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Author Topic: Cane or beet sugar for bees?  (Read 3237 times)

Offline JMN

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Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« on: November 08, 2007, 07:18:45 PM »
I am trying to figure out if I should use cane or beet sugar syrup (or corn syrup) for my bees?  Is there a difference as far as the bees concerned? Are there any web sites out there that discuss the subject? I couldn't find any information on the subject.  (Well, maybe I wasn't looking in the right places).  Any information would be appreciated.
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 07:34:10 PM »
>I am trying to figure out if I should use cane or beet sugar syrup (or corn syrup) for my bees?  Is there a difference as far as the bees concerned?

Not one whit.

> Are there any web sites out there that discuss the subject? I couldn't find any information on the subject.  (Well, maybe I wasn't looking in the right places).  Any information would be appreciated.

That's because there really isn't a discussion.  A few people have HEARD that beet sugar is bad.  I've really never fed anything else.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#kindofsugar

From this USDA study on feeding bees:
http://www.beesource.com/pov/usda/abjfeb1977.htm
"Refined beet and cane sugar are pure sucrose and, of course, are safe and nutritionally equivalent. Unrefined sugars have poisoned bees. The toxic factors in molasses and in brown sugars have not been identified. Bailey (1966) found that semi-refined cane sugar was harmless but that semi-refined beet sugar decreased the life of bees. So, impurities in his unrefined beet sugar must be toxic. Crude beet sugar may be toxic because of pectins or galactosides in it (Barker, 1976a). Bailey also found that 8-year-old honey had dysenteric effects much like poisonous sugars: an absorption peak matching hydroxymethyl furfural correlated with toxicity of old honey and of acid-hydrolyzed syrups. Recent tests (Jachimowicz and El Sherbiny 1975; Barker 197Gb) show that hydroxymethyl furfural can be toxic when fed in glucose plus fructose at dosages found in some samples of acid-hydrolyzed or heated syrup and old or heated honey."
Michael Bush
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Offline JMN

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2007, 10:39:00 AM »
Thank you Michael for the information.  You are the greatest.
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Offline TwT

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2007, 09:40:55 AM »
I only use pure cane sugar, thats what we mostly have, haven't seen any beet sugar around here...
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Online JP

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2007, 10:46:35 AM »
JMN, we just about all use cane sugar on this site. Some big outfits use HFC syrup but you have to be careful it doesn't come from genetically altered corn or gmo, this can be bad for the bees. Go with the regular white table sugar.
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Offline reinbeau

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2007, 01:42:46 PM »
HFC's are no good for us, why would you feed it to bees (other than the unscrupulous use of turning HFC's into 'honey'  :roll:) ?

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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2007, 03:40:20 PM »
In Western Nebraska, where I used to live, it's sacrilege to use Cane sugar.  In Eastern Nebraska, all the store brand sugar seems to be beet sugar.  Only C & H is cane sugar and it's always more expensive and no better.
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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Online JP

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2007, 05:52:51 PM »
I don't ever recall seeing beet sugar anywhere in my entire life, but of course sugar cane is very popular in the south. What does beet sugar taste like? What color, white?
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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2007, 06:44:41 PM »
>I don't ever recall seeing beet sugar anywhere in my entire life, but of course sugar cane is very popular in the south.

Try looking at the generic sugar or the store brand sugar.  It's quite often beet.

> What does beet sugar taste like?

Sugar.

> What color, white?

White.

http://www.bushfarms.com/images/SugarFeeding4.jpg
The yellow tint is where I sprayed it with water to make it clump.

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Offline Brian D. Bray

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2007, 10:18:43 PM »
In Western Nebraska, where I used to live, it's sacrilege to use Cane sugar.  In Eastern Nebraska, all the store brand sugar seems to be beet sugar.  Only C & H is cane sugar and it's always more expensive and no better.


Used to be that C & H (California & Hawaii) was cane sugar and U & I (Utah & Idaho) was beet sugar.
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Offline JMN

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2007, 10:03:13 PM »
reinbeau, it seems to me that all the big guys use "HFC syrup" if they need to feed. I think they do this because they can pump it directly in to the feeders.  No heating the water, ect.  So it can't be all bad, can it!?

I did check the price of corn syrup in the store and find it much more expensive, compared to sugar, probably because they sell a lot more sugar than corn syrup.  So I'm sticking with the sugar.

Thanks to all for your input.
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Offline Beer

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2007, 10:38:20 PM »
Newbie here..........I was told in class not to use cane sugar. The way  found beet sugar was by not buying sugar labeled "cane sugar". I assumed that if it did not say "cane sugar" that it was beet sugar.


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Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2007, 07:27:30 AM »
>I assumed that if it did not say "cane sugar" that it was beet sugar.

Probably true.
Michael Bush
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Offline reinbeau

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2007, 07:57:12 AM »
reinbeau, it seems to me that all the big guys use "HFC syrup" if they need to feed. I think they do this because they can pump it directly in to the feeders.  No heating the water, ect.  So it can't be all bad, can it!?
Of course it can.  Just because something is convenient doesn't mean it's good for you. 

Quote
I did check the price of corn syrup in the store and find it much more expensive, compared to sugar, probably because they sell a lot more sugar than corn syrup.  So I'm sticking with the sugar.
Good idea!  :)

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Offline BAStallard

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2007, 02:53:45 PM »
I have been using cane sugar, the bees seem to like it.

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Cane or beet sugar for bees?
« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2007, 07:55:26 PM »
They like cane or beet sugar just fine.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfeeding.htm#kindofsugar
Michael Bush
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My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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