Sugar boards provide an easy and efficient way to feed bees during winter, although if enough honey has already been distributed they may not need the additional food source.
Combine sugar and vinegar in a large bowl and slowly stir in 1.5 cups of the water/vinegar solution while slowly adding 1.5 cups to it while stirring continuously.
1. The Frame
Candy boards are frames constructed from hardware cloth, sugar, and an entrance hole specifically for honey bees. You can purchase or make them yourself at home before installing in your hive.
Some beekeepers believe that, by providing your colony with sufficient stores of honey and pollen for Winter, they shouldn’t need extra help getting through. However, some colonies may require extra support during this crucial season.
If you decide to construct a candy board, be sure to do it early in the winter and place it atop your beehive. It should rest directly above the upper most box with an entrance hole at its front for bees to quickly access candy without needing to leave their cluster to liquify and return afterwards – providing food, ventilation and an upper exit/entrance that helps ensure their health throughout winter.
2. The Feed
Apiary feeders serve as emergency backup food sources and should always be located above the inner cover of a beehive, typically sitting directly above its inner cover. In an emergency or for low protein diets such as winter patties.
Making sugar boards without cooking requires using the no-cook method, which avoids boiling sugar and prevents mold growth during storage.
Combine sugar and water until they form a medium consistency (not too wet, not too dry). Mix in vinegar, Honey B Healthy or another essential oil mixture as desired before combining thoroughly.
Spread the mixture evenly throughout the frame and ensure there is an opening in front of the ventilation hole so bees can access it midwinter. Block off some areas using wood blocks, jars or other items if necessary to prevent access. Once the sugar has hardened you can install your frame; check regularly in January and February to monitor moisture levels.
3. The Entrance
When temperatures dip into subfreezing territory, bees need a backup food source in case their own supplies run low. A candy board can help beekeepers avoid winter hive failure by giving bees access to hard blocks of sugar to snack on.
As part of creating a candy board, the initial step should involve crafting a frame-sized box from wood and hardware cloth or plastic queen excluder. It should fit inside a Langstroth frame.
Place the queen excluder or hardware cloth at the base of your box, then cut a 2×2 piece of parchment paper to fit inside its entrance hole.
Place the bag of sugar and slowly mix in the water/vinegar solution into a large storage bucket, using your hands to mix. Be sure there are no pockets of dry sugar; if necessary, spray some warm water onto it to moisten.
4. The Pollen Patties
However, this recipe for candy boards is relatively straightforward. First you must build a wooden frame to sit atop your hive box.
Add a spacer shim of hardware cloth or plastic queen excluder to prevent bees from leaving during winter.
Make your own mixture of sugar syrup, pollen substitute and feeding stimulant as desired. This recipe also includes some vinegar to combat mold and mildew growth over the winter.
Add water/vinegar slowly, cup by cup, stirring after each addition until there are no more clumps and the sugar has reached a fine texture. Pour this mixture into your candy board frame and pack down, if necessary adding an additional pollen patty for extra protein for the bees. Finally place this candy board atop of your hive.