Feeding Recipes


While I would prefer not to feed, there are times when feeding is necessary. Depending on the reason for feeding, a different type of sugar syrup may be needed. Here are some recipes for different syrups as well as some notes that apply to all of the recipes:
  • Only use granulated sugar cane sugar. Do not sure any other kind of sugar as it causes digestive problems for the bees.
  • 2 cups of water equals 1 lb. (Just remember the rhyme "A pint's a pound the world around.") It just so happens that 2 cups of sugar also weighs a pound.
  • Simply dissolve the sugar in the water. Do not boil it. For 1:1 and 1:2 syrup, hot tap water should be sufficient to dissolve the sugar. For 2:1 sugar, I find that it works better if I heat the water to near boiling, remove it from the heat, and then stir the sugar in.
1:1 Syrup for Spring Feeding and Encouraging Drawing Comb
  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part water or Bee Tea

1:2 Syrup for Stimulating Brood Rearing
  • 1 part sugar
  • 2 parts water or or Bee Tea

2:1 Syrup for Fall Feeding (if the bees don't have enough stores)
  • 2 parts sugar
  • 1 part water  or or Bee Tea

Bee Tea

Nectar is loaded with micronutrients that aren't found in plain sugar. So I like to use bee tea instead of water when making sugar syrup. To make bee tea, heat a pot of water almost to a boil. Turn off the heat and steep fresh or dried herbs in the water for about 10-20 minutes. Then I strain the herbs out and add sugar to make syrup.

Here are some suggestions for herbs:
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Chamomile
  • Dandelion leaves/roots
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Mints
  • Nettle (check out this paper on nettle or you can read my post which goes over some of the highlights of that paper.)
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Raspberry leaves
  • Rosemary
  • Rosehips/Roses
  • Thyme
Basically, if I know bees like it for forage, I'll throw it in the mix. Sometimes, I just use Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Teabags. It's that simple.


Here is a simple recipe for fondant that requires only sugar, water, and vinegar.


  1. Hi Julie, I realise this is my third comment on your blog today so I think it best be my last so you don't think I am stalking you.
    Thought you might be interesting in this research paper:,BIOPHYSICS,MATHEMATICS/Marghitas.pdf
    They compared the effect of different syrup feeds for aiding in the recovery of artificially weakened colonies. They compared syrup made with Thyme, Garlic, Echinacea, Orion, Nettle and Protofil (a commercially available feed). The nettle syrup results 30% more brood rearing over and above the rest.

    Basically let your kettle go off the boil then add 1 litre of water to 100 grams of nettle (2 pints to 4oz :) ). Let it steep the same as you would with tea. Strain it off and add your sugar to make the syrup, shake/invert to dissolve do NOT boil. Always include a teaspoon of lemon juice or cider vinegar to acidify and make it better for the bee bellies.

    1. LOL! If only I had a stalker -- then I'd know I'd made the big-time for sure! ha, ha! :-)

      At first I misread the URL for the link you sent, and I thought the end of it said, "Margaritas." I was so excited there for a second. Then I read your description of the paper, and I really did get enthused. Awesome! I will definitely download and peruse it this evening. Another beek that I follow mentioned that he uses nettles when making up his syrup, but didn't explain why other than to say that he was infusing his syrup with more nutrients. Can't wait to read up on this. Thank you so much for sharing this info!!!


Thank you for your comment! I can't wait to hear what you think!