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Author Topic: bees eating honey for winter leads to dysentery ?  (Read 2750 times)
mushmushi
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« on: September 07, 2010, 04:35:00 PM »


Hello.

I live in a northern location (Quebec, Canada) and we get pretty bad winter for a few months (the bees do not go out).

Every beekeeper / magazine / book advises us against letting bees eat their own fall honey because it causes dysentery.

Do you guys and gals know of any such studies ?  Personal anecdotes ?

I will feed my hives with syrup but if the bees will gather some honey and store it in the brood chamber (as is the case with the smaller hives) I will not extract it.
So I wonder if I will run into dysentery issues with them.

I have to say that many people here overwinter their hives in special basements but I plan to let them outside for a second year (perhaps wrap them). Perhaps if I let them outside they will be able to go out on sunny winter days and poop?

Cheers
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AllenF
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 06:51:37 PM »

Its the solids in the honey that makes them go poop.   Pollen and such.  But down here in the south we don't worry much about that.  I know a lot of beeks want their bees only on the honey, not on syrup.   Wrap them up to hold some heat.  Make sure they can get air.  And I have seen bee poop in the snow. 
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rdy-b
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010, 09:48:37 PM »

aslong as there is no moisture problems -and the honey dose not ferment-let them eat it-RDY-B
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Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010, 11:46:48 PM »

Hmm, jumping in here. I wonder why anyone would discourage the bees from consuming the very own stores that they have worked so hard to bring into their homes.  We were taught in all our teachings, that the necctar that the bees gather, in turn adding all the wonderful things to make these nectars turning into that golden liquid, so known as honey, also providing it is cured properly to the low state of moisture that proper honey should be, is the best of the best for the bees to winter over on.  Much superior to any kind of sugar syrup feeding that man can provide.  Nature knows what it is doing.  I would be very curious as to why you are hearing/reading these statements.  My goal is always to allow the bees enough of their own stores (honey) to overwinter on, not sugar syrup.  Not to say at all that I don't begin to feed my bees in September, in the   event that there is not a fall flow, with sugar syrup.  To allow the bees to backfill the broodnest, so there is ample supplies.  Just my two cents here, I am sure that others will chime in.  I once upon a time lived in southwestern British Columbia, now living in the souther interior, a dry climate, hot in summer, cold in winter, we have been lving here since the middle of June of this year.  I will always endeavour to allow the bees to overwinter on lots of honey, what they know is best for their uses.  Let the bees be bees.  Providing it has been properly cured -- paramount.   the use of sugar syrup is good, as a secondary measure -- I give additional feeding, just to ensure the chamber/s is/are full of food for them.  All bees on earth can get dysentry, if there is too much moisture in their hive.  Plain and simple.  Imperative that the bees may have time to reduce nectar/sugar syrup to a low moisture content for their wintertime food.  Perhaps that is why you have been hearing that the fall flows are not so good for the bees, perhaps they do not have the time to evaporate the fall nectars before the clustering time comes about, where they cannot evapourate, but remain in their cluster state, to keep warm and to move around to keep the cluster in contact with the necessary food that is not moisture-overridden.  Beautiful days, love our life, stay safe -- warm, as Old Man Winter is surely luring around that corner.  Health.  Cindi
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tecumseh
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2010, 07:12:55 AM »

snip...
We were taught in all our teachings, that the necctar that the bees gather, in turn adding all the wonderful things to make these nectars turning into that golden liquid, so known as honey, also providing it is cured properly to the low state of moisture that proper honey should be, is the best of the best for the bees to winter over on.

tecumseh:
humm... perhaps some folks have more to learn?

I have no problem in over wintering here with just about anything acceptable for feed.  Study after study in the lab should suggest to you that the cleaner and purer the feed input the less problems you are liable to encounter.  Straight sucrose always out performs everything including honey... high fructose corn syrup always performs worst in these lab studies.  In the old days folks that did overwinter insisted that the feed left in the hive be as close to water white as possible.  The lab studies and over winter techniques of northern bee keepers suggest that the cleaner and purer the feed the less problems you are likely to encounter in those location where the bees are locked in for long periods of time.
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2010, 08:46:51 AM »

I'm in a cold climate where the bees get locked in for long periods.  I overwinter the hives on what they can collect in august and September.  I only feed if they need more for whatever reason.

