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Author Topic: Some new thinking regarding feeding sugar water or  (Read 4220 times)
KeyBeeper
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« on: October 28, 2009, 02:42:52 PM »

corn syrup.

The Complete Article is here:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=to-bee-or-not-to-bee-09-08-21

with the important except pasted below...

Berenbaum: Honeybees, everybody thinks eats honey and pollen, but in reality they feed their grub something called bee bread, which is a mixture of honey and pollen packed into cells, and it cures or ages. And the suspicion is that maybe some of these symbiotic microbes are contributing to the sort of processing of bee bread. So one of the findings from this yet unpublished work that was discussed in Florida at the meeting that Reed attended, Apiary Inspectors of America, was a high-fructose corn syrup which is the preferred diet for overwintering bees because it's much cheaper than feeding them honey or sugar; apparently it wipes out these potentially symbiotic microbes. One thing that Reed found that's in his dissertation, when you feed honeybees honey, they upregulate their cytochrome p450 monooxygenases, these enzymes that process among other things plant chemicals, when you give them sugar, it's nothing. So when you feed them on a sugar diet they are not turning on their chemical processing equipment, so this is something that nobody expected. I mean people aren't used to thinking of honeybees as broad generalists because they'll feed on hundreds of different flowers, but in a way they are dietary super specialists because they feed on this narrow range—they feed on pollen, honey and bee bread. And granted the components can come from all different places, but feeding on nectar or honey derived from nectars [is a] very different proposition from feeding on other types of plant tissue because plants load up their vulnerable tissues with chemicals, you know, natural pesticides, so that insects won't eat them, but they want insects to eat nectar; that's the whole point [of nectar].
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Homicidal Mimes: The silent killers
Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 06:22:03 PM »

It is known that bee bread is fermented and that the fermentation is needed to make it digestible.  It is also known that not only does sugar syrup change the pH of the hive and disrupt this, but that terramycin will kill the bacteria involved, wholesale.  Keep in mind, also, that Fumidil kills fungi and yeast and yeast is also involved in this change.  Also, keep in mind that Formic acid kills these beneficial microbes and that recently the beekeeping industry has changed from terramycin to Tylosin.  The bacteria in the hives have not had a chance to build up resistance to the Tylosin.

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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
KeyBeeper
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 08:13:23 PM »

Michael - do you fee your bee's - and if so - what do you feed them?


It is known that bee bread is fermented and that the fermentation is needed to make it digestible.  It is also known that not only does sugar syrup change the pH of the hive and disrupt this, but that terramycin will kill the bacteria involved, wholesale. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2009, 04:37:45 PM »

>Michael - do you fee your bee's

I feed them when they don't have enough stores for winter, but I try to LEAVE them enough stores for winter.

> - and if so - what do you feed them?

Sugar Syrup and dry sugar.  I do add 7 grams of ascorbic acid to five gallons of syrup.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
KeyBeeper
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2009, 09:57:48 AM »

What role does the ascorbic acid play?  Does it address some of the issues noted in my original post, or does it provide some type of preservative or nutritional benefit?  That's Vitamin C - right?
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deknow
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2009, 11:14:18 AM »

these statements are astounding...the role of microbes in beebread production has been well established.  a recent 3 part series in abj as well as ramona's talks around the country since last november, and in http://BeeUntoOthers.com/NoBeeIsAnIsland.pdf (May 2008), all cite research done by martha gilliam at the tucson bee lab starting in the  70's.

i will try to post ramona's talk from last november (nebraska state beepeers conference) in the next few days.

comparing caterpillars to bee larvae would be more apt..eating machines with varroa sucking on one end while the grub eats. (read the transcript of her talk).

although larvae are fed some beebread directly, most of their food (and all of their early life food) is "brood food", "bee milk", "worker jelly", a custom (for each larvae) formulation of the same components of royal jelly.  young adult worker (nurse) bees produce this in their hypophrangial glands and mandibular glands.  this is high protein food (the larvae grows 150 times in 6 days, and only poops once at the very end), and the protein is provided by the nurse bees eating the bee bread.  pollen starts to ferment as the forager moistens it to pack into her pollen baskets.

michael bush has been talking for years about how most bee disease organisms (including afb) grow better at the ph of sugar than the ph of honey.

in sweden, tobias and alajandra have found novel (not known to exist anywhere else on the planet) microbes in the honey stomach that are used to produce honey (and some evidence to indicate that they help combat afb).  these microbes don't survive the winter if the bees are fed sugar.

Quote
but feeding on nectar or honey derived from nectars [is a] very different proposition from feeding on other types of plant tissue because plants load up their vulnerable tissues with chemicals, you know, natural pesticides, so that insects won't eat them, but they want insects to eat nectar; that's the whole point [of nectar].


this is an important observation that she makes here.  it would be earth shattering if it were not simply another example of how nature's order works best when one does as little as possible to "improve" it.

deknow
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2009, 11:26:31 AM »

>What role does the ascorbic acid play?

I started doing it to make the syrup keep better and seven grams to five gallons seemed to stop the black mold and rapid yeast fermentation.  It will still spoil, but not as fast.  It may also HELP, with the pH issue, although I don't believe that pH is the ONLY issue with sugar syrup, it merely a simple one to grasp and one that obviously has implications on microbes of all kinds in the hive.

>  Does it address some of the issues noted in my original post, or does it provide some type of preservative or nutritional benefit?

Preservation.

> That's Vitamin C - right?

Yes.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
deknow
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« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2009, 11:34:29 AM »

also, wrt beebread:

there are 4 major stages to the fermentation, starting with yeasts and molds and bacteria, and ending with lactic acid bacteria.  some "recipies" for artificial beebread includes adding lactic acid to prevent the molds and yeasts (which are more "rotting" than "preserving") and promote the formation of lactic acid bacteria.  gilliam noted that such pollen was unappitizing to the bees.  clearly, this progression, and the metabolites of each stage are important parts of the whole.  sugar, organic acids, or hfcs will undoubtedly interfere.

think of a good fermented pickle.  it has acid because of the fermentation.  now consider the canned "vinegar pickle".  it is cooked in vinegar for the same taste...but it's not the same, and it's not as good.

deknow
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2009, 05:51:12 PM »

>think of a good fermented pickle.

Do you think very many people in the US have ever tasted one?  I only have because of my German grand parents in law who would ferment sauerkraut and pickles.  I've never seen one for sale.
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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"Everything works if you let it."--Rick Nielsen
luvin honey
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2009, 12:18:50 AM »

Exactly. We try to replicate, but not being bees how can we even come close?

I just entered the world of natural fermentation with kombucha and sauerkraut this year. The fermented kraut is only a distant relative of the canned (probiotics killed) variety I used to buy.

I betcha the fake beebread stuff is not even close to what the bees make. I'm feeling a bit sick about all the feeding I did this first year and really looking forward to having (fingers crossed) some survivors and more honey for overwintering next year!

Thanks for this very educational post!
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The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.
---Emily Dickinson
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