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Author Topic: I don't want to coddle, but I don't want them to starve, either  (Read 5672 times)
CountryBee
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« Reply #40 on: August 16, 2010, 06:32:39 AM »

Instead of fondant can I make a box inside to hold 25 pounds of dry sugar and will the bees use it?  It is cheaper over here than fondant for me.  Thanks Smiley
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BjornBee
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« Reply #41 on: August 16, 2010, 06:44:26 AM »

Instead of fondant can I make a box inside to hold 25 pounds of dry sugar and will the bees use it?  It is cheaper over here than fondant for me.  Thanks Smiley

If they are starving in winter they will.

Don't leave any dead air space or empty boxes on top of the hives. If bees are starving, they will be up against the inner cover anyways conserving heat and energy.

I know one guy who makes sugar blocks by filling a box with sugar and pouring some syrup on top and letting it soak in. That way he has a solid block instead of loose sugar. But I have found that the sugar after a day or two sucks up enough moisture that it hardens anyways.

I like to take the inner cover off, and place a paper towel in the middle of the frames. Then put back the inner cover. Then place a 2 or 3 inch spacer. Pour the sugar in the inner cover hole. It will not pour into the frames due to the paper towel. Then continue to pour the amount you want filling in the space above the inner cover. The bees will eat through the paper towel, but after the sugar has hardened. Then they will continue eating up through the inner cover into the empty space as needed. This area is warmer and above the cluster so they have good warmth to feed there.

I hope that makes sense.
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« Reply #42 on: August 16, 2010, 08:40:45 AM »

At the end of the day, I find the mentioning of the dangers of feeding, about as senseless as it comes. Makes you wonder what agendas, what motivations, what egos, or anything else is at play.

hrmmm...what i see in "traditional beekeeping" is the concept that feeding of sugar is a fallback (or "emergency") measure to be used _if_ the bees don't have enough to get them through the winter (or spring...or mid summer dearth).  somehow, this seems to go hand and hand with practices that ensure that the bees need to be fed virtually every year (if not every year).  if an emergency measure is necessary _most of the time_ (and can we agree that most "traditional beekeepers" feed most of their bees at sometime during most years?) it is not an emergency measure...it's a management practice.

philosophically and practically, i think bees should be managed in such a way that they do not require feeding.  it is not always possible to do so (as the weather may not cooperate)...but what i see advocated in bee schools and in most of the standard books is a management style that almost always assures the need for feeding.

in another thread you discussed your own feeding of HFCS (which is a synthetically produced monosaccharide)...yet on your website you claim:
Quote
Our hives are maintained by natural management practices and we do not use chemicals in our hives. Healthier chemical free hives means chemical free honey.

...so, you seem to be aware that consumers buying honey are looking for a "natural product produced naturally".  even if you are going to distinguish between "naturally occurring substances" and "chemicals", HFCS would end up on the chemical side by any measure (being produced in a lab and not occurring in nature).

by no reasonable definition is a hive that is fed HFCS a "chemical free hive"...but this is what you sell your customers?  this is promoting natural beekeeping?

you've generated a laundry list of complaints about what other beekeepers promote...but once again have attempted to lump them all together by generalizations.  it would be more helpful to new beekeepers to be more specific about who is claiming what.  it would make for a more productive discussion if you were specific about who and what you don't agree with.  what you are doing is the equivialent of me lumping all beekeepers who treat into one camp, and then charging them all with being the worst offender (shop towel treatments, hfcs in the honey just below detection levels, diluting the honey with rice syrup, etc)...not a productive discussion given that there are many excellent and conscientious beekeepers who use some treatments (and feeds) responsibly.

since the only thing that you have pinpointed here is sugar feeding, i'll point out the following (that has been posted here and on other forums several times...i'd be surprised if you have not read these facts before):

1.  sugar and/or hfcs have a very different pH than honey and/or nectar.  many disease organisms (including afb) are more active at the pH of sugar than they are at the pH of honey (ie, if you were going to culture these things in a lab you would be using sugar not honey).

2.  the novel microbial culture in the honey stomach (which is a fairly new discovery with the advent of dna sequencing) has been observed to completely die off over the winter when fed sucrose.

3.  the routine feeding of colonies prevents us from selecting those colonies that can collect/store more honey and/or are more frugal with their stores.

Quote
The over-feeding of bees resembles, in its result, the noxious influences under wich too many children of the rich are reared.  Pampered and fed to the full, how often does their wealth prove only a legacy of withering curses, as, bankrupt in purse and character, they prematurely sink to dishonorable graves.
L.L. Langstroth

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BjornBee
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« Reply #43 on: August 16, 2010, 09:09:49 AM »

 lau

Good one deknow.

