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Author Topic: For those who think treating with sugar is "Non-Chemical"  (Read 30915 times)
Robo
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« on: October 08, 2008, 10:28:50 AM »

I've long given up trying to convince those that insist sugar is not a chemical when they claim to be chemical-free but treat with powdered sugar.  My argument was more by definition and semantics, than that sugar was potentially harmful.   I guess it was just based on my personal frustration that people can not differentiate from good (organic acids) and bad (apistan, checkmite) chemicals, but rather lump everything (except powdered sugar Wink ) into the chemical bucket and all chemicals are bad.

But here is a real potential issue for those treating with sugar that I think you should be aware of.

Here is portion of an email that those treating with sugar might find interesting.  I have not done any investigating to validate anything claimed, nor am I trying to cause alarm.  Use your own judgment.

Quote
Dear Beekeeper,

I recently circulated a warning about possible Imidacloprid contamination in sugar beet, which many beekeepers feed to their bees. Since this has caused some discussion, I thought you may like to hear some facts that I discovered while checking the original story.

1. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid pesticide (i.e. similar in chemical structure to nicotine) now routinely used as a seed dressing on sugar beet - for up to two years in the UK, considerably longer in the USA and elsewhere.

2. Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide, meaning that it permeates every cell of the plant, even if only used as a seed dressing. That means it WILL be present in the sugar, as processing does not affect it.

3. Imidacloprid is a powerful neurotoxin, lethal to bees in doses as small as five parts per billion, and has serious sub-lethal effects - including disorientation - at much lower doses. To put that in context, if you took ONE THOUSAND METRIC TONNES of 1:1 syrup made with beet sugar, and stirred in just ONE TEASPOONFUL of Imidacloprid, you would have a mixture capable of killing bees. Please read that last sentence again and think about it.

4. Imidacloprid is persistent in plant cells and in the soil (half-life in soil under aerobic conditions of up to 997 days), where it kills ALL insects - including beneficial ones - and it accumulates, season on season, until it reaches a 'stable' level, assumed by some authorities to be something like 10 parts per billion. It is also likely to contaminate ground water.

5. The US 'Environmental Protection Agency' has approved permitted levels of Imidacloprid in sugar beet of 0.05 parts per million - that is at least TEN TIMES the lethal dose for bees.

Do you still think it is safe to feed sugar beet syrup to your bees?



NOTES

1. The facts about Imidacloprid in this message have been checked by a microbiologist. Please read the attached report for more information about neonicotinoids.

2. You can read more about Imidacloprid here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imidacloprid

3. You can read the EPA's document on Imidacloprid here: http://www.epa.gov/EPA-PEST/1998/September/Day-18/p25085.htm




I did not receive the attached report referenced in NOTE 1.
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2008, 10:58:22 AM »

My .02 is anything really 100% organic anymore? Stuffs in our water, air, food, feed, our homes our cars, our cats our dogs.

All we can do is our best in an imperfect world.


...JP
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 10:22:26 AM »

Rob, so much food for thought in this crazy world of ours.  That was a very interesting read.  I don't do powdered sugar treatments.  I perform oxalic acid vapourizing, twice a year, that's it!!!  That is the only chemicals that go into my colonies....period.  Sugar dusting is an ongoing introduction of "chemical" to colonies  huh shocked  have a great day, Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 04:56:53 PM »

Cindi, why do you consider powder sugar dusting chemical? huh  Is not p sugar finely ground sugar?
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 05:24:00 PM »

I think some say sugar is a chemical because it is C6 H12 O6 (fructose)
They take it very literally
then again water is a chemical also H2O
So who knows rolleyes Chemicals are in everybodies hives one way or the other there is no way to tell where your bees may go and get into

To each his, or her own

I dust w/ C6 H12 O6 therefore I guess I have chemicals in my hives, hopefully with out pesticides.

