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Author Topic: Feeding syrup pH  (Read 1291 times)
wisnewbee
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« on: April 02, 2011, 10:10:19 AM »

I have been reading about the various ratios of syrup; 1:1, 2:1, and 5:3. I've also read about feeding dry sugar. All these have a higher pH than honey. I've seen reference to adding bleach to extend the shelf life. I've read about adding some type of acid, such as lemon juice, to lower the pH. None of the articles are consistent and never mention how much acid to add. Any recommendations? I'm not a real fan of adding the bleach. I'd rather mix fresh as I need it. I was leaning towards using the 5:3 ratio for feeding rather than different ratios at different times of the year, as suggested on Michael Bushs' site. Thanks for your input.

Bill
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T Beek
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2011, 10:26:33 AM »

Your desire to mix up fresh as needed is what I'd recommend (for you and your bees).  I don't mind cleaning up with some bleach, but I don't want to introduce any inside hive.  I've heard of adding lemon juice (better than bleach I think)but have never tried it (I don't let my syrup get nasty).

 Feeding syrup in Wisconsin (any Northern State) requires a certain amount of observation whenever temps are still getting below freezing, but as long as you don't mind regular checking you can feed WARMED (daily) syrup with success right now (my opinion).  For me I'm sticking with patties and dry sugar inside and may put out some dry pollen sub today or at least w/in next few days as flyers (temps and p-willows) increase.

thomas
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Finski
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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2011, 10:27:44 AM »

.
Normal syrup is best. No additives.
Bees have their enzymes which work with cane sugar.

Hobbiest have many tricks and they have used acid syrup  at least 50 years what I remember.
No nutrition research recommends manipulation of sugar syrup.
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wisnewbee
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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2011, 11:25:44 AM »

I was wondering about the pH because the honey has a much lower pH than sugar. I was lead to believe that lowering the pH resulted in better bee health.

Bill
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greenbtree
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2011, 12:36:06 PM »

Bill, welcome to the wonderful world of beekeeping. grin  The joke of "Ask 10 beekeepers a question and you will get 15 answers." is absolutely true.  And sometimes frustrating to those of us that don't like to fly by the seat of their pants (like me).  Part of the problem is that bees are living things (lots of variation genetically) with complex social and survival strategies (more variation).  So more than one thing will work in most situations.  Also, since the weather makes a big difference and so many of us are from widely different climates (Finland to Florida) it just gets worse.  You just have to wade through the information best you can and figure out what works best for you.  I have found personally that if I stick with the most basic (don't add, don't change, etc.) info, and listen to advice closest to me geographically for most things, that I at least don't mess things up as badly as I could.  Good luck with your beekeeping! grin

JC
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Finski
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2011, 03:42:39 PM »

and listen to advice closest to me geographically for most things,


Jep. I have read nutrition researches of USA. You have best researches. We have nothing on this area.
Australian are good too.

http://www.honeybee.com.au/Library/pollen/nutrition.html

What is sugar pH doing with geography?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 04:05:07 PM by Finski » Logged

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T Beek
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2011, 03:43:38 PM »

Ditto greenbtree Smiley

Sugar remains the closest thing to honey and keeps many a hive from starvation.

thomas
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Hemlock
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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2011, 08:28:36 PM »

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a great 'Acid' used to preserve sugar syrup.  1 or 2 tablespoons per gallon of syrup will keep the syrup good for weeks.  It's pH is very low so it does lower the pH of the syrup too.  Don't ask me how much it lowers it.  I've never done the math.  I do know many who use it regularly to to aid in controlling Nosema.  I recommend "Bragg's" ACV since it retains all the good stuff from the apples. 
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2011, 10:22:52 PM »

The vinegar seems to set off a feeding frenzy.  I use 5 grams (5 1000 mg tablets) of Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) in five gallons of syrup (dissolve in the water before adding the sugar) and the pH ends up in the range of honey.
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Michael Bush
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wisnewbee
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2011, 10:37:16 PM »

Thank you all for your recommendations. I'm not worried about extending the shelf life of the syrup. I read somewhere ( I visit a lot of different sites ) that lowering the pH of the syrup resulted in improved hive health, like Hemlock was saying. The premise was that having syrup ( normal pH of about 6.0 ) closer to the pH of honey ( 4.3 ) helped the hive. Improved health and production. I believe it was an organic honey sight that inferred this.

Finski; you are braver then me to endure those long winter nights. I live pretty far north, but not that far. I believe what greenbtree was meaning, or at least the way I understood it,  was feeding is very influenced by our location. Luvin honey,  T Beek, and I live in the same state. However the weather that we each see is very different. T Beek may be feeding dry sugar because of his local temperature. Luvin honey is much farther south and also usually warmer. I've learned here, advise is location specific for a time of year. Same as a Florida beek giving wintering advise to a guy in Canada. They winter differently, based on location.

I love this forum. I've learned so much, from so many, in such a short amount of time. Thank you all very much. I'm putting the final touches on my woodenware. I'm having a blast putting it together. Bees will be here in early May.

Bill
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organicfarmer
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2011, 12:48:13 AM »

Ditto greenbtree Smiley

Sugar remains the closest thing to honey and keeps many a hive from starvation.

thomas

And if you replace 'sugar' with 'honey' above?
No only sugar does not have the pH of honey but it lacks many other characteristics: mineral contents, beneficial yeasts,...
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2011, 01:46:37 AM »

.
I have feeded hives 48 years with normal syrup. So do most others. It need not playing with "natural ways".
Very few even understand what pH means. Many have spoiled their hives with those tricks.
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