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feeding

 
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alan
Nurse Bee


Joined: 29 Sep 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Ryhill,W.Yorkshir. UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 6:05 pm    Post subject: feeding Reply with quote

I know feeding is frowned on by some natural beekeeper and feeding honey from other sources is a no no.
But what are the real risks of feeding honey to bees?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe there is far more risk from feeding honey, particularly foreign or of unknown provenance, than from feeding sugar syrup/fondant.

In my opinion it is far better to play it safe if your bees really need feeding and feed fondant or sugar syrup than quibble over how "natural" or otherwise it is. Honey can be contaminated with foul brood spores, antibiotics or pesticides. Almost all honey is blended which increases the risk of foul brood spores being present as it comes from many different hives. Sometimes unscrupulous companies can even blend cheap foreign honey with home produced honey and not declare it. I just would not trust any commercially produced honey in that respect.
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alan
Nurse Bee


Joined: 29 Sep 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Ryhill,W.Yorkshir. UK

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Forgive me for wanting to explore this further,but have we much evidential experience of this happening to beekeepers who gave honey?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1563
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am pretty certain that there have been cases of American foul brood which have been traced to nearby food factories where empty unwashed imported honey containers have been discarded and raided by bees and the disease brought back to the hives.

As regards personal experience, I can relate the following...

About 10 years ago I was part of a random honey sampling done by the bee inspectorate and traces of an antibiotic used in China was found in one of my honey samples. There were only 2 samples from the whole country that were found to contain it. There were enquiries made as to whether I might be an unscrupulous beekeeper who was perhaps feeding my bees cheap imported honey and then selling it after the bees had reprocessed it, as premium English honey.
I was pretty mortified as you can imagine but thankfully the seasonal bee inspector was a friend and able to vouch for me. I very rarely feed my bees and never with honey and I don't sell honey as my hives only produce enough to give it away to family and friends and for many years I actually considered honey more of a nuisance than a harvest.
The only other possibility was that my bees were sourcing imported Chinese honey, either by some misguided person buying cheap supermarket honey and putting it out in the garden, thinking they were doing their bit to "help the bees" or my bees were accessing a food factory. Unfortunately, as far as I am aware they didn't endeavour to trace the source. I imagine if I had been less fortunate and it had been foul brood, which would have adversely affected other beeks, then steps would have been taken to trace the origin.

That is as much background as I can provide. Perhaps if you contact Defra and speak to the bee inspector, he may be able to give you actual statistics on outbreaks of foul brood that have been traced back to honey.
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catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1486
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2016 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can vouch for the fact that factories leaving vats that contained foreign honey have caused AFB outbreaks. At least once this has happened in Cambridgeshire and the Chivers factory was heavily fined as a result of this. It happened a few years before I started keeping bees. A number of bee keepers in North Cambridge were affected.
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dowens
New Bee


Joined: 22 Mar 2016
Posts: 6
Location: Poland, Warsaw

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do you think that flowers’ nectar can be replaced with something else? I would order some food here: http://stanro.eu/en/ but I don’t know if it is a good idea.
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BridgetB
Scout Bee


Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 355
Location: UK Cornwall, Falmouth

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only safe replacement is sugar syrup made from pure white sugar. It should only be temporary whilst a colony is struggling and not able to forage sufficiently for themselves. It doesn't really matter where you buy it from. Flower nectar contains all sorts of minerals which cannot be replaced artificially for any length of time.
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