Keith
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 06:55:21 PM »

I thought sugar was sucrose, which is what nectar mostly is.
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2008, 09:16:47 PM »

I've long given up trying to convince those that insist sugar is not a chemical when they claim to be chemical-free but treat with powdered sugar.  My argument was more by definition and semantics, than that sugar was potentially harmful.   I guess it was just based on my personal frustration that people can not differentiate from good (organic acids) and bad (apistan, checkmite) chemicals, but rather lump everything (except powdered sugar Wink ) into the chemical bucket and all chemicals are bad.

But here is a real potential issue for those treating with sugar that I think you should be aware of.

Here is portion of an email that those treating with sugar might find interesting.  I have not done any investigating to validate anything claimed, nor am I trying to cause alarm.  Use your own judgment.

Quote
Dear Beekeeper,

I recently circulated a warning about possible Imidacloprid contamination in sugar beet, which many beekeepers feed to their bees. Since this has caused some discussion, I thought you may like to hear some facts that I discovered while checking the original story.

1. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid pesticide (i.e. similar in chemical structure to nicotine) now routinely used as a seed dressing on sugar beet - for up to two years in the UK, considerably longer in the USA and elsewhere.

2. Imidacloprid is a systemic insecticide, meaning that it permeates every cell of the plant, even if only used as a seed dressing. That means it WILL be present in the sugar, as processing does not affect it.

3. Imidacloprid is a powerful neurotoxin, lethal to bees in doses as small as five parts per billion, and has serious sub-lethal effects - including disorientation - at much lower doses. To put that in context, if you took ONE THOUSAND METRIC TONNES of 1:1 syrup made with beet sugar, and stirred in just ONE TEASPOONFUL of Imidacloprid, you would have a mixture capable of killing bees. Please read that last sentence again and think about it.

4. Imidacloprid is persistent in plant cells and in the soil (half-life in soil under aerobic conditions of up to 997 days), where it kills ALL insects - including beneficial ones - and it accumulates, season on season, until it reaches a 'stable' level, assumed by some authorities to be something like 10 parts per billion. It is also likely to contaminate ground water.

5. The US 'Environmental Protection Agency' has approved permitted levels of Imidacloprid in sugar beet of 0.05 parts per million - that is at least TEN TIMES the lethal dose for bees.

Do you still think it is safe to feed sugar beet syrup to your bees?



NOTES

1. The facts about Imidacloprid in this message have been checked by a microbiologist. Please read the attached report for more information about neonicotinoids.

2. You can read more about Imidacloprid here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imidacloprid

3. You can read the EPA's document on Imidacloprid here: http://www.epa.gov/EPA-PEST/1998/September/Day-18/p25085.htm




I did not receive the attached report referenced in NOTE 1.

I think this is what Rob was referring too.And his point was,I think.when does one chemical (C6 H12 O6 (fructose)) become okay and another not be okay? With the contamination of the sugar beets maybe you are inadvertently dumping another chemical carried by the sugar.there seems to be so little pure things these days. Even the chemical H2O is contaminated in the pools by [Ne] 3s2 3p5(Chlorine) which means if the bees drag this back to the hive,you are technically no longer chemical free.  It is very hard to truly label honey organic if you can not certify that every thing a bee gathers is "Organic" by definition.
Such technicalities we must face every day! rolleyes
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2008, 07:10:05 AM »

shouldn't we be mindful of "intent" here? if i willingly and knowingly pour treatments in to my hive or spray herbicides on my farm "just in case" - then there is some negligence on my part (or at least a lack of responsibility).

but as others have pointed out, how can anyone be sure of anything being contaminant-free anymore? sugar is as good an example as any... there MIGHT be a CHANCE it has a contaminant. there MIGHT be problems with the processing... it MIGHT be imported from a foreign country by a diesel-belching freighter and grown with the benefit of subwage labor and terrible processing. but fundamentally, sugar is a 'natural chemical.' it all comes down to how conscientious we are when buying and using the product.

most people here seem very thoughtful in their use of any treatments - bravo! we can only be examples to others. but we all need to find our own 'balance point' between idealist and pragmatist. we deal with this all the time on our farm, and at times it is a source of great pride, and at other times is seems like an excercise in futility. but at least we are trying!

good luck with however you care for your bees, and keep an open mind!
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« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2008, 08:32:15 AM »

sugar is a 'natural chemical.'