My marketing off my website that you refer too is targeted on keeping treatments and beekeeper applied chemicals out of the hive. Yes, if you want, HFCS is a chemical. not one that I use while supers are on the hive.

As for your point, lets broaden it to include your hives also. NO hive is chemical free. No bees go out and collect nectar without chemicals being brought back to the hive. I know, I have tested my own hives. If you want to harp of HFCS, then I hope you are also open and honest with your clients as to YOUR chemicals in YOUR hive.

My marketing, is directed at the fact that consumers want the best chemical free product they can get. Knowing that I use NO beekeeper applied chemicals, and have the testing to back that up, and feed only in winter when sugar or HFCS is use only for emergency conditions, and does not end up in the honey produced later in the season...I see this as nitpicking at best.

I walk the walk and talk the talk. I wonder if you do. Have you had your hives and honey tested? Do you openly and honestly state to your customers that NO honey is pure? Cause unless you do, then you have no right to point fingers. I'd like to see your honey label, your website, and hear what you suggest to people. This conversation was about scare tactics and advice given to beekeepers in regards to having them worry about minuscule amount of some chemical in feed, possible necessary to keep hives alive.

As for the detrimental facts you state about HFCS or sugar, I never said you should feed it all year long. I am referencing, and have done so a couple times now, the idea that beekeepers are questioning feeding bees sugar or hfcs in attempts to keep their hives alive. a fact that you youself said is a necessity sometimes. Of course honey is best and contains beneficial microbs, etc. But that is all lost is you have no honey to feed, and then also get bombarded with the idea that feeding is a no-no, resulting in dead hives.

Are you going to suggest that the millions of hives saved by feeding HFCS and sugar would of been better of served by not feeding, because the very food that saved the hives, lack what honey has? Sounds like nonsense to me.

I think that ranks right up there with the idea that it is better to euthanize animals rather than have them be enslaved by pet owners who provide the basics for survival, such as a warm house and enough food to exist, but lack giving animals the freedom to roam as some suggest they should do as in the wild.

Sorry guys. I'm telling new beekeepers to feed, feed, feed. And if that means HFCS and sugar, then so be it. Even if that means the food source has less of the nutrients than honey. HFCS and sugar is safe and has been used for years to stop starvation. It's better than dead hives.

And please don't quote over egotistical old dead guys who seem to be idolized by the mere fact they were envious of others, and was judgemental in his views of others. I find that appalling and sickening. Having the nomenclature or title of "Rev." while making statements like that is why many are sickened of religion. Just another self-rightious denigrating person in my book.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 09:50:26 AM by BjornBee » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: August 16, 2010, 10:18:17 AM »

My marketing off my website that you refer too is targeted on keeping treatments and beekeeper applied chemicals out of the hive. Yes, if you want, HFCS is a chemical. not one that I use while supers are on the hive.
ok, so we agree that HFCS is a chemical...even if one is going to call refined sugar "natural" or "not a chemical".

so your claim that "...we do not use chemicals in our hives" is an outright misstatement of fact directed at your honey customers.

Quote
As for your point, lets broaden it to include your hives also. NO hive is chemical free. No bees go out and collect nectar without chemicals being brought back to the hive. I know, I have tested my own hives. If you want to harp of HFCS, then I hope you are also open and honest with your clients as to YOUR chemicals in YOUR hive.
i'm very open and honest to customers, curious non-customers, new beekeepers, health food store owners, market managers, and anyone else that will listen.
this is precisely why we chose the term "treatment free" not "chemical free".  our environment is polluted with chemicals...some of them are very bad to be around.  the highest levels of pesticides found in beehives are beekeeper applied.  we don't use treatments at all, and we barely use foundation (and yes, even foundationless comb has chemicals in it).
from talking to the labs, it seems that HFCS isn't detectable under 5%.
remember, 5% is 50,000ppm?

Quote
My marketing, is directed at the fact that consumers want the best chemical free product they can get. Knowing that I use NO beekeeper applied chemicals, and have the testing to back that up, and feed only in winter when sugar or HFCS is use only for emergency conditions, and does not end up in the honey produced later in the season...I see this as nitpicking at best.
testing for contamination (especially if undetectable if under 5%) says nothing about what chemicals you use.  saying that you feed HFCS says that you do use chemicals...and stating on your website that "we do not use chemicals in our hives" is clearly untrure.

Quote
I walk the walk and talk the talk.
yes, you walk the walk of putting HFCS in your hives (which you agree is a chemical), and talk the talk that you do not use chemcials in your hives......it takes reading a beekeeping forum (and pointing out the contradictions of your claims) to drag out of you that you do not use chemicals on your hives while there are honey supers on.
sorry, that is not walking the walk and talking the talk.

