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Author Topic: Bees gathering sugar maple sap?  (Read 3303 times)
twb
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« on: March 17, 2008, 03:51:35 PM »

My beekeeper friend said he saw freshly gathered liquid in the combs on his first hive inspection a couple of days ago.  We have nothing blooming that I know of right now, but the sap is running like crazy.  Is it possible they are gathering and storing sap leaking from broken branches?
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annette
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2008, 06:04:00 PM »

Probably nectar that hasn't been capped over yet. I do not believe that bees gather sap, but maybe this is something new for me too.

Annette
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CTbeeman
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« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2008, 06:58:25 PM »

Of course bees gather sap what do you think propolis is grin
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« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2008, 09:27:20 PM »

I know what propolis is and I know it is made from sap. The propolis is always sticky glue like. Do they also place the sap in the cells in liquid form???

Annette
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« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2008, 09:31:51 PM »

I know what propolis is and I know it is made from sap. The propolis is always sticky glue like. Do they also place the sap in the cells in liquid form???

Annette

Let's see, they collect nectar and put that in cells while refining it into honey, they collect pollen and put that into cells often mixing it with honey to make bee bread, they collect water and put that in cells for when they need it---I see a pattern here.
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« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2008, 09:35:15 PM »

Brian,

Stop making fun of me. I honestly did not know about sap being placed into cells.  Duh!!!!

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CTbeeman
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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2008, 10:19:11 PM »

The sap from the sugar, red, black, and silver maple are watered down maple syrup that we eat.  grin
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2008, 07:09:22 AM »

Hmmm. A bit of dancing around the question - but no real answer to be had.

I think TWB and Annette asked a great question that deserves a straight answer. Do bees collect and store Maple sap as they would collect and store nectar?

Maple sap is probably a lot closer to nectar than propolis. Maple syrup is just maple sap that has been boiled down to remove the water. I assume the water could also be removed by evaporation.

Also - Maple syrup is bad for the bees because of the carmalization that occures during the boiling process. From what I have heard, this carmalization will make the bees sick.

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bassman1977
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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2008, 09:01:56 AM »

Quote
Stop making fun of me. I honestly did not know about sap being placed into cells.  Duh!!!!

Me either.  I thought they just used it to patch up their hives.   embarassed
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2008, 09:11:41 AM »

There are specialized foragers that gather sap in order to make propolis. Other bees help these unload their gifts to the hive. Brian is pulling your chain. Bees don't put propolis in their cells.

Maple syrup is the product of boiling the crap out of gobs of sap. Forget the numbers exaclty but I know it takes a whole lot of sap to make syrup, its something almost incomprehensible. I would ponder a guess to say that bees would use it for propolis and that's about it.

...JP
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2008, 11:06:43 AM »

OK - a little more information on Maple sap and syrup, if anyone cares...

Maple sap is harvested from many different Maple trees, primarily the Sugar Maple
Sap from the Sugar Maple will be between 2% - 6% sugar (mainly sucrose)
40 gallons of sap need to be boiled down to produce 1 gallon of syrup  shocked
Maple syrup contains around 66% sugar

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KONASDAD
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2008, 11:12:02 AM »

My bees also have some nectar that is fresh and uncapped. I was told that silver and red maples produce pollen and nectar. Both are abundant here and beginning to bloom and leaf out this week. Dont know if this is accurate, but they are obviously getting surplus nectar from somewhere.
I dont think sap is the answer.
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2008, 11:42:13 AM »

What about Honeydew? It is a modified tree sap.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2008, 12:58:29 PM »

I thought honey dew was produced by aphids.
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Dick Allen
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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2008, 01:10:23 PM »

Maples do produce pollen and nectar. If you’ve been around maples it’s likely you’ve noticed the “flowers” from the maples that have those “wings” on each side lying on the ground. In spring the willows also bloom and bees will work those for pollen, too.  As has been pointed out maple sap has a small amount of sugar in it, but it’s pretty diluted and I’m inclined to think bees would be more apt to go for actual nectar over diluted sap.

With that said, back on the farm in upstate New York where I grew up, we had a few bee hives and produced a small amount of maple syrup this time of year. On nice days we’d see a few, although not a large number, of bees landing on our sap filters, etc. When we were evaporating, some bees would hover around the steam that came up from the evaporator. At the hives, many bees could be seen going back and forth. More than we’d see at our maple operation. So, what were they gathering? I’d imagine most bees are gathering actual nectar from certain species of trees, including maple.

(Edit: Maple syrup is produced simply by boiling off excess liquid. When the water is being evaporated the syrup is not actually "carmelized" as some people maintain. Finished maple syrup contains a fair amount of minerals including potassium that probably would not be good for bees.)
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JB
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2008, 01:20:01 PM »

Honeydew is produced by insects of the Hemiptera order (those with sap sucking mouthparts e.g. aphids, scale insects etc.) They suck sap from the host plant and exude a sweet sticky nectar which is essentially a slightly modified sap. This is then collected by honeybees as a nectar source and is "ripened" into honey.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 03:34:42 PM by JB » Logged
BMAC
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2008, 01:25:33 PM »

I thought honey dew was produced by aphids.

Honey dew is produced my aphids.  However it is sap that has not been digested.

I watched honey bees last spring suck on sap oozing out of an Oak tree.  Not many.  Just 4 or 5 everytime I looked at the oozing tree.

I think it is possible they are sucking down the maple sap.  Is nectar really any more or less sweet than maple sap?  Maybe a little bit less sugar, but this time of year they dont really have much else to forage for do they?
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twb
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2008, 04:07:05 PM »

Wow, with all we humans know about bees it is interesting that there is still more to learn.  I like that about beekeeping.

I just figured someone out there would know for sure.  I will keep listening.  Thanks for your thoughts so far.
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reinbeau
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2008, 07:08:40 PM »

Maples do produce pollen and nectar. If you’ve been around maples it’s likely you’ve noticed the “flowers” from the maples that have those “wings” on each side lying on the ground.
A little correction.  Those wings are the seed pods - well, actually, they're the delivery system for the seeds.  The flowers are inconspicuous, but, for example, a red maple is named as such because the flowers are red.  They're blooming right now around here! 
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talkingamoeba
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2008, 11:18:21 AM »

q
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