Author Topic: Feeding Fruit  (Read 2024 times)

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Offline The15thMember

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Feeding Fruit
« on: September 18, 2023, 01:58:12 pm »
I was listening to a beekeeper give a talk online the other day, and he is one of those "never feed sugar syrup for any reason" people, and someone asked him, as I had hoped they would, what he would do if he had a starving colony.  His response was that he would (he didn't say "did") feed them fruit, like he'd cut open a watermelon and set it out for them.  Would something like that work for a starving colony in a dearth?  I'd never heard of anything like that before.   
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Feeding Fruit
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2023, 12:59:57 pm »
I have never heard this recommended as an alternative to feeding sugar.  I googled the question and got mixed results.  It doesn't sound practical during winter.  A summer dearth would be the time to offer fruit as a food source.  In nature, I am sure that honey bees, along with yellow jackets, find fruit that has fallen from trees.  We have referred to Rusty Berlew in the past.  Here is an article she wrote about a similar subject.  I think it's common based upon what she doesn't say.  https://www.honeybeesuite.com/do-honey-bees-eat-fruit/
I have heard stories of honey bees collecting and storing run off from candy factories.  The nectar (?) stored was dyed red.  They followed the bees back to the source.  So honey bees will settle for anything at times of dearth.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Feeding Fruit
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2023, 02:47:58 pm »
We have referred to Rusty Berlew in the past.  Here is an article she wrote about a similar subject.  I think it's common based upon what she doesn't say.  https://www.honeybeesuite.com/do-honey-bees-eat-fruit/
I found that article too, so I actually asked Rusty at the bottom of the page.  Here is what she said.
Quote

The sugars in nectar, mostly sucrose (which the bees break down into glucose and fructose) is exactly what’s in table sugar. It’s sucrose, which the bees break down into glucose and fructose. So the “never feed sugar” crowd is just looking for an audience as ill-informed as they are.

Most of the university bee gurus warn that fruit juice has lots of fiber. Most of the year, when bees can defecate whenever they feel like, the fiber doesn’t matter. But in winter (when people are more likely to feed bees) the fiber can cause honey bee dysentery, which is basically diarrhea in the hive. Not pleasant, and it spreads pathogens as bees try to clean it up. There is no real problem with fruit juice, other than the fiber.
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Offline Jen

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Re: Feeding Fruit
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2023, 11:27:44 pm »
Hi 15th and Baker, how ironic that this subject came up yesterday. Last week someone on our bee club facebook page asked if we could put out fruit for the bees, namely watermelon. After a few or more years of beekeeping I find it easier to experiment. So I brought home yellow and red watermelon, cut it up and set it out about 30 feet from the hives.

My bees slurped up and ate all this watermelon in about 3 days all the way to the rind, then stood up and applauded their new found treat  :D


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