The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Do bees like sugar maple sap?

Do bees like sugar maple sap?

Anna and I sometimes play this game where she'll ask me "Do you know where those maple syrup spouts are that we last used 6 years ago?"

It takes me a few seconds to process the question, and this time my answer was the barn, but the guessing part comes when she wants to know how long will it take to find.

Today my guess was under 10 minutes, which turned out to be closer to 5. A small miracle if you knew just how unorganized our barn is.

What are we using the spouts for? An experiment to see if bees will eat the sap.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Cool idea with the bees! I wanted to try tapping my maples a few years ago, but couldn't get past the prices for spouts on eBay when I was looking. So I just pruned a healthy low 1" dia maple branch, drilled a hole through its center, whittled it into a cone, 3" long, 3/4" at the base, and then drilled the tree. Hammered that sucker in, and it worked beautifully. I hung a plastic bucket with some baling wire, and covered the whole thing with aluminum foil. I got 5 gallons of sap from one tree! I was surprised that I got such a yield being in Kentucky. I plan on starting up the operation again soon!

Do you plan on boiling it down or using just the sap? Good luck to you guys!

Comment by Scott Wed Feb 12 21:39:49 2014

Pssst! They're called "spiles" and in southwestern Virginia, they'd be "Spahhls"

Tapped maple trees each spring in Minnesota, good memories. Dad and neighbors still do it. The climate where you live is too warm for any kind of reliable syrup production, but yes your bees will be happy.

Comment by Eric Thu Feb 13 00:24:35 2014

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