While occasionally a hive will have a little problem with dysentery, I've never lost a hive to it.  The worst I've had to deal with is an occasional messy hive.

If you are worried and have had problems with it, you can always feed each hive fumagillan or some other such anti-nosema medicine.  I think that would be more advantageous than trying to empty the hive of honey and replacing with sugar.  A little bit of the runs won't kill a hive, it is the nosema that will get them.

That being said, the bees will do fine on sugar too, either syrup or fondant, if they need more.

my $.02
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Rick
luvin honey
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 08:53:58 PM »

It seems to me that if bees made it thus far on their own honey, why not let them continue? It seems weird to me to take away their food for the sole purpose of "protecting" them from getting sick on it. Kind of like weaning calves and then bottle feeding them with some concentrate. But, that's just my opinion and I know very little about either.
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The pedigree of honey
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rdy-b
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2010, 10:52:43 PM »

snip...
We were taught in all our teachings, that the necctar that the bees gather, in turn adding all the wonderful things to make these nectars turning into that golden liquid, so known as honey, also providing it is cured properly to the low state of moisture that proper honey should be, is the best of the best for the bees to winter over on.

tecumseh:
humm... perhaps some folks have more to learn?

I have no problem in over wintering here with just about anything acceptable for feed.  Study after study in the lab should suggest to you that the cleaner and purer the feed input the less problems you are liable to encounter.  Straight sucrose always out performs everything including honey... high fructose corn syrup always performs worst in these lab studies.  In the old days folks that did overwinter insisted that the feed left in the hive be as close to water white as possible.  The lab studies and over winter techniques of northern bee keepers suggest that the cleaner and purer the feed the less problems you are likely to encounter in those location where the bees are locked in for long periods of time.
 please state the source-we are talking about dysentery- cheesy always open to learn-I am aware of whats best-
but we are talking about desntery-I know it can get complicated- cool clean and pure  Smiley It is actualy the complexity of the sugars-yes spring honey is diferant from fall honey-all sugars are not the same for bees to digest-for example one of the worst for wintering bees is honeydew-from insect secretion-very complex sugars-but desntery is also and most often a moister problem -which afects the hive in a negative maner-RDY-B
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 12:24:36 AM by rdy-b » Logged
tecumseh
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 08:37:56 AM »

rdy-b writes:
please state the source-we are talking about dysentery-

tecumseh:
you can go back thru this large stack of old bee magazines and dig the reference out for yourself if you wish??  or perhaps glean a bit from CC Miller's (50 Years Amongst the Bees... or something like that) early experience with maintaining bees over the winter in a cellar.

the complexity (type) of sugar should matter, but the impurities in the feed matter more. 

over and over again the story should have been made pretty clear by now... that if you have bees that are locked down for long periods of time then the clearer the feed the better. the darker the honey and the more impurities the greater the problems with dysentery being the most obvious (but not only) outcome. at this location these are all mute issues since 'the girls' are never locked down for very long... so I can feed just about anything (including something some folks BELIEVE you cannot feed to bees) with little down side.

at the end of the day if I did live somewhere where confinement was a part of the landscape I would likely do as Scads suggest. most of the 'stripping' of hives of their honey and feeding back of hfcs or sucrose is about the economic cost of the two products more than any other issue.

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I am 'the panther that passes in the night'... tecumseh.
bigbearomaha
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2010, 08:08:09 AM »

While it is accurate that eating food that is "lighter" such as sugar causes bees to have to digest and process less sold waste, sugar does not contain many of the nutrients that honey possesses which bees use to maintain overall health.

dysentery is an illness, not just the act of defecation.

what you think you gain in controlling the bees bowel movements,   I believe there is much lost in not allowing bees to eat the honey which is the food they make for themselves.

that might just be me though.

Big Bear
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jsmob
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« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2010, 01:41:18 PM »

I thought dysentery was from feeding honey from an affected hive to other hives. Also dose dysentery act like a cold would in people.
If you are in an enclosed area you will be more likely to get the cold?
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2010, 03:00:29 PM »

I see no obvious connection at all.  But by my observation I'd say sugar syrup is more likely to cause issues than honey.  What really causes issues is a winter where it never gets warm enough for a cleansing flight, which seldom happens here, but has happened some years.
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Michael Bush
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