I am rethinking feeding my bees sugar syrup and will do so only if I have no harvested honey on hand to give my bees. I won't use honey from other apiaries because I don't know the condition of their hives and feel confident giving them honey from my hives. Here is an excerpt from an entomologist regarding sugar syrup (I don't use corn syrup but use white granulated sugar when making sugar syrup).
One thing that Reed Johnson 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].
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Today was high 50's, breezy, and sunny.
Approximately 2:30pm my father and I inspected the hives.
Hive #1: Carnolians
Feeders still had sugar syrup on one side. I had also put a comb of honey from last years harvest on the other side, which was all gone. Looks like the bees prefer honey to sugar water. A few dead bees and lots of live bees. The top body was heavy with honey, capped and uncapped. Located the queen in the middle of the top body. Put a little more honey with comb in top feeder.
Hive #2: Cordovans (Blonde Bees)
Top feeder was dry...sugar granuales left but no sugar water at all. Comb honey consumed. There are twice the number of bees in this hive than Hive #1, which explains why the food is gone. Not too much honey in the hives. We found two large hive beetles, which we promptly smashed. Located the queen in the middle medium super. We switched the top large super with the medium super. So the queen is now in the top unless she decides to move down.
We poured all the sugar syrup into both sides of the feeder as emergency feeding and also added honey + comb from last years harvest.