn't sit comfortably with us.
 

Dishmop 

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Nearly everything I read Bee wise mentions using sugar syrup and fondant.
Is there an alternative to using processed sugar? Reason I ask is that my partner is a ulcerative colitis sufferer and HAS to avoid processed sugar. So I would ideally like to not use any sugar with the bees but I would still like to get some honey.
Surely the answer is that you wouldnt be extracting so called "honey" made from sugar syrup to eat anyway?
 

itma 

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Drifting off topic but conventional dietary advice is not much use to her. We've made informed choices to exclude all processed foods and adopted a low carb high fat diet that has worked wonders. (Anyone interested May find the works of Prof Tim Noakes and Gary Taubes useful).

That's why feeding bees refined white sugar doesn't sit comfortably with us.
Refined white sugar DOES fit comfortably with the bees, however.
Unrefined sugars do not - they give the bees the runs, spreading disease within the colony.

Bees 'fuel' is specifically sugars, which are carbs. They get them naturally from nectars, and, to provide winter fuel, de-water and (enzymatically) 'part-digest' the sugars to a storable form that we call honey.
Honey is 16 to 20% water, and the rest is almost entirely fructose and glucose. Any sucrose in the original nectar is almost entirely split into fructose and glucose.
Bees need other nutrients, like protein and some oils/fats (which they get from pollen), and which are principally required for building new bees.
However, their fuel is sugars.

The need to feed bees sugars is to compensate for 'stealing' so much honey from them that otherwise (without feeding) they wouldn't have enough stored 'fuel' to get through the winter.
Of course, at other times, the beekeeper might have to feed to make up for natural shortages due to bad weather or extreme drought, which otherwise would threaten the survival of the colony.
However, in all cases, it is regarded as bad beekeeping (verging on fraud) for any sugars fed to the bees to end up in the honey crop.

As stated above, commercial bee syrups are available which are principally fructose and glucose in water. These are excellent bee feeds, taken and stored more quickly than sucrose syrup, but somewhat more expensive (though much cheaper than honey).
It is, in composition, rather like an unflavoured artificial honey.

Again, as stated above but deserving re-statement in the strongest terms, whatever you do, DO NOT EVER feed ANY bought honey to any bees. Honey can carry bee diseases - utterly harmless to humans, but lethal to British bees. It would be a dis-service not a kindness to feed any bought honey to honeybees. Please don't even contemplate doing that.


If your beekeeping leaves the bees plenty of their own honey, then you should rarely if ever need to give supplementary feed.
However, inflicting an "unconventional diet" upon bees will not lead to healthier bees. Instead, it is likely to lead to something rather worse.
 

pargyle 

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Drifting off topic but conventional dietary advice is not much use to her. We've made informed choices to exclude all processed foods and adopted a low carb high fat diet that has worked wonders. (Anyone interested May find the works of Prof Tim Noakes and Gary Taubes useful).

That's why feeding bees refined white sugar doesn't sit comfortably with us.
So ... I'm a little confused ?

Is your concern that the honey your bees will produce (and which you could consume) may contain sugar if you feed them ?

or:

Is it a matter of principle that you and your partner, as people avoiding refined white sugar, feel you should deny your bees the same ?
 

Dishmop 

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No offence but I'm guessing here that rayt has read those magic words...."feeding bees" somewhere, and assumes that bees have to be fed daily as per cat and dog.
 

rayt 

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No offence but I'm guessing here that rayt has read those magic words...."feeding bees" somewhere, and assumes that bees have to be fed daily as per cat and dog.
None taken.
I am looking forward to taking them for walkies though.
 

Dishmop 

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None taken.
I am looking forward to taking them for walkies though.
Keep away from mud..

Lot of feet to wipe.
 

dpearce4 

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Having read between the lines of ops posts I think what he means is it has nothing to do with the honey containing the sugar more that he has ethical problems feeding them processed sugar at times when they need it and wonders if there is something else he can feed at those times after he has taken his honey crop, so that he can get the said honey crop and not leave it all to the bees like advocated on some other forums.

Does that sound about right rayt?
 

pargyle 

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Having read between the lines of ops posts I think what he means is it has nothing to do with the honey containing the sugar more that he has ethical problems feeding them processed sugar at times when they need it and wonders if there is something else he can feed at those times after he has taken his honey crop, so that he can get the said honey crop and not leave it all to the bees like advocated on some other forums.

Does that sound about right rayt?
I think you may well be right ... but is there anything that could be more ethical than leaving a large proportion of any surplus honey for the bees in Autumn and then harvesting any left over in Spring ?
 

dpearce4 

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yes if you want that honey to sell. honey is worth more than sugar per kg.
 

pargyle 

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yes if you want that honey to sell. honey is worth more than sugar per kg.
Yes ... and I accept that as a point of view and a methodology ... BUT - there's a dichotomy if you are talking about ethics ...

If the OP's ethics deny him the opportunity to feed them sugar then the same ethics should be applied in allowing them to feed upon the stores that they have made ... he would still, usually, get a surplus with good husbandry although certainly not as much as if their winter stores were substituted with sugar .... can't have your cake and eat it ?
 

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rayt 

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Having read between the lines of ops posts I think what he means is it has nothing to do with the honey containing the sugar more that he has ethical problems feeding them processed sugar at times when they need it and wonders if there is something else he can feed at those times after he has taken his honey crop, so that he can get the said honey crop and not leave it all to the bees like advocated on some other forums.

Does that sound about right rayt?
Spot on!

Yes ... and I accept that as a point of view and a methodology ... BUT - there's a dichotomy if you are talking about ethics ...

If the OP's ethics deny him the opportunity to feed them sugar then the same ethics should be applied in allowing them to feed upon the stores that they have made ... he would still, usually, get a surplus with good husbandry although certainly not as much as if their winter stores were substituted with sugar .... can't have your cake and eat it ?
So be it. My reluctance to use sugar overrides my desire for a surplus of honey. Of course if the colony seems to be struggling I would of course supply syrup.

Thanks for the advice guys.
 

pargyle 

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Spot on!

So be it. My reluctance to use sugar overrides my desire for a surplus of honey. Of course if the colony seems to be struggling I would of course supply syrup.

Thanks for the advice guys.
I only fed my swarm when I got them last June (to help them build out my foundationless frames) and a few litres in September when there was a gap between the end of the summer flow and the Ivy blooming - the hive weight was dropping and it was just a 'tide them over' feed. Left them with all their honey but should have a few frames left to harvest when I open them up tomorrow.

It can work without compromising your position on refined sugar - good luck with it.
 

dpearce4 

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I only fed my swarm when I got them last June (to help them build out my foundationless frames) and a few litres in September when there was a gap between the end of the summer flow and the Ivy blooming - the hive weight was dropping and it was just a 'tide them over' feed. Left them with all their honey but should have a few frames left to harvest when I open them up tomorrow.

It can work without compromising your position on refined sugar - good luck with it.
some of what you remove now will have syrup that you fed back in September, that is why the tradition is to remove the crop before feeding.
 

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