Honey Bee Fall Feeding

honey bee fall feeding

A beehive’s winter nectar requirements depend on climate and location; however, an overwhelmed colony could quickly exhaust their stocks during an unexpected nectar dearth.

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Honey bee fall feeding consists of sugar solution (2 parts sugar to 1 part water). Some beekeepers also opt to make pollen patties during this season.


1. Sugar Syrup

Sugar syrup is an easy and fast way to feed your bees, providing an alternative source of food when nectar flow declines or providing them with sustenance as they begin building winter stores.

Beekeepers commonly utilize various concentrations of sugar water, but most opt for a ratio of one part sugar to two parts water (2:1). This creates a heavy syrup which adds weight to the hive while stimulating laying and helping prevent freezing during harsh winter conditions.

Some beekeepers add spearmint or lemongrass essential oil when making sugar syrup for bees, in an effort to combat Varroa and Tracheal mites. (2) However, boiling sugar syrup could lead to caramelisation of these essential oils which would then render them indigestible by bees. (2)

2. Water

Your colonies might have taken in too much honey this summer or have experienced difficulties foraging for sustenance due to weather conditions; either way, supplement feeding is likely necessary to restore balance within their populations.

Sugar water should only ever be used as an absolute last resort and with extreme caution. Bees don’t find nectar to have the same nutritional value; in fall it’s recommended using a 2:1 syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water). When feeding inside the hive.

Honey bees require water for survival and it is vital that they have access to it easily. If they cannot gather sufficient supplies naturally, you may need to provide them with access via birdbaths or similar sources close to their hives. Honey bees have various adaptations designed specifically to help them gather it such as their proboscis, sense of smell, hydrofoil action of wings and even waggle dances – these adaptations enable them to obtain water more effectively than their competitors.

3. Honey

Honey bees depend on nectar and pollen from many different plants for carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, minerals, vitamins, as well as fresh water to drink.

Supplemental feeding of bees during spring can help their colonies get on their feet quickly and start foraging for food, however rapid colony growth can outstrip forage availability and consume any available inhive honey reserves.

Late summer and fall can be times of nectar and pollen shortages in many localities, necessitating supplemented feeding to ensure colonies have adequate food reserves before winter arrives.

Beekeepers usually feed their colonies a heavy sugar solution (2 parts sugar to one part water) that resembles honey in consistency. This syrup helps minimize brood rearing while encouraging winter stores. You can feed this sugar syrup through either a top feeder or simply placing some in above the frames – some beekeepers even add Honey B Healthy as an additional feed source to reduce moldy conditions and encourage beneficial bacteria development in their colonies.

4. Pollen

Plants rely on “vectors” – such as bees, insects and animals as well as wind – for pollination of flowers of their same species. Such vectors include bees, insects and animals as well as wind.

Bees collect pollen from flowers as their protein source. As winter nears, their colonies require higher-energy food to sustain themselves through its cold climate; fall feeding with sugar syrup may provide ample stores to get through it all.

One simple solution is to feed a 2:1 sugar/water syrup (by weight). This can be fed in syrup feeders or directly onto the cluster, after being heated to boil for one minute in order to break down molecules that make digestion more manageable by bees. Patties or granule forms of the syrup can also be placed above clusters directly or placed directly above them using frame feeders.