ABJ: The Classroom September 2014

The American Bee Journal   By Jerry Hayes   September 2014

The Classroom September 2014

by Jerry Hayes    (excerpt)

Q Bee Chemistry 
I have a bee chemistry question for you. Each year, we feed our bees large quantities of sugar syrup. Sugar is sucrose--a disaccharide. Honey contains glucose--a monosaccharide. My question is this: Can honey bees digest the sugar syrup directly or do they have to break it down using some enzyme in their body? If that is the case, would it be healthier to feed the bees surplus or old honey when their supply is low. Enjoy your articles! I’ve been keeping bees since 1949.  Hugh Gravitt, Virgilina, VA

Yes Hugh, the bees invert the disaccharide sucrose (2 sugars bonded together, fructose and glucose) sugar to a simpler form--a monosaccharide (1 sugar by itself) of just fructose or glucose by adding enzymes. It does take energy for the honey bee to produce the enzymes. That is why feeding (disease free) natural honey or fructose itself is better because they do not require the conversion from a di(2)saccharide sugar to a mono(1)saccharide sugar.

Q Critters in the Barn 
I am keeping all my beekeeping “stuff” at home in my garage. I have been driving out to a new location (45 min) to the bees. I want to move all my beekeeping equipment to an old barn out in the woods that is...

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