Charles,  I agreed whole heartedly  with what you said.  Organic acids such as oxalic, formic, lactic, and acetic are also 'natural chemicals'.  My comment was more towards the hypocrisy of those who lump some "natural chemicals", like the organic acids, in with the synthetic miticides as  "chemicals" in a derogatory fashion.  I'm not sure if it is just being naive and the word "acid" makes it bad or what.  All I know is I stand a better chance of selling ice to an eskimo that convincing some of them grin

We could all be happy if people wouldn't generically use "chemical" in a derogatory fashion,  but instead preceed it with 'hard or soft', 'synthetic', etc.  Because as someone correctly stated EVERYTHING is a chemical.

My intent of the note was not to start the whole good chemical / bad chemical debate again,  but to make people aware of the possible issues involved with white sugar.  Even if it is not a problem now,  this should surely open one's eyes that it WILL be a problem in the future if we keep progressing the way we are.
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« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2008, 10:19:09 AM »

All these above comments to the post are self-explanatory.  People slam formic acid though, for an example.  But as mentioned, formic acid is found in many forms of vegetation, we cannot prevent "chemical's from coming into our hives.  Sugar is a chemical, as is water, and so on and so on.  And..continue on with care of your hives, find that comfort zone and be comfortable there.  There has been incredible debate on this forum about the good/bad chemical deals.  Have the most wonderful, awesome day, Cindi
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« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2008, 12:43:48 PM »

What I'm understanding then is everything is a chemical, which I agree everything can be broken down to its compounds.  Under that definition nectar that the bees gather is chemical.  So when one talks about keeping chemicals out of the hive, to me that means man made ones that would be harmful to the bees, and possibily man made medications.  One could argue that processed table sugar is chemical as it is highly refined.  What I don't understand is why it is okay to feed sugar syrup but bad to do powdered sugar treatments as powdered sugar is table sugar that has been ground to powder.  Or are those who are against powdered sugar not feeding their bees sugar syrup?
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« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2008, 02:37:57 PM »

What I don't understand is why it is okay to feed sugar syrup but bad to do powdered sugar treatments as powdered sugar is table sugar that has been ground to powder.  Or are those who are against powdered sugar not feeding their bees sugar syrup?

I don't think there is anyone advocating feeding sugar syrup but against powder sugar treating, per se.  Well maybe except me  Undecided, Finsky and possibly Cindi.  But not because of the sugar itself, but more for the method.  I do feed sugar when necessary,  but I personally don't like powder sugar treating because I feel it is too much stress on the bees, especially when doing it every two weeks like some suggest.  My personal preference is once a year oxalic acid treatment, only when needed. 

There are those who are against anything being put into the hive, who would be opposed to powdered sugar and feeding sugar syrup.
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« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2008, 04:31:24 PM »

This is pretty fascinating and my own (limited) knowledge of imidacloprid leads me to believe it is certainly possible that this will be the case. 

I just "invested" in some organic powdered sugar at Trader Joe's just to be extra "sanitary," if you will.

I am more concerned about the fact that this indicates regular table sugar will also be affected - it is also made by the genetically engineered beets now - so feeding may be at issue. What else could you feed them besides their own honey?

- Jess



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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2008, 05:45:36 PM »

I believe the what we are all looking for is the best way to treat mites without leaving residuals in the combs and killing few bees. many chemicals stay in the hive and contain things known to affect the nervous system of man(camophous). We just have to watch what were doing that may have long term bad effects.Powdered sugar is probably not one of those things.Small cell is safe.Sugar syrup is probably safe.Better than a dead colony. Finsky always treated with oxalic acid in mid winter when very little brood was present . He lost a few bees,but had very few mite problems with this method.
His argument for the most effective method for his treatment was that dead colonies produce zero honey.Who can argue that point.
 People saw him as crazy at times,but his whole philosophy was to keep a healthy colony to collect nectar in the very short time he had near the arctic circle.Hope we find the perfect treatment,but until then we have to use what works for us!
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2008, 07:54:20 PM »

Quote
All I know is I stand a better chance of selling ice to an eskimo that convincing some of them

Best bet is to package it as an Igloo repair kit.