Quote
I wonder if you do. Have you had your hives and honey tested?
i have not...but i'm also not worried about the things i put in the hive getting into the honey...because nothing (but bees, wood glue, the occasional piece of string to tie in a comb, and occassional honey) gets put in our hives.  we are planning on some tests, but are saving the requisite $$$ to test a number of our own wax and honey along with some that are treated so that we have more than one data point to look at....as we agree that things will be found in any hive (treated or not), we need to look at the levels found in treated vs untreated hives.

Quote
Do you openly and honestly state to your customers that NO honey is pure?
yes, i do.

Quote
Cause unless you do, then you have no right to point fingers.
the finger pointing has been coming from your end of cyberspace....as i said before, it would be more helpful for all this discussion to be more specific as to who has been claiming what that you don't agree with.

Quote
I'd like to see your honey label, your website, and hear what you suggest to people.
are you implying that i'm not upfront enough with my thoughts and recommendations?  i'm pretty vocal here, on beesource, on bee-l, and on the organic list....and i took the time to write a book on the very subject you are asking about (it's probably the least expensive beekeeping book available).  if you want to know what i suggest to people, you can find out for free online (on any of the forums), or you can pay Amazon the $10 to buy our book.  i'm not sure how i could do more to express my opinions and to make my suggestions more available.

Quote
This conversation was about scare tactics and advice given to beekeepers in regards to having them worry about minuscule amount of some chemical in feed, possible necessary to keep hives alive.
...and again, you have lumped all negative comments about artifical feeds together as "scare tactics" without citing a single one.

Quote
As for the detrimental facts you state about HFCS or sugar, I never said you should feed it all year long. I am referencing, and have done so a couple times now, the idea that beekeepers are questioning feeding bees sugar or hfcs in attempts to keep their hives alive.
...and none of the "detrimental facts" that i listed are dependent on feeding year round.  most commercial (and smart non-commercial) beekeepers i know are well aware that there is nothing to be gained by trying to keep all colonies alive all winter by feeding...this is why they combine colonies, or even blow the bees out of weak colonies in early winter (before the bees die and mold in the comb).  the desire to keep all of one's bees alive is a large part of the bad breeding that has led to poor state of genetics.  culling is important, and not being able to feed oneself is a good reason to be culled (in many if not most circumstances).

Quote
...a fact that you youself said is a necessity sometimes. Of course honey is best and contains beneficial microbs, etc. But that is all lost is you have no honey to feed, and then also get bombarded with the idea that feeding is a no-no, resulting in dead hives.
traditional beekeeping bombards the new beekeeper with methods that lead to necessary feeding virtually every year.  if feeding was stressed as an emergency measure for unusual circumstances we would be having a very different discussion.

Quote
Are you going to suggest that the millions of hives saved by feeding HFCS and sugar would of been better of served by not feeding, because the very food that saved the hives, lack what honey has? Sounds like nonsense to me.
those fed HFCS after their sufficent honey stores were removed (or management prevented them from producing these stores in the first place) would have been better off with their honey.  as for those that were unable to provide for themselves should not be propped up....their own survival is irrelevant, the population as a whole would be better off without them.

Quote
I think that ranks right up there with the idea that it is better to euthanize animals rather than have them by enslaved by pet owners who provide the basics for survival, such as a warm house and enough food to exist, but lack giving animals the freedom to roam as some suggest they should do as in the wild.
this is a false analogy.  bees are not puppies, and they need to be able to fend for themselves....feral bees that fend for themselves are the best resource for beekeepers as a resivour of genetics.  for most dog owners, the genetics of feral dogs don't offer much that they want...with bees it's different.

Quote
Sorry guys. I'm telling new beekeepers to feed, feed, feed. And if that means HFCS and sugar, then so be it. Even if that means the food source has less of the nutrients than honey. HFCS and sugar is safe and has been used for years to stop starvation. It's better than dead hives.
there is much more wrong with sugar/hfcs than lacking some nutrients...but i've already pointed that you, and you don't seem to want to hear it.

Quote
And please don't quote over egotistical old dead guys who seem to be idolized by the mere fact they were envious of others, and was judgemental in his views of others. I find that appalling and sickening.
given that the vast majority of your hives are virtually unchanged from langstroths design, he must have had something on the ball!

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BjornBee
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« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2010, 04:00:29 PM »

deknow,
Well goodie for you.

So what's next, a crusade against getting "pure honey" off everyone's label? a mass marketing campaign announcing to the public that no honey out there is pure.

