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 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
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:
- Dandelion leaves/roots
- Nettle (check out this paper on nettle or you can read my post which goes over some of the highlights of that paper.)
- Raspberry leaves
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.