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Using C3 Sugar for Hive Feeding May Create More Problems than it Solves

Friday, October 2, 2020, Author: Steve Howse

High C4 sugar results in monofloral mānuka honey continue to be a problem for many honey producers and processors. In part this can be blamed on the fact that C4 sugar test results in mānuka honey increase over time (the ‘mānuka effect’), due to changes in mānuka honey that affect the test.

Some people are considering the use of C3 sugar (like beet sugar) as a hive feed, rather than cane sugar, to help reduce C4 sugar test results. This might reduce C4 sugar results close to extraction, but it is not likely to prevent an increase in test results over time due to the ‘mānuka effect’.

However, beekeepers and processors should beware that widespread use of C3 sugar as hive feed carries a risk that New Zealand honey will have C3 sugar residues detected in it when tested overseas. If this were to happen, it could introduce a requirement for a whole new range of expensive tests for New Zealand honey that would affect beekeepers and processors.