Sorry I don't buy it. I use "Pure Honey" and will continue to do so. I also smoke, yet have not taken the time to test for contaminates.

What you do, is point fingers and call out others, yet have not provided any testing yourself as to what is in your honey. Sorry, go sell a book to another sap down the road.

Your spewing crap in my opinion that new beekeepers should, for the goodness of the overall pool of bees, allow their bees to die, rather than use the hyped up and demonized sugar or HFCS.

I did mention specifics, and actual questions posed to me, but you fail to acknowledge them. But as you say, and blind as I see it, you are deaf to the needs of many beekeepers out there trying to keep bees alive for the sake of promoting an agenda or selling some book. once again conveniently mentioned.

On about every other point you responded, you failed to see the point given. But as I tell all new beekeepers, be cautious of agendas, and self promoting advice, which seems at odds in doing the right thing. I'll help those beekeepers not standing by and as you say suggesting "Let your bees die, because this will help the pool of bees and will better your line down the road. I can not even believe that is the advice you are suggesting.

But at least it is in the clear. And I say thank you. This is the exact stuff I was mentioning in throwing all this out there to begin with. Now I know where it is coming from. Next time a new beekeeper comes to me and asks what to do after hearing it is a no-no to feed bees, and it is better to let hives die, then I can at least suggest who not to speak too again, or whose book to stay away from.   grin

There you go beekeepers. a beekeeper suggesting that for the sake of the gene pool, you should not feed sugar or HFCS (Boogie man gonna get you!) and let your bees die. Then next year, I can only assume you should go rip some more out of a tree and get some of them good genetics.  lau

I wonder if it ever occurred to you that suggesting bees who could not make it themselves, perhaps had nothing to do with genetics. maybe it was location, something to which I think should not be seen as a negative for any person keeping bees anywhere they want to. Or maybe an odd year comes round, and although ferals may die off in higher numbers, which is the case with every species on the planet occasionally, if not for some feed, why would the beekeeper not do what was needed to fend off this situation. Your whole "If they can't do it themselves, then let them die", is about as bad advice I can think of for new beekeepers. Many factors could play into a situation of a light hive. And to sit back, and even write books about it, suggesting that this is the game plan suggested, is questionable at best.
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« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2010, 04:15:56 PM »

>Your confusion may seem warranted since I never said a single person said that....

You said:

>>There seems to be some kind of movement in regards to not doing anything with bees...
>>I agree. If the conversation was between you and me.
>>But the conversations at hand include many others, perhaps in the thousands. Many of which come here and get sucked into the hype about this way or that way. So to debate, expose, and call it out, regardless of which side you are on, lets others know both sides of an issue and maybe even expands their minds a bit.

Which seems to imply you have concerns about the direction of this particular conversation.  I'm having trouble seeing the cause of the concern.


Are you getting this MB.

Do you understand what I'm talking about now? I said there was a movement in not doing anything for your bees, even to the point of having them DIE, and this is going right up that alley.   Wink

I applaud you in mentioning feeding on your website for when needed and for a purpose, instead of watching bees die needlessly.  Wink
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CountryBee
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« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2010, 05:19:57 PM »

Thank you BjornBee for helping me learn how to help my honey bees from dieing this winter because they were totally robbed of all of their honey.  Thanks again for everything, Country Smiley
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« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2010, 05:31:18 PM »

 cheer

Thank you.
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« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2010, 08:33:37 PM »

 cheer
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bigbearomaha
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« Reply #50 on: August 16, 2010, 08:57:28 PM »

 lau

y'all crack me up.

standing up there on your soapbox, telling others to get off theirs.

 I think I'll just keep on giving the same advice to beekeepers  I always have, which is to learn as much as you can about bee biology and bee behavior, read all you can about the different methods, hives and ideas by the soap-boxers out there and decide for yourself, based on your own local experiences what works best for you and the bees in your hives.

None of us are ever going to agree on every detail and no other beekeeper can force you to do things their way.

and remember, you're the one keeping those bees in your hives, not the ones who are trying to talk the loudest.

enjoy the bees.

