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Author Topic: Powdered Sugar Vs Sugar Water "Bath"  (Read 397 times)
Richie_BeeIII
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« on: March 28, 2014, 06:02:30 PM »

Hey Everybody!

I am starting my first colonies this year and have done a ton of reading, youtubing and even attended a course at Temple to prepare for this. I feel 1000% prepared to install my package bees and roll with this. I have ONE question though..... Everywhere you read or watch it says to spray the bees with sugar water before you install the package. In speaking with the beemaster that conducted the course he said I have a 100% chance of some hitchhiking Varroa mites being in my package. Sooooo would it be a bad thing (and why) to just dust the crap out of them with powdered sugar instead of hosing them down with sugar water? It seems to be a very effective method (again from reading and youtube) of mite removal but not something you want to overdue once the comb is drawn and brood has started. So what better time to do it than at the very beginning? I know this won't get 100% of the little beasties but i don't want to start this show with an infestation. They (the bees) won't leave because the queen is there (correct?) and they can still use the sugar (yes, no, maybe?). They may be a little more mobile which would increase the chance of a sting or two I guess but if it works it is well worth it.

Thoughts? (if this is a repeat post i apologize)

Thanks!!

Rich
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greenbtree
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 06:30:19 PM »

First, welcome to the obsession! I am not sure sugar dusting would be as effective as spraying with sugar/water solution in preventing the bees from flying (which is mostly why it's done, not as a food source for the bees) just the wetting action alone makes it harder for them to fly.  Also, note that confectioners sugar is not the same as powdered sugar (confectioners sugar contains corn starch and other ingredients that you do not want your bees eating, it can be very hard to find powdered sugar).  Lastly, do your hives have screened bottom boards?  Because if they don't, the mites will just crawl back up to bees when they are knocked off.

jc
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Ken
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 06:31:24 PM »

Powdered sugar is not something they will feed on. The syrup spray helps fill them up when they groom off and makes a few less flying.Your varroa should not be an issue your first year with a package. I'd save the sugar dusting for when they get well established.
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Richie_BeeIII
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 02:13:52 AM »

Thanks for your replies! I have this posted on a couple of other forums and it seems the "ask two beekeepers a question and you will get ten answers" is true!
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Ken
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 06:54:26 AM »

The powder sugar shake and the syrup spray are for two tools for different uses, you don't want a pipe wrench where a srewdriver will do. Smiley
Have fun on your new adventure, and remember the bees have not read any of the books or attended any classes ,so you may always see something you are unprepared for.Your learning curve begins when the package is handed to you,enjoy the ride!
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tefer2
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 08:09:14 AM »

Welcome to the group Rich. Glad you joined in.
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TenshiB
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2014, 10:31:54 PM »

Mix in a little Pro Health with your sugar water spray if you want to get at the varroa in a package of bees... Like everyone else has said:  powdered sugar is usually out of the question when installing a package because the idea is to keep the bees from being very mobile during introduction to their humble abode..  afro   my $.02
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