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The sugar water/corn syrup/fruitcose vs. honey debate for feeding your bees is a long-standing one.

A bee on the buckwheat. Photo by Doug Hardwick

A bee on the buckwheat. Buckwheat is a good late summer-early fall feeding plant for your bees. Photo by Doug Hardwick

 

Recently, I found a Scientific American podcast interview from 2009 in which May Berenbaum, University of Illinois entomologist and bee researcher, discussed that very question with Steve Mirsky of Scientific American.

Here are some of the main points Berenbaum made:

  • Honeybee grubs (baby bees) eat a mixture of pollen and honey we call “bee bread.”
  • Sugar doesn’t provide bees with some of the enzymes that help bees process plant chemicals.
  • Brenebaum: “. . . 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].”
  • When you substitute a natural food for an artificial one, there may unintended consequences.

Berenbaum has been awarded one of the 10 National Science Medals by President Barack Obama.

The beekeeper in this corner is a big advocate of honey over sugar water in this debate. It’s a lot easier to leave honey in the hive than to take it off and then have to feed them sugar water to get them through the next season. Sometimes that’s not possible, of course, and you do what you can to keep your bees alive. But beekeeper should think ahead and keep as much honey on the hive as possible.

They should also try to provide their bees with plants to feed on during as much of the year (Year-around (almost) blooms for the bees) as possible.

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Below is the transcript to this part of the interview, and you can hear the entire interview at this link.

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Blount County Beekeepers Association

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If you’re interested in joining the Blount County Beekeepers Association, call

Dale Hinkle
423-261- 5234

or

Kathy Flaherty
203-314- 0270

Welcome

Welcome to the web site of the Blount County Beekeepers Association in Maryville, Tennessee.

This site will tell you a little about the association and how to become a member. It will also tell you a little about beekeeping.

Bees are an important part of our environment and particularly our agricultural system. They are also fascinating creatures.

We hope you will be interested enough to join us at some point, even if you're not interested in keeping bees. There are lots of ways you can join in with what we do.

Follow us on Twitter at @blountbees.

Schedule of BCBA meetings for 2019

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maryville Church of Christ, 611 Sherwood Drive in Maryville.

All of the meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The following is the schedule of meetings and activities for 2018:

January 14 – regular meeting

February 11 – regular meeting

February 16 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

TBA– New Beekeepers class

March 11 – regular meeting

March 17 -Wooden Ware class

April 8 – regular meeting

April  27-Field Day for new beekeepers

May 13 – regular meeting

June 10 – regular meeting

July 8 – regular meeting

August 12 – regular meeting

October 14 – regular meeting

November 11 – regular meeting

December 9 – Christmas dinner

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