IMHO: Using natural occuring substances is still "natural" beekeeping in that we are not creating toxins to fight other toxins or parasites.
To me, "Chemical" means man made by manipulation of compounds.  Sugar is from a rendering. Albit different than bees render honey.  Cider vinegar is a rendered product whereas Cholorox is manufactured.  Rendering is a natural process, manufacturing is not.
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2008, 08:04:48 PM »

sugar is a 'natural chemical.'



My intent of the note was not to start the whole good chemical / bad chemical debate again,  but to make people aware of the possible issues involved with white sugar.  Even if it is not a problem now,  this should surely open one's eyes that it WILL be a problem in the future if we keep progressing the way we are.
Well put!!
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2008, 11:03:02 PM »

sugar is a 'natural chemical.'



My intent of the note was not to start the whole good chemical / bad chemical debate again,  but to make people aware of the possible issues involved with white sugar.  Even if it is not a problem now,  this should surely open one's eyes that it WILL be a problem in the future if we keep progressing the way we are.
Well put!!
I agree.
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« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2008, 10:12:08 PM »

Something has gone a little bit array here.  I feel that if one wants to use powdered sugar treatments, go for it, if one wants to use formic or oxalic acid, go for it, if you want to use other chemicals go for it.  Do what you feel works.

I do not believe that any chemicals such as coumophus (spelling) or fluvalinate should ever be used in the colonies, and there are a couple more, if I am not mistaken.   There can be long-term residue left in the colony and can also be found in wax and honey.  These type of chemicals are not to be used 45 days before the anticipated honeyflow.  Now that says something in itself, right there.  These, in my eyes, are the "bad chemicals". 

I only have to "bother" my colonies twice per year, if needed, once in the fall and once in the spring, and that is not with oxalic acid trickling, which can kill brood if it is present, but using the vapourizing method of the oxalic acid crystals, which can be done when brood is present, and DOES NOT kill brood.  Oxalic acid sugar syrup trickling can be very effective too.  I also stand behind the use of formic acid treatments within the colony.  I also have a little faith in the small cell factor, which evidently can be good for mite control, but that is not for me either.

Whatever methods you believe are good, go for it.  Powdered sugar treatments is far too time consuming for me to bother with.  I think the time frame is treating very frequently, and I just could not be bothered.  And yes, Rob was correct, I am an advocate for oxalic and formic acid treatments.  If there are high mite counts, something must be done, whatever you feel you have to do, otherwise face colony collapse, period....no ifs, ands or butts, the colony will collapse, if not that year, the following year.  I have been there with the loss of 10 colonies to mites, never going there again.  Just wanted to clear the air a little bit.  I feed sugar syrup to my bees, and there is nothing wrong in my eyes, to do that powdered sugar treatments either.  My part of this discussion is closed.  Have a wonderful and awesome day, Cindi
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« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2008, 09:51:32 PM »

report from Minnesota this week found corn syrup fed to honeybees contained eight parts per billion of neonicotinoids.


Found this on Apinews
http://www.injuryboard.com/national-news/Nicotine-Based-Pesticide-May-Explain-Bee-Colony-Collapse.aspx?googleid=249590
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« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2008, 11:20:48 PM »

report from Minnesota this week found corn syrup fed to honeybees contained eight parts per billion of neonicotinoids.


Found this on Apinews
http://www.injuryboard.com/national-news/Nicotine-Based-Pesticide-May-Explain-Bee-Colony-Collapse.aspx?googleid=249590


Makes good sense to me, most commercial grown corn in the USA is GMO.  Neonicotinoids are in a majority GMO plants.
This also coincides with the Commercial Beekeepers who prefer to feed HFC syrup due to its low cost as experiencing the largest CCD losses.
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