Different types of bee feed

Beekeepers today have a wide range of different feeds for bees. In addition to the classical sugar solution prepared by the beekeeper himself and the ready-to-use sucrose-based feed – which has long been tried and tested – products from the saccharification of starch have also been on the market for several years.

Different types of bee feed

Beekeepers today have a wide range of different feeds for bees. In addition to the classical sugar solution prepared by the beekeeper himself and the ready-to-use sucrose-based feed – which has long been tried and tested – products from the saccharification of starch have also been on the market for several years.

Honey

The bees’ natural food is honey, which they make from the collected raw materials, nectar and honeydew. Depending on the origin of these raw materials, this honey will contain mainly fructose, glucose and sucrose (beet or cane sugar), and in small quantities also maltose and other types of sugar. Fructose, glucose and sucrose are therefore the most important nutrients for bees.
Some honeys, such as rapeseed honey and honeys containing melezitose, are less suitable for overwintering because of their tendency to crystallise. The high ash and dye content, which is typical of most forest honeys, but also of some flower honeys, puts too much strain on the bees’ intestinal system and can lead to symptoms of dysentery during long winters.

Sugar solution (sucrose solution)

The classic substitute for honey is the sugar solution. Here, sugar is usually mixed with water in a ratio of 3:2, or less frequently 1:1. This sugar is chemically identical to the sucrose contained in nectar and honeydew, the raw materials of honey. The bee therefore also possesses the necessary metabolic enzymes, such as Invertase, to be able to use sucrose as a nutrient. The production of the sugar solution is usually associated with a high labour spending. The microbiological instability of such a food must also be taken into account, which results in a limited shelf life and thus a limited period of use for the prepared sugar solution. It may therefore be necessary to repeat the operation.

FEEDS

Prepared sucrose-based foodstuffs

Südzucker AG Mannheim/Ochsenfurt has been producing sucrose-based bee feed for decades. These are ready-to-use food products that cover all the nutritional needs of bees. They offer beekeepers the greatest relief, as these ready-to-use feeds can be given directly without further processing.

APIINVERT®

APIINVERT® is a liquid product made from saccharose and its components, fructose and glucose, that make up more than 90% of the dry matter of flower honeys. APIINVERT® does not contain any sugar that is harmful to the bees’ intestines. The high proportion of fructose reduces the tendency to crystallization into the cells, even at low temperatures. Bee starvation on a complete comb can therefore be practically excluded. Due to its composition, APIINVERT® is an ideal food for bees, especially for winter feeding.

APIFONDA®

APIFONDA® is a pasty complete feed composed mainly of sucrose. It contains microfine crystals, each surrounded by a thin film of syrup. This allows the bees to collect them easily and ingest them directly. APIFONDA® sugar paste is perfect for feeding bees after winter, as a springtime stimulant. It can also be used for early winter feeding (especially in warm climate regions). You can also use it between honey flows, if you need to give your bees a boost.

Ready-to-use starch-based feeds

Starch-based products have also been on the market since the mid-1990s. They are composed of different proportions of glucose, maltose as well as higher molecular weight maltooligosaccharides and isomaltooligosaccharides. Of these substances, only glucose is present in higher proportions in honeys and maltose can account for up to 8 %. The remaining oligosaccharides are present only in very small percentage into honeys. Starch-based foods are therefore less similar to the natural nutrients of bees. Some of these products also contain high levels of ash and dye due to their production process. Overall, starch-based foods are therefore less well tolerated by bees.
Read all about the API ready-made feed