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Author Topic: How long does sugar syrup last??  (Read 4858 times)
annette
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« on: August 20, 2008, 01:31:30 PM »

OK I know this has probably been mentioned before, but can't find any previous posts about it.

I placed a mixture of 2:1 sugar syrup into ziplock baggies and placed them into my refrigerator about 2 weeks ago. (Not freezer, but refrigerator). Now I want to start feeding this syrup to the bees. Is it still good? I did taste it and it tasted fine, but really want to make sure it will not harm the bees.

I need to feed tonight, so please answer soon.

Thanks
Annette
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NWIN Beekeeper
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2008, 01:39:29 PM »

[I did taste it...]
[Is it still good? ]

Should you maybe have asked first and tasted second?

Its funny when people do.... and then ask.  rolleyes

Sugar will quickly turn to arsnic and poison anything that eats it... OK, seriously...

Its fine, and probably would have been fine if you left it out (unfridged) for a few months.
Its once mold starts to grow that you *might* have a problem with the bees consuming.


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annette
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2008, 02:01:09 PM »

Boy, you scared me there for a moment. Ha Ha

Thanks for the reply
Annette
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eri
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2008, 02:53:45 PM »

I've found the thicker the syrup, the longer it lasts. My partner uses a 1:4 mix in the hummingbird feeders, and it molds in just a couple of days when it is hot outside.
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2008, 03:08:33 PM »

I thought your question was going to be about how long did it take the bees to consume it all! I can't get them to make it last more than a few hours! If I don't find a sugar wholesaler I am going to have to get another job!

I have read a few things about keeping sugar syrup and as others have already mentioned, I think yours will be fine, too.

Are you feeding a well established hive 2:1? I am feeding 1:1 on a first year hive to get them to finish drawing out comb. Would you suggest I up that to 2:1 as we move into fall or is it dependent on their stores and flow?

Thanks.

- Jess

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JP
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2008, 03:26:17 PM »

Annette, I've kept it in the frig for several weeks, no problems.




...JP
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2008, 03:48:04 PM »

Quote from: Jess
I can't get them to make it last more than a few hours!
Are you using an entrance feeder or a hive top feeder? I used hive top feeders this spring, but switched to entrance feeders during the summer - mostly because I can monitor them a lot easier and refill (or refrain from refilling) them without cracking the hives.

Anyway... the girls were draining a mason jar per day per each hive, and the sugar cost was bugging me - especially when there were things blooming but the bees seemed to be focusing on the syrup instead. Low hanging fruit, I assume. So I just made some lids with fewer holes and smaller holes. Now the jars last 3 or 4 days, and it seems like they're foraging more. After all - I feel like I should feed them to supplement their natural diet, not replace it.

Quote from: Jess
Would you suggest I up that to 2:1 as we move into fall...
I'm new at this too, but the impression I've gotten is that most people move to 2:1 in the fall to allow the bees to more efficiently store food supplies for the winter.
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« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2008, 06:13:45 PM »

Thanks Card. I am using a hive top feeder but I think part of the issue may have been that I was letting them feed from above and below. I have reduced their access a bit so I hope they will make this latest batch last!

I have to do a "full" inspection soon anyway to see where we are so maybe I will hold off feeding again for the next week or so until I see what is going on in there. If they need it now, I will switch to 2:1.

I agree about the supplementing - I have heard lots of folks say the bees won't take it if they don't need it - and I had that experience this spring - first with a frame feeder and then with a jar on top. In both cases the syrup sat on the hive for over a week without being touched. I didn't feed anymore after that. But now I am not so sure that they wouldn't keep using the syrup because, as you say, low hanging fruit and all.

I am only feeding now because I am panicked about getting them through the first winter. But judging from today's orientation flights, they are probably doing just fine (despite me...).

I seem to remember a post where you had found a great source of cheap sugar - was that you? And if so - remind me again what it was?

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bmacior
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« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2008, 07:01:14 PM »

> "I have heard lots of folks say the bees won't take it if they don't need it"

my first year hive never quit taking it, so I quit giving it about a month ago.  It never had a chance to go moldy.

Barb
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annette
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2008, 10:26:00 PM »

My bees hardly have any stores and I want them to start packing it away for fall/winter. They are actually starting their shutdown now. Both hives are totally filled with capped brood and hardly any open brood. Queen is stopping her laying for now. That is why I fed them 2:1. I will feed slowly now. Just a ziplock baggie every week. I want to see what comes out of the fall honey flow we usually have here. Come October, then I will feed, feed, feed until November.

Annette
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