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« Reply #51 on: August 17, 2010, 12:35:36 AM »

...it's interesting that it's only in your "paraphrasing" of my words that i seem to say the things you seem to claim i'm saying.  either i'm doing a terrible job expressing myself and you are simply clarifying (for me and all the readers here) what i'm _actually_ saying.....or you are making a straw man to poke with a stick.

i entered this thread because of your statement:
Quote
At the end of the day, I find the mentioning of the dangers of feeding, about as senseless as it comes.


there certainly are "dangers" in feeding (i think "downsides" would be a more accurate word here)...and why one would think that it's not worth mentioning these downsides in a discussion of feeding is beyond me.

somewhere i believe you asked for a study that supports the idea that there are harms that come from feeding sugar or HFCS?
http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/17780/1/IND44075806.pdf  (diana sammataro is one of the authors of this study).

i can't reiterate my position on emergency feeding any better than natalie does.  if emergency feeding is require most of the time, it is not an emergency measure.  as for calling honey "pure", i'd see a big difference between environmental contaminants brought into the hive by the bees from the general envrionment and feeding bees hfcs with supers on and mixing the resulting "honey" with actual honey (or rice syrup) until it is only 4.5% HFCS and undetectable....you may well (and probably do) produce honey that is free of HFCS adultration....but using HFCS over the winter and claiming that one does not use chemicals in their hives is lying to your customers (or, as you so poetically put it, "spewing crap").

deknow

In Dean and Ramona's book they state that you should always feed package bees as they have alot of work to do before they can become self sufficient.
While they advocate chemical free beekeeping and not regularly artifically feeding as a routine, they don't have anything against feeding a colony who is going to starve over the winter.
At the conference Sam Comfort said the same thing, I believe his words were " I don't think there are any speakers here tonight that wouldn't condone feeding some sugar syrup if a hive were facing starvation.
Don't confuse chemical free beekeeping with not helping your bees make it through the winter.
I don't know anyone who has started a package and not fed.

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« Reply #52 on: August 17, 2010, 06:05:18 AM »

Hey, Hey, Hey! Don't back up and change course. You said plain and clear, after I mentioned that there is some big confusion out there with new beekeepers in regards to letting bees die, the following.....


"those fed HFCS after their sufficient honey stores were removed (or management prevented them from producing these stores in the first place) would have been better off with their honey.  as for those that were unable to provide for themselves should not be propped up....their own survival is irrelevant, the population as a whole would be better off without them.

I started this conversation due to an increase in beekeepers approaching me and emailing about their confusion in being told or suggested that all feeding is bad for bees. That using HFCS or sugar was not to be used....period! They came to this conclusion after reading or listening to someone, somewhere. And that point was the same point you made in the above statement.

As for suggesting my product is not pure, call it what you like. Your ignorance of my operation is your problem. You assume that I put fondant or HFCS on all my hives. Except for my home yard which is nothing but nucs, and the few light pollination units coming out of late field crop pollination, nothing in my operation even gets fed. Last year, I took off 550 pounds of honey. This year I took off 0 pounds. My use of sugar or fondant is limited to very few of my hives that need it and is not used for 95% of my operation. I normally take honey off remote yards that are permanently placed, and too far to to worry about feeding. I take off excess only when warranted. But like I said, I smoke also. And I don't rationalize such as you when it comes to what the bees put in a hive compared to a beekeeper doing it. I sell honey with labels that conveniently come already printed with "pure" on them. I also market my honey, with my own paid for chemical analysis of what is in honey. Although I can not keep my bees from collecting contaminates, I do sell to customers that understand better than you, that my honey has not been adulterated or treated with chemicals such as mite treatments, etc. By calling me a liar, is calling all beekeepers liars. Not too many had their honey analyzed for chemicals. And everyone lets the consumer assume they are getting a pure product when they are not. And I highly doubt you have done your own analysis or stand and market your honey by claims you make in suggesting you tell your customers that you have a product not pure, even though you know it is not.

You ignorantly assume that my commenting (or passing of good solid advice) on feeding some hives in my operation to fend off starvation, can easily be carried over to the honey I sell, and is badly mistaken.

As for your use of quotes from those being labeled "chemical free" I wonder if you stand up and call them hypocrites also. You yourself said sugar was a "chemical" and yet somehow use their comments to back up your now new and convenient position of "Feed when you need too". And yet surprisingly instead of calling them just another beekeeper at best, you apply some title (or reiterate) such as "Advocates of chemical free"....is hypocrisy at best!

Deknow, you seemingly have no problem bringing up conversation of past forums, and now going to my website and copying material to use against me, while making incorrect and broad assumptions of the honey I sell. I once asked for you to state who you were that I must of crossed with on another forum. I also asked for your name and website. You seemingly have me at a disadvantage, you openly knowing me, but me not knowing you. Not that this disadvantage isn't easily overcome. So come on, fess up and let everyone know who you are so you can be scrutinized and picked over like you do to others.  Myself.....I'm the same on every forum. I have nothing to hide. And everyone can easily find out who I am, where I live, what's on my website. Heck come on down, your all invited to spend an afternoon.
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